A Virginia poll found 43% of Virginians favor a state constitutional amendment on November’s ballot that would make it harder for the state government to use eminent domain to take private property.
Public Policy Polling (PPP), a liberal outfit that polls for the Daily Kos, found only 19% were against the amendment and 38% were not sure.
In its most recent Virginia poll, PPP asked respondents:
On the November ballot, there is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and, except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance, not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; (ii) to define what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property; and (iii) to prohibit the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use. If the election was today, would you vote for or against this amendment?
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2013, has campaigned in favor of the amendment.
Conservatives and independents have railed against eminent domain abuse, especially after the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo that said it was constitutional for a Connecticut city to take the homes of private citizens and give the land to business developers so the government could potentially gain more tax revenue.
The decision, which many legal analysts believe may be one of the worst Supreme Court rulings of all time, enraged conservatives and independents.
Romney needs an energized conservative base in Virginia, where Obama leads by an average of 1.5 percentage points. And Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendment could turn out those conservatives in November to the polls.