Virginia Statewide Poll: Voters Dissatisfied With School Reopening Options

War Room Strategies, a Central Virginia-based political consulting firm, conducting a statewide series of polls on the hot-button issues facing Virginians at this time on unrest and confusion.

In its first statewide poll, War Room Strategies found nearly half of likely voters believe that their local school boards and superintendents — not the CDC, President Trump, or Gov. Ralph Northam — should be most responsible for providing options to parents on reopening schools.

And, as many school systems plan to return to 100 percent virtual learning in the fall, similar to what students experienced following the coronavirus lockdown in March, 44 percent of those polled disapprove of their local school system’s plans, while 30 percent strongly disapprove.

In Virginia’s First Congressional District, which includes Prince William and Stafford counties, the numbers were a little tighter with 38 percent of parents disapproving, and 34 percent approving.

Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia’s First Congressional District, spoke out regarding the decisions regarding going back to school and how this issue is going to affect his district and even his home. This is a conversation I have daily at my kitchen table, as my wife is an
elementary school teacher. I believe reopening schools is a dynamic situation that requires constant monitoring and reevaluation.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), health officials and governments are not only monitoring the risks reopening schools pose to children, but also the risks to teachers, staff, and their families. I support the localities in VA-01 as they make the best decisions for their constituents based off the most up-to-date data in their districts, and the state and federal governments should be there to provide assistance to get children back to school as quickly and as safely as possible.

Qasim Rashid, a Democrat running to unseat Wittman, stressed that Virginians should listen to the experts and local officials on how schools should reopen safely.

“I agree with the majority of First District voters that we must listen to experts and our local officials on how to reopen schools safely and I implore the Federal Government to lead by setting a good example…” Rashid penned in an email. “I am the child of educators as well as the
father of two Stafford Public School students. So I am personally invested in the health and safety of all of the students, educators, administrators, staff, and our 1st District community at-large.”

Another hot topic for voters is #defundthepolice – a policy cry that stemmed from the Murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. For likely voters in Virginia, defunding the police is a non-starter with virtually all Republicans (93 percent), close to two-thirds of independents (63 percent), and more than half of Democrats (51 percent) opposing the effort.

Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton of Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, voiced her support for #blacklivesmatter on Twitter and is a co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act.

Aliscia Andrews – running in VA-10 – has made her support for law enforcement well-known, speaking at several “We Back Blue” rallies in the past few months.

In a July 31, 2020, interview with Bearing Drift’sGrand New Podcast,” she reiterated that support.

“We have to support them – […] One of the biggest challenges that law enforcement has is they are not in it for the money. They are in it because they want to serve their country, and because of that they do get shot at for thirty-two thousand a year – because they love their country more than they care about the dollar. I find that to be the most honorable thing. They run towards the fire, not away from it.”

Mrs. Andrews stated that she feels the policy is out of step with the district, but also said that officers who abuse their power must be held to account.

“I don’t support people that hurt – I don’t support bad apples in the orchard, no one does,” Mrs. Andrews stated firmly.

She also stated that we have to heal as a nation, moving past racial tensions. “Look, Black lives matter. Blue lives matter – all life matters. We all want the same things.”

However, on Confederate statues, the Commonwealth is split: likely voters in five Congressional districts are for removal and five are opposed, while CD-10 is almost dead even.

Virginia’s partisans are extremely divided by party affiliation on this issue. Almost eight in ten Democrats (79 percent) support the removal of these statues, while an even greater proportion of Republicans (86 percent) are against their removal. About half of independents (51 percent) are also against removing statues of Confederate political and military leaders.

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