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Poll: Majority of Virginians Want Ethics Overhaul, Medicaid Expanded

Feb. 3, 2014

A new poll shows Virginians want stricter ethics laws for officeholders, and a two-term governor.

The poll from Christopher Newport University shows a majority of Virginians (65 percent) want strict gift limits, with an independent commission to monitor financial disclosures.

“With the McDonnell gift scandal as a backdrop, voters of every description and in every region of the state strongly support tougher ethical rules for people in public office,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director of the Wason Center. “That’s across the board -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents, men, women, African-Americans, whites. And they want an independent commission to monitor compliance.”

Sixty percent of those polled say they would allow sitting Virginia governors to run for reelection. Right now, governors are limited to just one term in the Commonwealth, the only such limit in the country.

Fifty-six percent of voters also support expanding Medicaid coverage, though 54 percent would not support the expansion if the federal government doesn’t pay its share.

Some other highlights from the poll include:

- Virginians are optimistic about their new governor, Terry McAuliffe (53 percent) and more believe the state is on the right track (50 percent) than think the country is on the right track (30 percent).
- Virginia voters strongly support early childhood education programs; 70% say they lead to better academic outcomes in K-12 and higher education.
- Regardless of party, 9 out of 10 Virginians do not want to be required to declare a political party affiliation when they register to vote. No affiliation is required today.

The poll is based on interviews with 1,023 registered voters, conducted Jan. 15-22. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%.

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