Poll: Few business leaders expect Obama to win Virginia

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A poll of Virginia business leaders finds few believe President Obama will win Virginia in the November election.

The same survey also finds strong support for efforts to generate more revenue for transportation in the commonwealth.

The Virginia Insiders Poll, released Tuesday, was sponsored Virginia FREE (Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education )and conducted by the Richmond-based Southeastern Institute of Research. It was designed to quickly assess and report the opinions of a broad section of influential Virginians on a wide range of issues.

The poll,  conducted electronically in May, asked 132 business leaders what percentage of the vote they expect Obama to receive in Virginia in the presidential election this fall.

Only 28 percent of respondents thought Obama would win a majority of votes (more than 50 percent). The mean (or average) prediction was 47.7 percent, with responses ranging from 3 percent to 60 percent.

On another issue, respondents were asked which ideas they favored to increase long-term transportation funding in Virginia. Answers were made on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 meaning they strongly disapproved and 5 meaning they strongly approved.

Five ideas were listed in the poll, two of which attracted strong support:

• Fifty-five percent said they strongly approve of plans to index the gasoline tax to the rate of inflation.  Seventeen percent strongly disapproved.
• Forty-four percent strongly approved efforts to raise the state gasoline tax by 10 cents. Nineteen percent strongly disapproved.

Other ideas attracting less support were:

• Increasing the portion of state sales tax dedicated to transportation (32 percent strongly approve, 21 percent strongly disapprove.)
• Dedicating 1 percent of the general fund revenue growth above 5 percent to transportation (27 percent strongly approve, 17 percent strongly disapprove)
• Increasing transportation’s share of year-end general fund surpluses to 75 percent (21 percent strongly approve, 15 percent strongly disapprove)

The 132 survey participants represented a response rate of 17 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 7.8 percentage points.

Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education is an independent association committed to strengthening the state’s business environment.

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