SURVEY: Virginia voters prefer Biden over Trump regarding handling of COVID-19

Donald Trump

FILE – In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. (AP Photo, File)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — According to a recent survey, Virginia voters say Democratic nominee Joe Biden would be better at responding to the pandemic than President Trump.

The latest comes from a survey released Monday by the Watson Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

The Wason Center interviewed 796 registered Virginia voters on cell phone and landline between Sept. 9 and 21.

“To the extent that the presidential election is about COVID-19, voters in Virginia are standing with Biden,” Wason Center Research Director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said. 

From the survey, 54% of Virginian voters say the country is loosening restrictions related to the COVID-19 too quickly. 48% would also prefer Joe Biden over President Trump (36%) over handling the pandemic.

Compared with the nation, a plurality of Virginia voters say the state’s reopening pace is about right (47%), with the remainder divided over wanting more restrictions (24%) or fewer restrictions (29%). A similar pattern shows about K-12 school opening, as voters prefer a hybrid model (46%) to all-virtual (28%) or fully in-person (23%). 

The survey also asked about police misconduct and the use of force, including reforms now before the Virginia General Assembly. Strong majorities support requiring training on de-escalation (96%), requiring body cameras (95%), requiring officers to intervene when a colleague uses unlawful force (94%), requiring public reports when force is used (76%), establishing a public database on misconduct ((76%) and creating civilian oversight boards (70%).

By slimmer majorities, voters support criminalizing chokeholds (56%-42%) and allowing civilians to sue for misconduct (52%-44%). Voters narrowly oppose banning police use of military-grade weapons (50%-47%).

Voters view police positively on protecting people from crime (64%) but negatively on the treatment of racial groups (65%), use of force (54%), and holding officers accountable for misconduct (61%).

A recent poll from Old Dominion University also shows that President Donald Trump has lost popularity among some voters in Hampton Roads since his election nearly four years ago.

The poll was done by ODU’s Social Science Research Center.

Overall, Trump was shown to be not popular among the 1,105 survey respondents: One-third of those polled approved, and 13.9% strongly approved. Nearly two-thirds disapproved with 43% saying they strongly disapproved of the president.

Another survey conducted by Hampton University claim that registered voters in Virginia have more positive views of how things are going in their local community and state than the country as a whole.

Only a quarter say the country is headed in the right direction, but 65% feel things are on the right track in their community and 48% feel the same about their state.

As you look ahead to the election, here’s a look into what Virginians think.

  • 41% of Virginia voters trust a Trump administration to handle the economy well compared 30% who say the same about a Biden administration.
  • 36% think a Biden would handle the coronavirus outbreak well versus 28% who say so about a Trump administration.
  • Overall, 47% view Joe Biden favorably and 37% view Donald Trump favorably.

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