Majority say General Assembly special session failed to address systemic racism
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
L. Douglas Wilder
Phone: (804) 827-0776
Director, Center for Public Policy
Phone: (804) 721-6703
Poll: Majority say General Assembly special session failed to address systemic racism
RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 18, 2021) — Gov. Ralph Northam called the 2020 special session of the General Assembly to address the forecasted budget shortfall and the ongoing calls for social and criminal justice reforms in Virginia. Only 14% of Virginians felt that the policies passed to address systemic racism confront the issue while 18% feel that they do not address the issues at all, according to a new statewide Commonwealth Poll conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“An overwhelming majority of Virginians feel that the 2020 special session of the General Assembly called by Governor Northam failed to address systemic racism or address the issue at all. Also, a plurality disapprove of Governor Northam’s use of $1 million for a yearlong investigation into racism at [Virginia Military Institute], and a majority also believe ethnic and racial diversity at the state leadership level and at the local level has led to increased segregation in our education system,” said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.
Forty-seven percent of Virginians disapprove of Northam’s, $1 million, yearlong racism investigation at VMI while 41% approve of the investigation. Republicans, whites and those without a college education were more likely to disapprove of the racism investigation at 76%, 54% and 44% respectively.
The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in education at leadership and school district levels is also of concern. A majority of Virginians, 53%, are concerned about schools and the education system becoming increasingly segregated while 43% say they are not concerned. Democrats and minorities were more likely to be concerned, at 83% and 69% respectively.
The Winter 2021 Commonwealth Poll involved telephone interviews with a representative sample of 827 adults, age 18 or older, living in Virginia. Interviews were conducted by landline (413) and cellphone (414, including 254 without a landline) from Dec 11-30. The margin of error for the complete set of weighted data is 5.39 percentage points.
For the full poll results and analysis, visit https://oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll/.