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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
RICHMOND - Although Gov. Bob McDonnell's job approval numbers have declined to their lowest point in two years, according to a poll, his reputation doesn't seem seriously damaged by questions swirling around his relationship to a political donor who has given gifts to the governor and his family.
A Quinnipiac University survey out Wednesday lists McDonnell with a 49 percent job approval rating that's slightly lower than his 53 percent mark in late March and markedly down from his 62 percent high in October 2011. His disapproval rating is 28 percent, while 23 percent said they didn't have a strong opinion.
Results from the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac poll are based on live telephone interviews with 1,286 registered Virginia voters conducted May 8 to 13. Its margin of error is 2.7 percent.
McDonnell has faced weeks of unwelcome news coverage over his ties to Jonnie Williams Sr., the chief executive of Henrico County-based health supplement maker Star Scientific Inc., who has given gifts to the governor and his family.
Yet despite broad public awareness of the Star Scientific scandal - 57 percent of those polled said they heard something about the story - not many are convinced the governor did something wrong. Just 12 percent of respondents consider it a major issue, while 44 percent see it as just politics.
Meanwhile, the new Quinnipiac results show President Barack Obama's 49-47 percent approval rating in Virginia slightly improved from his 45-49 percent score in March.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner gets the highest marks among Virginia election officials with a 59-22 percent approval rating. Fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, received a 46-33 percent score in the survey.
The General Assembly passed a landmark $6 billion transportation funding plan this winter but nevertheless scored a negative 38-42 percent approval rating.
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