Poll finds Virginians support ratifying ERA, legalizing sports betting and more

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new poll finds many Virginians support ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University contacted more than 800 registered Virginia voters between Nov. 14 and 30.

Of respondents, 81 percent support ratifying the ERA in the 2019 General Assembly session.

Should Virginia ratify the ERA, it would be the 38th state to do so, which means it would become part of the U.S. Constitution.

However, opponents of the amendment say the deadline to pass it expired in 1982.

"The legal standing of ratification may be murky, but Virginia voters are very clear that they want the 2019 General Assembly to pass the ERA," said Dr. Quentin Kidd, the director of the Wason Center.

The poll also asked voters about redrawing legislative districts, finding 78 percent support amending the state Constitution to transfer the power to draw those maps to an independent commission instead of the General Assembly.

When asked about the deal bringing part of Amazon's East Coast headquarters to Northern Virginia, 68 percent approve of it.

Voters were also asked about legalizing sports betting and casinos, with the poll finding 63 percent and 58 percent do support the issues respectively. They also want any related tax revenue to support education and the state's general fund.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned a federal law that generally banned sports betting, so legislation is expected to be introduced to legalize it.

The Wason Center says interest in allowing legal casino gambling has been increasing in Virginia since the Pamunkey Indian tribe announced plans to build a casino.

Of respondents, 64 percent says the tribe should be allowed to open a casino, and if the tribe is allowed to build one, then 58 percent say other casinos should also be allowed.

Fifty-seven percent of voters say casinos could help economically distressed areas by creating jobs and generating tax revenue.

Virginians are mixed in their arguments for and against sports betting and casinos, with 32 percent saying they will produce more tax revenue, 25 percent saying it already happens and should be regulated, and 29 percent saying regulation will make it safer.

On the other hand, 43 percent are concerned legalization will promote gambling addiction, 28 percent say it will promote the wrong values and 17 percent say it will promote crime.

Continuing on the financial theme, Virginia is expecting to see state tax collections increase by as much as $600 million due to changes in the federal tax code, and some of the people asked said they would support a tax cut.

Seventy-five percent said they like the idea of a general tax cut and 62 percent support a tax credit for low-income to moderate-income Virginians.

If they had to pick, the respondents slightly favored the tax cut over the tax credit.

When asked about Governor Ralph Northam, 59 percent approve of his job performance and 24 percent disapprove.

Optimism is also high about the direction of the Commonwealth, with 64 percent saying Virginia is moving in the right direction.

Regarding President Donald Trump, he has a job approval rating of 35 percent while 57 percent of respondents disapprove.

To see the full poll, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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