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AARP AARP States Virginia Voters

AARP to Candidates: Tell Voters How You Will Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Medical: Customer pays for expensive prescriptions in pharmacy.
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Full Survey Report

RICHMOND – As part of its long-standing, nonpartisan work to have candidates discuss their plans on important issues, AARP Virginia today released findings from a recent survey that demonstrate the deep concerns about – and support for proposals to address – the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs. The survey of likely voters was conducted in August by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University. AARP Virginia will release findings on other specific issues in the coming weeks.

“There’s no doubt that political tribalism is strong in Virginia and elsewhere,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau, “but candidates still have an opportunity to build support by telling voters how they’ll help on everyday health and financial security issues.”

The survey found that almost 2-in-3 likely voters in Virginia say they are very (36%) or somewhat (26%) concerned about being able to afford the cost of prescription drugs that they or their families need. There are particularly high levels of worry among voters who live in southwestern Virginia (71%) or in rural communities (70%), as well as among women voters (66%).

Likely voters across Virginia expressed broad support for several proposals that would rein in the rising costs of prescription drugs. By a count of almost ten-to-one (77% support – 8% oppose), voters say they support having Virginia join other states in drug buying pools to lower drug prices through bulk purchasing. Support for this measure is notably high among Black voters (85%), voters ages 50-64 (82%) and political moderates (81%).

A majority (58% support – 16% oppose) of likely voters say they support the creation of a prescription drug affordability board that would evaluate drug prices and set limits on how much some payers, such as state agencies, will pay. This proposal has strong support from Hispanic (82%) and Black (73%) voters, as well as voters ages 18-49 (63%).

In addition to releasing these survey findings, AARP Virginia this week will engage voters and candidates with other efforts that highlight the importance of prescription drug prices as an election issue, including the first in a series of digital videos. AARP Virginia is also reaching out to voters with information and resources to help them vote safely, whether in-person or from home, which can be found at

“Our message to candidates is clear: Tell voters how you’ll make prescription drugs more affordable for all Virginians,” added Dau. “And to voters, we’re here to help you stay up-to-date on changes happening around us, make a plan, and vote safely.”

With approximately 1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ and their families in the Commonwealth. AARP does not endorse or contribute money to candidates, political parties, or campaigns.

Survey Methodology

The results of this poll are based on 800 interviews of registered Virginia voters who are likely general election voters, including 277 on landline and 523 on cell phone, conducted August 15-23, 2021. A likely general election voter is one who has voted in at least two of the last four general elections or is newly registered in the last 12 months and indicates they are enthusiastic and plan to vote in the upcoming November 2 election. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/-3.6% at the 95% level of confidence. This means that if 50% of respondents indicate a topline view on an issue, we can be 95% confident that the population’s view on that issue is somewhere between 46.4% and 53.6%. The margin of error for subgroups may be higher. All error margins have been adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, which is 1.1 in this survey. The design effect is a factor representing the survey’s deviation from a simple random sample and takes into account decreases in precision due to sample design and weighting procedures. In addition to sampling error, the other potential sources of error include non-response, question wording, and interviewer error. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding. The response rate (AAPOR RRI Standard Definition) for the survey was 12%. Five callbacks were employed in the fielding process.

Live calling was conducted by Dynata. The data reported here are weighted using an iterative weighting process on region, age, race, sex, and education to reflect as closely as possible the population of Virginia’s November 2, 2021 electorate.

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit, or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media. ​

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