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Poll: VA’s political climate getting “nastier”

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Virginia’s political climate is getting more toxic. That’s the message from a new survey of Virginia’s Voters published by Christopher Newport University.

When asked, 34% of Virginia voters said state politics have grown less civil in the last five years. Only 11% said they felt state politics had become more civil.

CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth says there may be two reasons behind the perceived shift.

First, an overall shift in the attitude of politicians toward one another.

“I think politics politics has become more of an attack dog kind of business,” Holsworth said. “People are really going after one another.

Second, the increased presence of social issues in the general assembly in recent sessions.

“There are a lot of things entering the political arena that people are uncomfortable with,” he said. “we’ve certainly seen that in Virginia over the past couple of months; all of the talk about ultrasounds, abortions, gay rights.”

“While they certainly generate a lot of attention, there are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with the topics in general, and a lot of people that feel they don’t belong in politics in general.”

The poll also found that voters feel the state’s political climate has room to improve. Respondents gave it an average score of a six on a one to 10 scale.

Virginia politicians are still faring better than those on Capitol Hill. Nearly 80% of those surveyed said they feel civility in national politics has declined in the past five years.

1,018 Virginia voters were surveyed with an error of plus or minus 3.1%.