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Coverage of Virginia politics and the 2014 election.

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Poll shows voters split on uranium, oppose lifting certain gun restrictions

Virginia voters remain pretty evenly divided on the question of whether the state should allow uranium mining.

A new Quinnipiac University poll showed that 43 percent of Virginians favor lifting the state’s ban on uranium mining, because it could bring many economic benefits. Forty-one percent favor keeping the ban for environmental safety.

Uranium mining is expected to be a big issue in the upcoming 2012 legislative session, because a company wants Virginia to lift its ban on uranium mining so it can mine a uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County. Studies of the issue have shown that the project could potentially have economic benefits for Southside Virginia, but could also pose some environmental risks.

Voters split by party on the issue, with Republicans favoring uranium mining 62 to 24 percent, while Democrats opposed it 54 to 29 percent. Independents were split, 42 to 43 percent.

The poll also showed Virginians favor keeping the state’s one-gun-a-month law, and banning guns on college campuses. Sixty-two percent oppose repealing the one-gun a month law (32 percent favor repeal) while 75 percent say guns shouldn’t be allowed on campuses (20 percent said they should). Members of both genders and parties opposed allowing guns on campuses, even for concealed-carry permit holders.

Also, 58 percent of those polled oppose a “personhood” bill that defines life as beginning at conception. At least one such bill has already been filed for the session. Thirty-two percent favored it. Seventy-four percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents oppose it, while 51 percent of Republicans back it.

The poll found that Gov. Bob McDonnell’s job approval rating has slipped slightly, to 57 percent — down from 62 percent in October. Sen. Mark Warner has a 62 percent job approval rating; Sen. Jim Webb’s is 48 percent, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s is 35 percent (with 46 percent undecided) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s was 47 percent.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,135 registered voters by phone between Dec. 13 and 19. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 2.9 percent.