A new poll finds strong support for many of the Democratic agenda items that the General Assembly will likely consider this winter.
The poll from Roanoke College found that more three-quarters of Virginians favor instituting universal background checks for gun purchases and red flag laws that allow guns to be removed from someone who is deemed to be a danger.
More than two-thirds said the state should pass the Equal Rights Amendment, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and implement regulations that may slow the effects of climate change.
All are issues likely to be taken up by the new Democratic majority in the state legislature. "If you’re a Democratic member, I think what you’d be thinking is on a lot of these issues, that Virginians are in fact with them," says Harry Wilson. Wilson directs the Roanoke College Poll. "So I think we can say the election was not much of a fluke in that regard. That in this case policy may in fact be following the election."
Wilson did say there are regional disparities between the rural western parts of the state and more populous northern and eastern Virginia. And one idea did not prove popular—repealing Virginia’s Right to Work law.
Only about a third of the Virginia residents polled favored that labor proposal, even though two-thirds said the minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour.
"So that was the only issue that we asked where people said no, we don’t think that’s a good idea," Wilson notes. "So apparently people see those as different issues."
Governor Ralph Northam has signaled his opposition to repealing the Right to Work law. The law generally makes it more difficult for unions to operate in Virginia workplaces.