Survey finds mixed reaction to liquor store privatization

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A slim majority of respondents in a statewide survey would like Virginia to get out of the liquor business, but they are divided on how that should be accomplished.

The privatization of state liquor stores was one of many questions asked in a poll of 601 residents by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem. The questionnaire covered a variety of issues, but focused primarily on fiscal issues such as budget, taxes and spending

On privatization, the survey found that one third (33 percent) think state ABC stores should be sold if the commonwealth can replace the lost revenue from liquor sales. Another 18 percent said that the state simply should not be in the business of selling alcohol.  Nonetheless, a significant portion of the respondents (41 percent) thinks ABC stores should remain under state control. 

In balancing the state budget, most respondents (72 percent) preferred a combination of budget cuts and tax increases. However, a quarter (25 percent) preferred budget cuts alone, while only 3 percent preferred tax increases alone.

Of those who supported some form of budget cuts, 82 percent still supported cuts even if it was a program that benefitted their family. 

The Roanoke College poll has asked questions about transportation funding for many years. Respondents remain relatively deadlocked between moving funds from other budget areas (28 percent), placing tolls on some highways (27 percent), increase funding only as permitted without any tax increases (20 percent), or increasing taxes and designating those funds for roads (17 percent).  These percentages are largely unchanged over the past five years, poll officials said.

The survey was conducted by telephone from Nov. 29 to Dec. 8. It is subject to a potential sampling error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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