Is the Wason Center Doing Push Polling for the Democratic Party?

Relax, the headline is totally facetious. The Wason Center at Christopher Newport University¬†is an independent organization that values its integrity. It is not doing push polling for Democrats. But you’ve got to wonder if the results would have been any different if the two had been working in sync.

Here’s the question Wason asked in a poll the results of which were released yesterday: “If you were making up the budget for the Virginia state government this year, would you increase, decrease or keep spending the same for…”

Judging by this poll, Virginia voters prefer spending more money on just about everything — except maybe tourism — by really wide margins.

This list is vaguely useful as a set of voter priorities for spending…. in the absence of any financial constraints. Sure, if money is no object — and the pollster hasn’t indicated that it is — why not spend more money on K-12 education? Why not spend more money on healthcare? Why not pay everyone more? But the poll doesn’t ask registered voters how they would like to pay for everything.

Wason neglected to ask: “If you were making up the budget for the Virginia state government this year, would you increase taxes, decrease them or keep them the same?”

What Wason should have asked: “If you were making up the budget for the Virginia state government this year and, thanks to growth in the economy and tax revenues, you had an extra $1 billion to spend, what percentage would you allocate to….”

That might reveal something useful about voter preference in the real world.

— JAB