Virginians’ favor stricter gun laws, willing to pay more for education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2020
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Farrah Stone, Ph.D.
Ahead of the General Assembly session that starts tomorrow, a majority of Virginians favor stricter gun laws, with large majorities supporting background checks, limits on those with mental illness and red-flag laws, according to statewide poll conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The poll also provides a look into vote choice in November’s historic election. The poll also found that Virginians believe public schools are underfunded and a majority of Virginians would be willing to pay more. In addition, a majority of Virginians support Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposal to provide tuition-free community college.
Among the poll’s key findings:
- Virginians support stricter gun laws. A majority (53%) of Virginians say that gun laws should be stricter today. Three-in-10 say laws are about right and only 17% think laws should be less strict.
- Large majorities support background checks, limits on those with mental illness and red flag laws. Eighty-four percent of Virginians strongly or somewhat support laws to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns, and 83% support making private and gun shows sales subject to 2 background checks.
- Two-thirds of Virginians believe public schools are underfunded and majorities are willing to pay more for specific improvements. Sixty-six percent thought funding was not enough to meet public schools’ needs, while only 27% thought it was enough. More than 7-in-10 Virginians were willing to pay more in taxes to increase mental health services for students and to increase teacher pay (73% and 72% respectively).
- A majority is supportive of the governor’s proposal to provide tuition-free community college. Sixty-three percent favor providing tuition-free community college to Virginia students, with 44% strongly favoring the measure.
The telephone survey of 818 adults living in Virginia was conducted Dec. 2- Dec. 13. It has an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 4.80 percentage points.
The full news release from January 7 with poll results and methodology can be found here: https://oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll/.
ABOUT THE WILDER SCHOOL AND THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY
The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, named for the nation’s first African-American elected governor, is a top-50 nationally ranked public affairs school. Located blocks from the state Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, the school enrolls about 1,000 undergraduates and 400 graduate students in eight academic programs. The Wilder School’s 10,000-plus alumni work across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of Wilder School faculty, the Center for Public Policy's programs provide diverse public-facing services including leadership development and training, economic and policy impact analysis, survey insights and program evaluation to clients in state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and the general public, across Virginia and beyond. For more, please visit https://wilder.vcu.edu/center-for-public-policy/.