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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Life in Hampton Roads: Politics

This report examines regional perceptions of political figures and political affiliation from the 2017 Life In Hampton Roads survey (LIHR 2017) conducted by the Old Dominion University Social Science Research Center. Data from prior years is also provided when available to show comparisons in responses over time. Responses were weighted by city population, race, age, gender, and phone usage (cell versus land-line) to be representative of the Hampton Roads region. For additional information on survey methodology, and analyses of other issues, please see the SSRC website at www.odu.edu/ssrc.

Political climate is one factor in understanding attitudes on a variety of issues. Respondents were asked a variety of questions including party affiliation, political attitudes and voter registration. The 908 participants gave a wide variety of answers to these questions and much of the data reflects response patterns seen in years past.

Respondents were asked what political party they generally feel closer to. A larger proportion of respondents reported feeling closer to the Democratic Party (34.8 percent) or being Independent (32.4 percent) than the Republican party (19.6 percent) or feeling closer to something else (7.6 percent).

Next, respondents were asked to identify whether they usually think of themselves as extremely liberal, liberal, slightly liberal, moderate, slightly conservative, conservative or extremely conservative. Not surprisingly, moderate was the most commonly given response (33 percent). Those respondents who reported being conservative (overall 34.5 percent) were broken down as "conservative" (19.2 percent), "slightly conservative" (12.3 percent), and "extremely conservative" (3 percent). Those who reported being liberal (overall 24.4percent) were broken down as "liberal" (13.2 percent), "slightly liberal" (8.5 percent), and "extremely liberal" (2.7 percent). However, despite the fact that more respondents identified with the Democratic Party (34.8 percent) than the Republican Party (19.6 percent), there were more respondents who reported being conservative (34.5 percent) than liberal (24.4 percent).

Respondents were asked whether or not they were registered to vote. The vast majority of respondents said they were registered to vote (90.5 percent), while only 9.3 percent of respondents were not registered to vote at the time of the survey.

Donald Trump had been in office for five months when the Life in Hampton Roads survey began. Therefore, respondents were asked how Donald Trump was doing in his job as president. A majority, 60.4 percent, of respondents either disapproved (25.8 percent) or strongly disapproved (34.6 percent) of the job that he is doing as president. Only 5.1 percent of Hampton Roads residents strongly approved of the job that he is doing as president, while 21.6 percent approved.

Respondents were also asked how Tim Kaine was doing in his job as senator. A majority (53.3 percent) of respondents either approved (45.4 percent) or strongly approved (7.9 percent) of the job that he is doing as senator. A small percentage (4.3 percent) of Hampton Roads residents strongly disapproved while 19.1 percent disapproved.

Respondents were also asked how Mark Warner was doing in his job as senator. A majority (60.7percent) of respondents either approved (49.5 percent) or strongly approved (11.2 percent) of the job that he is doing as senator. A small percentage (2.5 percent) of Hampton Roads residents strongly disapproved of the job that he is doing as senator, while 12.9 percent disapproved. Almost one-quarter of the respondents either did not know or declined to answer the approval questions about our senators.

In summary, the vast majority of Hampton Roads residents are registered to vote (90.5 percent) and more respondents identified as moderate than liberal. Conversely, a slightly smaller percentage of respondents identified as moderate than conservative. Less than 20 percent of respondents identified as Republican, while over 30 percent identified as Democrat (34.8 percent) or Independent (32.4 percent). While both Tim Kaine and Mark Warner received relatively high approval ratings (53.3percent and 60.7percent, respectively), Donald Trump received a 26.7 percent approval rating.

All Life in Hampton Roads data summaries will be placed on the Social Science Research Center website as they are released (http://www.odu.edu/al/centers/ssrc). Follow-up questions about the 2016 Life in Hampton Roads survey should be addressed to:

Randy Gainey, PhD

Faculty Director

The Social Science Research Center

Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Old Dominion University

757-683-4794 (office)

rgainey@odu.edu

Or

Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, PhD

Associate Director

The Social Science Research Center

Old Dominion University

757-683-3802 (office)

tvandeca@odu.edu

Previous 2017 Life in Hampton Roads Survey results:

Quality of Life

Crime and Police

Health and Education

Transportation