The job approval ratings for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Republican-controlled state Legislature have dropped because of new laws making it easier to buy handguns and harder for women to get an abortion. According to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 53 percent of voters still approve of McDonnell, but that is down from 58 percent in early February.
The finding marked the lowest performance rating for the Republican — who is often talked about as a possible vice presidential candidate — since June of last year when his support was above 60 percent.
Meanwhile, only 38 percent of the 1,034 registered voters surveyed March 13 to March 18 approve of the job the GOP-controlled legislature is doing, marking the first time Virginia lawmakers have received an overall negative grade in the history of the poll.
According to Quinnipiac polling officials, the drop in performance ratings can be directly attributed to Republican-sponsored bills: One requiring an ultrasound before an abortion can be performed and another lifting the one-gun-a-month limit on handgun purchases. McDonnell signed both into law.
“The controversy over the ultrasound and handgun bills would be a logical explanation for the decline in [McDonnell’s] approval rating, which had been above 60 percent for much of last year,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Both were controversial measures that led to public protests at the state Capitol in Richmond.
The poll found that 52 percent of those surveyed disagree with the new law requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound, while 72 percent of those polled said government should not make any laws that try to convince women to change their minds about abortion.
On the gun issue, 53 percent of the voters surveyed said they prefer the old law that limits the purchase of handguns to one a month. The new one has no limits.
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