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Wason Center Releases Virginians’ Early Views on the Biden Presidency

Most voters say 2021 will be a better year than 2020.

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While 68% of Virginia voters say President Joe Biden’s election was legitimate, 26% say it was not, according to a survey released today by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership. Fully 61% of Virginia Republican voters surveyed say Biden did not win legitimately.

“This is the new lost cause in Virginia politics,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, academic director of the Wason Center. “A solid majority of Republican voters’ refusal to accept the legitimacy of Biden’s election is bound to stir up the contest for the Republican nomination for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.”

Comparing Donald Trump to past presidents, a majority of Virginia voters say Trump is definitely worse than most (54%); 10% say he is not as good as most; 18% say he is better than most; and 15% say he is one of the very best. The partisan gap is stark, with 93% of Democrats saying Trump is definitely worse than most presidents and 78% of Republicans saying he is better than most (41%) or one of the very best (37%).

A majority of Virginia voters surveyed say Biden will be a successful president (56%), but partisan differences are clear in the responses, as 69% of Republicans say he will be unsuccessful compared to 2% of Democrats and 33% of independents. 91% of African-American voters say Biden will be successful.

On a series of policy issues, the survey asked if voters believe Biden will go too far, strike the right balance or not go far enough. A solid plurality or better said Biden will strike the right balance on these issues:

  • COVID-19 pandemic (64%)
  • Racial inequality (53%)
  • Economic recession (46%)
  • Climate change (46%)
  • Health care (45%)
  • Immigration (44%)

“The pandemic and racial inequality were top of mind for voters during the election, and Biden has signaled that both are top priorities,” said Wason Center Research Director Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo. “So it’s not surprising that the highest number of voters expect him to handle those issues well.”

More than twice as many voters blame the federal government (46%) than the state government (20%) for the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations. That appears to look back at the Trump administration, as Biden receives his highest marks on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (67% approve to 25% disapprove).

Overall, two out of three Virginia voters (67%) say 2021 will be better than 2020.

The results of this survey are based on interviews of 1,005 Virginia registered voters, conducted Jan. 31-Feb. 14, 2021. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/-3.4%. The full report is available at cnu.edu/wasoncenter.


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