(RICHMOND, VA)—More than 90 percent of Virginia voters support the Commonwealth's plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay and want the next governor to move forward on implementing the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the federal-state plan to restore the Bay, according to new bipartisan polling.
Nearly three-quarters of voters believe clean water and a healthy Bay don't conflict with a strong economy, the statewide poll also found, and a near-unanimous number—96 percent—agree that ensuring clean water "is an important role of state government, and the governor and state leaders need to work together to help meet this basic need of all Virginians."
The telephone poll, conducted late last month on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), surveyed Virginia voters likely to cast ballots in November. The poll was conducted by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies, which polls for Republicans candidates in partisan races, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which polls for Democratic candidates. Results have a margin of error of plus/ minus 4 percent. Download the poll report (PDF, 4pgs, 119 KB)
"Clearly the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers continues to be a priority for Virginians," said CBF President William C. Baker. "That's not surprising, given the critical role the Bay has played in the state's history, culture, and economy."
"The poll results dramatically underscore just how important restoring our streams and the Bay is to overwhelming numbers of Virginians, regardless of demographic, regional or political affiliations," said Ann F. Jennings, CBF Virginia Executive Director. "Voters favor candidates who support continued implementation of Virginia's plan to reduce pollution in the Bay."
In fact, 77 percent of those polled said clean water issues and the health of Virginia's local waterways are important to them in making voting decisions, including 20 percent who say these issues are the primary factor in deciding how to vote.
Voters also believe that the efforts to restore the Bay will have significant economic benefits for the state. Nearly half (48 percent) say they think the Bay Blueprint plan will create jobs. That's more than three times as many who say it will cost jobs (15 percent).
Regarding Virginia's next governor, "Virginians clearly want him to continue to move forward on the state's plan to clean up the Bay," said pollster David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, noting an overwhelming 95 percent of respondents agreed.
"And that sentiment is bipartisan and broad—more than 90 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and independents say they think the next governor should continue implementing the current plan," Metz said.
Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies added, "Even when voters are presented with two different profiles of candidates, 65 percent of Virginians favor a candidate for statewide office or the state legislature who supports continuing the Bay cleanup, while just one in five (22 percent) back a candidate who advocates for delaying implementation to focus on other issues like the economy."
CBF funded the poll as a non-partisan effort to help inform political leaders about what Virginians think about Chesapeake Bay cleanup issues. CBF does not participate in political campaigns or support or oppose candidates for elected office.
For details about the polling results, go to cbf.org/va4thebay.