Governor Youngkin’s approval at 50%, President Biden at 41%, according to Roanoke College Poll

(NBC12)
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 10:03 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/Roanoke College Release) - Almost two months into his term as governor of Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin registers a 50% approval rating, while 41% of registered voters disapprove, according to a new poll by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College.

For the poll, 605 adult residents of Virginia were interviewed between Feb. 7 and Feb. 16, 2022 in a survey addressing topics such as recent executive actions by Youngkin, feelings about personal freedom versus health and safety, COVID vaccination and general feelings about current and former elected officials. The survey has a margin of error of 4.8%, according to poll officials.

According to the poll, while the percentage of Virginians who disapprove of the way Youngkin is handling his job is larger than disapprovals for former Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (38% disapprove in August 2021), Youngkin’s approval rating hovers near Northam’s approval ratings for 2021 (52% in August, 47% in May, 49% in February).

Approval of President Joe Biden’s job is at a low, 41% with 53% disapproving, since he took office, according to the Roanoke College Poll. Disapproval of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job remains high, at 72% with only 21% approving. That for the Virginia General Assembly is 44% approving, with 37% disapproving, similar to results when last asked in August of 2021.

On the day of his inauguration, Gov. Youngkin’s second executive order aimed to place the decision about mask-wearing in schools in the hands of students’ parents. The poll indicates 46% of Virginians strongly or somewhat agree with this executive order while 52% disagree. Approval is high (82%) among Republicans but lower among Democrats (21%) and Independents (41%).

The poll asked respondents whether school districts or the Commonwealth should be setting mask mandates. About 56% of Virginians say “local school districts should set mask requirements for themselves” as opposed to 37% saying “Gov. Youngkin and the state government should set mask requirements for local school districts.” Preference for local school districts setting mandates was among the lowest partisan divide in the poll, with 45% of Republicans and 61% of Democrats preferring school district choice.

“There is some worry among Virginians about the direction of the Commonwealth, as fewer residents feel that our state is heading in the right direction,” said Dr. David Taylor, director of IPOR. “While Youngkin maintains a 50% job approval rating and 51% approval of his pandemic handling, a slight majority disapproves of his executive actions that removed mask mandates in schools. By an almost 20-point margin, Virginians believe the authority to set mask mandates should be left with the school districts themselves and not with the Governor’s office or state. In most cases, opinions of Virginians are more extreme when combined with a respondent’s political party, but even almost a majority (45%) of Republicans favor local school districts setting policy.”

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