- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2003

RICHMOND (AP) — A recent poll of Virginians shows Gov. Mark Warner faring well, while the General Assembly gets mixed reviews.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch/NBC12 survey shows that many voters in the run-up to the Nov. 4 House and Senate elections are not impressed with the Republican-controlled legislature’s handling of signature issues.

About two in three respondents, for example, said the assembly has been ineffective in balancing the budget and cutting taxes.

Mr. Warner’s performance was described by 59 percent as good or excellent. Forty-one percent graded the Democrat, who is approaching the midpoint of his four-year term, as fair or poor.

His job-performance rating was virtually unchanged from a Times-Dispatch/NBC12 Poll one year ago.

The General Assembly rates slightly lower — 55 percent judged it excellent or good. The majority said legislators were ineffective in improving public transportation and improving health care. They were deemed effective on issues such as public education, protecting the environment and improving homeland security.

The latest findings are based on interviews Oct. 9 through last Monday with 645 adults. The poll results has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

The survey showed that 48 percent believe a proposed overhaul of the tax laws will mean higher taxes for some individuals and businesses. Only 38 percent said the tax code could be updated without raising rates.

Mr. Warner has said tax modernization will be the centerpiece of his 2004 legislative package. He is not providing details of his plan until after the elections, denying ammunition to anti-tax Republicans who dominate a study commission considering changes in the tax system.

The poll also spotlighted considerable voter resistance to a hot-button social issue: the possibility of homosexual “marriage,” an idea given new currency by a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out many states’ sodomy laws.

Sixty-four percent said they would oppose a Virginia law allowing homosexual unions. Twenty-five percent favored the notion. Virginia does not recognize same-sex unions.

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