March 21, 2012 - Approval Of Virginia Governor, Legislature Drops, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Opposed To Abortion And Gun Measures

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Virginia voters disapprove of two hotly debated measures, to make it harder to get an abortion and easier to buy a handgun, as job approval ratings for Gov. Bob McDonnell and the State Legislature both drop, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters approve 53 - 32 percent of the job Gov. McDonnell is doing, down from a 58 - 24 percent score February 9 and McDonnell's lowest rating since the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University began Virginia surveys June 29, 2011.

The State Legislature's negative 38 - 47 percent score is a 19-point shift from a 47 - 37 percent positive approval rating February 9 and the first time the legislature has received a negative grade.

Women approve of McDonnell 49 - 34 percent, down from 54 - 25 percent last month. Men approve 58 - 31 percent, compared to 62 - 23 percent last month.

Virginia voters disagree 52 - 41 percent with a new law that requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound examination at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Voters say 72 - 21 percent that government should not make laws which try to convince women seeking an abortion to change their minds.

Voters also prefer 53 - 40 percent Virginia's old law which limited an individual's handgun purchases to one per month, over the new law which has no limits.

"The governor's numbers are down, from a net positive 34 percentage points last month to a net 21 points today, but he's still above the 50-percent mark," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The controversy over the ultrasound and handgun bills would be a logical explanation for the decline in his approval rating, which had been above 60 percent for much of last year."

"Virginia had been the only state surveyed by Quinnipiac University in which the State Legislature had received a net positive job approval," Brown added. "The fact that the legislature's approval dropped so much, while approval ratings for other statewide elected officials are basically unchanged indicates that voter dissatisfaction is targeted."

McDonnell gets a 77 - 13 percent approval among Republicans compared to 83 - 7 percent last month. His 53 - 33 percent approval rating among independent voters compares to 59 - 19 percent then. Democrats disapprove 49 - 35 percent, little changed from 47 - 34 percent last month.

McDonnell gets 57 - 29 percent approval from white voters, down from 63 - 20 percent last month. Black voters split 40 - 42 percent, compared to a 44 - 36 approval in February, still a strong showing for a Republican among African-Americans.

The state's other statewide elected officials all retain their net positive ratings:
  • U.S. Sen. Mark Warner 62 - 23 percent;
  • U.S. Sen. Jim Webb 49 - 28 percent;
  • Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling 36 - 21 percent;
  • Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli 45 - 32 percent.
Women disapprove of the new ultrasound/abortion law 49 - 44 percent, while men disapprove 56 - 38 percent. Republicans approve 61 - 31 percent, while disapproval is 67 - 27 percent among Democrats and 56 - 39 percent among independent voters.

"More men disapprove of the ultrasound law than women," said Brown.

Viewing their fetus because of the ultrasound law will make many women change their mind about an abortion, 12 percent of voters say, while 45 percent expect some women will change their mind. Another 31 percent say hardly any women will change their mind and 5 percent say no women will change their mind.

Women want the one-per-month limit of Virginia's old gun law 58 - 33 percent while men are split 47 - 48 percent.

From March 13 - 18, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,034 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob McDonnell is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              53%    77%    35%    53%    58%    49%    57%    40%
Disapprove           32     13     49     33     31     34     29     42
DK/NA                14     11     17     14     11     17     14     18
 
                                   East   West   ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shnd   <30K   30-50  50-100 >100K
 
Approve              51%    54%    54%    56%    44%    59%    57%    59%
Disapprove           34     34     31     29     33     29     31     33
DK/NA                15     13     15     14     23     12     13      8
 
                     Miltry COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    HAVE KIDS<18
                     HsHold Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    Yes    No
 
Approve              62%    54%    54%    50%    53%    57%    57%    52%
Disapprove           30     37     28     34     33     30     31     32
DK/NA                 8      9     18     15     15     14     12     16
 
                                                 STAND ON ABORTION Q22
                                   WhtBrnAgnEv   IN ALL or MOST CASES
                     Prot   Cath   Yes    No     Legal  Illegal
 
Approve              61%    68%    69%    59%    44%    70%
Disapprove           27     19     17     31     43     15
DK/NA                12     12     14     10     13     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bob McDonnell is handling his job as Governor?
                     Mar 21  Feb 09  Dec 22  Oct 12  Sep 14  Jun 29
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2011    2011
 
