Poll Shows Majority of Virginians Support Major Structural Reforms to Policing

Virginia—According to recent polling conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Progress Virginia, there is widespread support among Virginia voters for significant reforms of policing in the commonwealth, including very strong support among younger voters and voters of color. A June 26-27th poll of 1083 registered voters found 51% support major structural reforms to policing in the commonwealth. An additional 34% believe minor reforms are needed while only 13% would not support any changes. The support for major changes has wide support from younger voters, with 70% of those 18-29 and 68% of those 30-45 years old wanting to see major structural reforms or the abolishment of police.

“This poll makes it clear that legislators need to act swiftly and boldly during the upcoming special session to make major reforms to policing in Virginia,” Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia, said. “Everyone deserves to be safe with the opportunity to thrive in our communities. Virginians are calling out for change because we are done seeing Black people murdered and protestors brutalized in the streets. Members of the General Assembly must take swift and bold action to not only to overhaul public safety and community investments so they support all of us, no exceptions.  ”

Support for policies includes:

  • 61% support stricter use of force policies that ban the use of chokeholds and chemical agents like tear gas 
  • 93% support mandating the use of dashboard and body cameras by police officers
  • 80% support requiring independent investigations into incidents of police violence 
  • 83% support increasing police training standards, including training on bias and profiling
  • 72% support establishing uniform accountability standards for police officers, up to and including losing their job

Contrary to conservative claims and fear mongering, significant reforms including shifting first responder responsibilities and funding away from police and ending qualified immunity also enjoy positive support, although more voters need more information about these policies. 

  • +16: Margin of support for shifting first responder duties and funding away from police. Independent voters support at a margin of +18.
  • +23: Margin of support for ending the practice of qualified immunity for police, including 54% of all registered voters.
  • +17: Margin of support for establishing civilian oversight over local police departments, 53% of independent voters.
  • +9: Margin of support to stop allowing police departments to utilize military-grade supplies, including 53% of independent voters.