AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. - A new statewide poll in Virginia shows a clear majority support President Barack Obama's proposal to let tax breaks lapse for those earning more than $250,000 annually, but half still want his health care law repealed.
Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday approve of allowing the tax cuts established by former President George W. Bush expire for households earning $250,000 or more if it will help cut the federal budget deficit.
Thirty-six percent oppose the president's recent election-year decision, and 4 percent were undecided.
The "middle-class tax cut," as Obama calls it, came as part of his play for middle- and low-income voters while he portrays Republican Mitt Romney as a wealthy venture capitalist out-of-touch with ordinary voters.
Republicans counter that the $250,000 threshold would amount to a tax increase for many small, struggling, family-run businesses. Even some Democrats differ with the president, including former Gov. Tim Kaine, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat that fellow Democrat Jim Webb is leaving after just one term. Kaine favors a $500,000 threshold.
The poll also showed that 50 percent of the registered Virginia voters surveyed support ending the Affordable Care Act _ Obama's signature policy achievement and a rallying cry for Republicans starting with Romney, who promises to act to repeal it on his first day in office if elected. That result is unchanged from half who favored repeal in Quinnipiac University Polling Institute's October survey on the issue.
Forty-three percent want the law left in place, up from 41 percent in October, while 6 percent offered no response.
When asked whether they agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month upholding the health care law, 47 percent said yes and 47 percent said no. The follow-up question asked respondents how the high court's decision would affect their decision on whether to vote to re-elect Obama. Ten percent said it made them more likely to support him, 25 percent said they were less likely, 63 percent said it makes no difference, and 2 percent were undecided.
The poll indicated that the presidential race in Virginia is a dead heat between Romney and Obama while the Senate race between Kaine and Republican George Allen is about even. Forty-six percent backed Allen to 44 percent for Kaine, a result within the poll's margin of error.
The results are based on 1,673 telephone interviews Quinnipiac conducted with registered voters in Virginia from July 10-16. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus-or-minus 2.4 percentage points.
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