Approve              53      58      57      62      61      55
Disapprove           32      24      21      22      21      26
DK/NA                14      18      22      16      18      19
 
 
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              38%    52%    29%    36%    40%    36%    36%    38%
Disapprove           47     28     60     50     48     46     49     41
DK/NA                15     19     11     14     12     18     15     21
 
                                   East   West   ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shnd   <30K   30-50  50-100 >100K
 
Approve              44%    43%    33%    33%    30%    39%    42%    41%
Disapprove           47     43     48     49     47     46     46     50
DK/NA                 9     14     18     18     22     14     12      9
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Mar 21  Feb 09  Dec 22  Oct 12  Sep 14  Jun 29
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2011    2011
 
Approve              38      47      46      47      48      48
Disapprove           47      37      36      35      34      33
DK/NA                15      17      18      18      18      19
 
 
15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mark Warner is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              62%    48%    75%    63%    62%    62%    59%    68%
Disapprove           23     31     10     27     26     19     25     11
DK/NA                16     21     15     10     12     19     15     20
 
                                   East   West   ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shnd   <30K   30-50  50-100 >100K
 
Approve              62%    67%    57%    66%    62%    59%    66%    64%
Disapprove           25     19     24     20     22     27     18     23
DK/NA                13     13     19     15     15     14     16     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mark Warner is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Mar 21  Feb 09  Dec 22  Oct 12  Sep 14  Jun 30
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2011    2011
 
Approve              62      64      62      61      64      57
Disapprove           23      22      23      24      22      29
DK/NA                16      14      16      15      13      14
 
 
16. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jim Webb is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              49%    31%    66%    50%    53%    45%    46%    56%
Disapprove           28     43     14     29     31     25     30     19
DK/NA                23     26     19     20     16     30     23     25
 
                                   East   West   ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shnd   <30K   30-50  50-100 >100K
 
Approve              51%    55%    47%    43%    44%    48%    54%    54%
Disapprove           27     25     29     31     31     31     23     29
DK/NA                22     20     24     26     26     21     23     17
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jim Webb is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Mar 21  Feb 09  Dec 22  Oct 12  Sep 14  Jun 30
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2011    2011
 
Approve              49      52      48      51      51      50
Disapprove           28      26      29      27      30      31
DK/NA                23      22      23      22      19      18
 
 
18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Bolling is handling his job as Lieutenant Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              36%    46%    36%    30%    39%    32%    34%    38%
Disapprove           21     13     28     22     25     18     21     19
DK/NA                43     41     36     48     36     50     45     43
 
                                   East   West   ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shnd   <30K   30-50  50-100 >100K
 
Approve              31%    35%    40%    33%    29%    41%    36%    36%
Disapprove           21     19     22     23     23     18     20     25
DK/NA                48     47     38     44     48     41     44     39
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Bolling is handling his job as Lieutenant Governor?
                     Mar 21  Feb 09  Dec 22  Oct 12  Sep 14  Jun 29
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2011    2011
 
Approve              36      38      35      35      39      39
Disapprove           21      19      18      17      15      20
DK/NA                43      43      46      48      45      42
 
 
19. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ken Cuccinelli is handling his job as Virginia Attorney General?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              45%    66%    30%    43%    50%    40%    45%    40%
Disapprove           32     14     49     33     35     29     31     31
DK/NA                23     20     21     24     15     31     24     29
 
                                   East   West   ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...
                     North  SthEst Rchmnd Shnd   <30K   30-50  50-100 >100K
 
Approve              41%    49%    44%    48%    42%    49%    44%    44%
Disapprove           38     25     35     25     25     30     35     39
DK/NA                21     26     22     26     33     21     21     17
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Ken Cuccinelli is handling his job as Virginia Attorney General?
                     Mar 21  Feb 09  Dec 22  Oct 12  Sep 14  Jun 29
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2011    2011
 
Approve              45      46      47      46      47      49
Disapprove           32      31      27      30      29      31
DK/NA                23      23      26      24      24      20
 
 
22. Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Legal all cases      21%     9%    36%    20%    18%    24%    19%    28%
Legal most cases     36     28     36     42     40     33     37     34
Illegal most cases   23     36     16     20     23     23     23     19
Illegal all cases    12     19      6     10     11     14     13     12
DK/NA                 7      8      5      8      8      6      8      7
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    
 
