Industries Government

Virginians narrowly support public investment to land Amazon HQ2

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Map of Amazon's HQ2 National Landing, courtesy JBG Smith.

A new poll shows nearly half of Virginians, 49 percent, believe the benefits of Amazon’s second headquarters location in Virginia will outweigh the cost of incentives.

Nonetheless, the poll, conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, found 41 percent of respondents think Virginia is investing too much in the deal.

Older Virginians are more inclined to be skeptical, with 37 percent thinking benefits will outweigh costs, compared to 47 percent who say Virginia is investing too much.

“This close split could indicate that the more Virginians hear about the Amazon deal, the less confident they are that it’s a win for Virginia,” Robyn McDougle, director of the Wilder School’s Center for Public Policy,  said in a statement.  “One poll conducted shortly after the Nov. 13 Amazon announcement showed Virginians approving the deal by a 2-to-1 margin, but this margin is significantly lower.”

Education funding

Additional poll findings show a majority of the Virginia public is willing to pay higher taxes for improved K-12 education.

Sixty-three percent of Virginians indicate a personal willingness to pay more taxes to increase funding for K-12 education, while 32 percent say they are not willing to do so.
The proportion willing to pay higher taxes for this purpose is up 11 percentage points from last year, making it the biggest year-to-year jump and the highest percentage measured in the 16 years the poll has asked the question.

Democrats (80 percent) are more likely to be willing to pay higher taxes than Republicans (47 percent), while independents (55 percent) fall between the two.

Affordable housing

Respondents also were asked whether they would be willing to pay more in taxes to increase the use of two policies aimed at improving access to affordable housing: government support for private development of such housing and government support for housing vouchers that can be used to pay some or all of a person’s rent.

A majority, 55 percent, were unwilling to pay more in taxes in both cases.  

The poll results are available at

The poll, a random sample of 805 adults in Virginia, was conducted by landline and cell telephone calls on Dec. 3-13. It has a margin of error of 3.45 percent.

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