The latest Washington Post Virginia poll found that the $3 billion Metro extension to Dulles International Airport could be a tough political sell.
The statewide poll determined that 32 percent of respondents described the project as important, while 64 percent said it is not and would prefer to reduce spending on other government services rather than raising taxes.
The future of the project is far from certain as Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Virginia, and Loudoun and Fairfax counties are currently in a potentially fatal dispute over pro-union labor deals, costs and an inspector general’s investigation of the authority.
But, as Alec MacGillis of The New Republic points out, the new poll is a bit misleading because it includes respondents from areas like Richmond and Virginia Beach who won’t be using the Metro, and likely don’t care about it.
Buried down in the article, the Post points out that in Northern Virginia, residents are overwhelmingly in favor of the project.
“In the Washington suburbs, including Fairfax and Arlington counties and Alexandria, 67 percent say the project is important, with 41 percent calling it extremely important. But in the remaining parts of the state it’s 25 percent.”
"So there you have it. In the very populous part of the state where people know have to fight traffic to drive to the airport and Tysons Corner, most people care a lot about the project. In the far reaches of the rest of the state, not so much. Which is exactly why the state decided to back the project back in the Kaine days -- because it was of importance to the corner of the state that has been growing the fastest and subsidizing the rest of the state with its booming tax revenues. That's how these projects usually happen -- they matter to one part of the state and less to the other, but through the democratic process, revenues are allocated hither and yon. (It's also why the Northern Virginia counties are picking up a lot of the tab on their own, over and beyond the state contribution.) So I'll stick with I said before: Tim Kaine can surely win some votes by making the case for Dulles Rail. Yes, those votes will come in Northern Virginia, not from Norfolk. But they're still, you know, votes!"
Here is a graphic of the full results of the poll. Note that respondents were asked how they considered the project—"extremely important,” ” very important," "somewhat" or "not at all."
* President Barack Obama likely won’t be campaigning in the decisively blue state of Maryland very much, but he will be in Baltimore with his bud Gov. Martin O’Malley next month for two fundraisers.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Obama will attend a fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency on June 12 where the ticket price tag ranges from $250 to $10,000. He will then attend a private lunch at the home of real estate developer Josh Fidler. Tickets for that exclusive event will fun from $10,000 to $50,000.
"This will be one of his only fundraising events in Maryland," according to an e-mail sent Friday from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s campaign. "This is going to be a tough election. The polls are getting tighter and it's going to take a lot of work to win. But we know we have to win because under President Obama's leadership, we're moving forward, not back."
* Byron York of The Washington Examiner wrote a piece on what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney can accomplish at his Saturday commencement speech at Liberty University—a conservative university founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.
But despite press buildup portraying the speech as a major political statement for a candidate still seeking to firm up conservative support, the bottom line, according to Team Romney, is the speech just won't be deeply political. Instead, the address will be another opportunity for Romney to present himself as a man who has lived by conservative principles. He'll do that not by calling himself "severely conservative," as he awkwardly did at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, but by talking about living life.
So Romney doesn't need to give a fiery campaign speech at Liberty. He doesn't need to spend his time attacking Barack Obama or gay marriage. Instead, he is more likely to present himself as a candidate evangelicals can feel comfortable about supporting, not just the man they have to vote for if they want to defeat Obama. If Romney does that, he can count his visit to Jerry Falwell's university a success.
* Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced Friday that Virginia will join 30 other states in suing publishing giants Penguin and MacMillan for conspiring to fix prices on electronic books, according to The Examiner.
D.C. also joined and Maryland had joined the lawsuit earlier.