Executive Summary â€“ Virginia Statewide Survey This Virginia statewide survey was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates among 800 likely voters between May 21-22, 2006. All interviews were conducted via telephone by professionally trained data collectors on McLaughlin & Associatesâ€™ state-of-the art CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) system. Respondent selection was at random. This sample of 800 likely voters has an accuracy of +/- 3.4% at the 95% confidence interval.
The survey results clearly illustrate that the voters in Virginia do not want to see any tax increases even if the revenue would be used for transportation projects that would ease traffic congestion. This strong voter sentiment is evident across geographic and party lines. Even in areas such as Northern Virginia, where traffic congestion is often the number one issue, the voters donâ€™t want to see higher taxes. The large majority of voters believe Virginians are already overtaxed and that there is enough money in the state budget to solve Virginiaâ€™s transportation problems without raising taxes. Even though Tim Kaine spent $350,000 on ads and voter outreach to promote his policies, the survey illustrates the lack of support Tim Kaine is receiving for his budget and tax proposals. The voters are clearly at odds with Tim Kaineâ€™s proposals and stance on how to pay for transportation projects. The survey results indicate that the voters will hold Tim Kaine and those who support plans similar to his responsible for higher taxes.
Less than half (42%) of Virginians approve of Tim Kaineâ€™s budget and tax proposals. Even among those who approve, the approval rating is soft. Only 15% strongly approve while 28% somewhat approve. Almost one-third (32%) disapproves of Tim Kaineâ€™s budget and tax proposals. Regardless of geography, Tim Kaine is unable to garner majority support for his proposals. He only gets majority support from Democrats but still the support from his own base is soft.
More than two-thirds (68%) of the voters believes the taxpayers of Virginia are already overtaxed and there is enough money in the state budget to solve Virginiaâ€™s transportation problems without raising taxes. This clear majority sentiment is evident across the board including among voters in Northern Virginia and Democrats.
When asked which long range solution for increasing local transportation funding would they favor most, the majority (60%) of voters choose a solution that does not increase taxes but instead either uses some of the increased tax revenue generated from earlier tax increases and economic growth or stops the practice of raiding the Transportation Trust Fund. Less than one-third (30%) thinks the state should raise taxes in some form. This majority sentiment against increasing taxes to fund transportation cuts across all geographic and party lines including voters in Northern Virginia and Democrats.
Which of these long range solutions for increasing local transportation funding would you favor most?
1. A regional tax increase IF approved by local governments in the region
2. A regional tax increase IF approved by voters in a regional referendum
3. A regional tax increase PLUS a statewide tax increase
4. No tax increase but instead using some of the increased tax revenue generated at the state level as a result of earlier tax increases and Virginiaâ€™s economic growth.
5. Stopping the practice of raiding the Transportation Trust Fund so we can solve Virginiaâ€™s transportation problems without raising taxes.
By more than a 3 to 1 margin (68% to 22%) the large majority of Virginians believes the state should spend the money needed to improve transportation without raising taxes and should require more accountability and end wasteful spending at V-DOT instead of raising taxes by more than $1 billion dollars annually statewide to provide a dedicated, sustainable source of transportation funds and to ensure that funds for other priorities like education, health care and public safety donâ€™t compete with funds for roads. As seen in the previous results, regardless of geography or party, the voters donâ€™t want to see higher taxes for transportation.
Three-quarters (76%) of the electorate disapproves of a proposed State Senate plan to raise the stateâ€™s gasoline tax by six cents per gallon in order to fund transportation projects to ease traffic congestion. Only 20% approves of the proposal. Whether a State Senator is a Democrat or Republican, they would be hurting themselves in their own base and among swing voters if they voted in favor of this proposal. Even in the areas where traffic congestion is often the number one problem (Northern Virginia), the large majority disapproves of raising the stateâ€™s gasoline tax to fund transportation projects to ease traffic congestion.
The House of Delegates, who refuses to approve any budget that increases taxes on Virginia taxpayers, is the least likely to get blamed if there is not a budget agreement and there is a partial shutdown of the state government. The majority (55%) would either blame Governor Kaine who refuses to sign any budget that does not include an annual tax increase of as much as $1 billion dollars for transportation (28%) or the State Senate who refuses to approve any budget that does not include an annual tax increase of as much as $1.8 billion dollars for transportation (27%). Clearly, the blame will mainly fall on the shoulders of those who favor a tax increase even if it is for transportation. This public opinion is evident across all key voter segments.