NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A new poll from Christopher Newport University shows Virginians think former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s prison sentence was fair, that they support the legalization of medical marijuana and think colleges should report campus sexual assaults to local police instead of handling the issue internally.
A total of 1,062 registered Virginia voters answered a 29 questions raging from redistricting, ethics reform, campus sexual assaults, budget cuts and medical marijuana decriminalization.
Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of CNU’s Wason Center for Public Policy, told 10 On Your Side he’s especially discouraged about a particular topic — honesty in government. Only one in three respondents considered Virginia’s current political culture “exceptionally or mostly honest.” Of that group, just 3 percent said they considered Virginia politics to be exceptionally honest.
“That’s abysmal,” Kidd said. “It shows the voters’ deep frustration with politics.” The results come in the wake of scandals involving McDonnell as well as Delegate Joe Morrissey.
On the topic of marijuana, 71 percent favored decriminalizing the possession of small amounts, similar to what 17 other states have already done. This would make the offense punishable by a fine rather than jail time.
A slightly smaller majority, of 69 percent, favor the legalization of medical marijuana, which is already in place in 22 other states.
Below is a summary of the key findings of the CNU poll:
- Virginians think former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s prison sentence is fair and
are very skeptical that Virginia’s political culture is honest and ethical.
Strong majorities back a $250 gift ban and an ethics commission.
- Most Virginia voters say they aren’t familiar with the way redistricting is
done, but of those who are, more say the process is unfair. Majorities
support creating an independent redistricting commission and
prohibiting the use of partisan voting data in drawing districts.
- By a large margin, Virginians support requiring that colleges report
campus sexual assaults to local police, not handle them internally.
- If further cuts have to be made to the state budget, transportation is the
top choice; a large majority would exempt K-12 funding from cuts.
- Very large majorities support legalizing marijuana for medical use and
decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.