Legal all cases      25%    18%    14%    26%    20%    
Legal most cases     40     34     48     34     32     
Illegal most cases   23     24     24     24     24     
Illegal all cases     8     15     11     10     16     
DK/NA                 5      9      3      6      9     
 
                                   WhtBrnAgnEv
                     Prot   Cath   Yes    No
 
Legal all cases      17%     8%     9%    21%
Legal most cases     32     42     22     44
Illegal most cases   27     28     32     21
Illegal all cases    16     17     28      8
DK/NA                 8      5      8      5
 
TREND: Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?
                     Mar 21  Dec 22  Sep 14
                     2012    2011    2011
 
Legal all cases      21      24      19
Legal most cases     36      30      31 
Illegal most cases   23      25      25 
Illegal all cases    12      14      16 
DK/NA                 7       8       8
 
 
23. There is a new law in Virginia that legally requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before the procedure. Do you approve or disapprove of this new law?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              41%    61%    27%    39%    38%    44%    42%    35%
Disapprove           52     31     67     56     56     49     51     57
DK/NA                 7      9      6      5      7      7      7      8
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    
 
Approve              33%    46%    56%    33%    38%    
Disapprove           61     47     40     59     55     
DK/NA                 6      7      4      7      7     
 
                                                 STAND ON ABORTION Q22
                                   WhtBrnAgnEv   IN ALL or MOST CASES
                     Prot   Cath   Yes    No     Legal  Illegal
 
Approve              48%    50%    62%    38%    25%    69%
Disapprove           46     44     31     56     71     25
DK/NA                 6      7      6      6      4      6
 
 
24. Supporters of the new law requiring an ultrasound said it was needed so women can view their fetus in hopes they will change their minds about having an abortion. Do you think having to view an ultrasound will make many women change their minds, some women change their minds or hardly any women change their minds?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Many women           12%    19%    10%     8%    11%    13%    11%    13%
Some women           45     54     36     47     44     46     46     47
Hardly any women     31     18     40     34     31     30     31     28
NONE/NO WOMEN(VOL)    5      2      4      7      4      5      5      4
DK/NA                 7      7      9      5     10      5      7      8
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    
 
Many women            9%    15%    19%    12%     9%    
Some women           41     48     52     42     43     
Hardly any women     39     26     22     37     31     
NONE/NO WOMEN(VOL)    5      5      2      5      6     
DK/NA                 7      7      6      4     11     
 
                                                 STAND ON ABORTION Q22
                                   WhtBrnAgnEv   IN ALL or MOST CASES
                     Prot   Cath   Yes    No     Legal  Illegal
 
Many women           12%    12%    21%     6%     3%    28%
Some women           49     47     53     45     41     51
Hardly any women     28     32     19     37     43     15
NONE/NO WOMEN(VOL)    5      1      3      4      7      1
DK/NA                 6      8      5      7      6      5
 
 
25. Do you think government should make laws aimed at convincing pregnant women who plan to have an abortion to change their minds, or don't you think so?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  21%    31%    17%    17%    21%    21%    20%    20%
No                   72     57     78     78     72     72     72     76
DK/NA                 7     12      5      5      7      7      8      4
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    
                     Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    
 
Yes                  21%    21%    29%    18%    18%    
No                   75     71     67     76     74     
DK/NA                 5      9      4      6      9     
 
                                                 STAND ON ABORTION Q22
                                   WhtBrnAgnEv   IN ALL or MOST CASES
                     Prot   Cath   Yes    No     Legal  Illegal
 
Yes                  22%    26%    32%    16%     8%    45%
No                   69     68     57     77     89     48
DK/NA                 9      6     11      6      3      7
 
 
26. Until recently persons could only buy one handgun a month in Virginia. The law has now been changed so there is no limit on handgun purchases. Which do you prefer, the old law that limited persons to buying one per month, or the new law which does not limit purchases of handguns?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    
                                                               
Old law/One per mnth 53%    34%    69%    56%    47%    58%    
New law/No limit     40     61     22     38     48     33     
DK/NA                 7      5      9      6      5      9     
 
                     Miltry COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YRS.......    HAVE KIDS<18
                     HsHold Yes    No     18-34  35-54  55+    Yes    No
 
Old law/One per mnth 54%    59%    49%    50%    46%    65%    44%    57%
New law/No limit     41     36     42     45     44     30     49     36
DK/NA                 4      5      8      5     11      6      7      7
 

Demographic Summary