Wason Center poll indicates Virginians like Governor Youngkin, dislike President Biden

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 2:39 PM EST
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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WDBJ/Wason Center Release) - It’s good news for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, but not so good for the United States and President Joe Biden, based on results of a new poll by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University.

Among the highlights of the survey are:

  • A plurality of Virginians think the Commonwealth is headed in the right direction (45% to 37%), while 50% approve of the job Governor Youngkin is doing. Still, Virginians prefer the Governor not run for president (59% to 29%).
  • Virginians are pessimistic about the direction of the country (19% right direction to 73% wrong direction); dissatisfaction is reflected in Biden’s approval rating (38% approve to 57% disapprove)
  • Virginia voters support recreational marijuana sales (60%) and allowing any interested localities to host casinos should their residents approve one in a referendum (55%).
  • Virginia voters strongly support staying in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (66%) and support the Virginia Clean Economy Act (62% to 33%).
  • 41% of Virginians give their local public schools an “A” or “B” grade; only 13% grade national public schools that high.
  • Virginia voters also show support for requiring parental approval for K-12 students to be referred to by a different pronoun from their birth certificate (59% to 36%).
  • Virginians would prefer to keep state abortion laws as is (43%) compared to 29% who would prefer less restrictive laws and 23% who want more restrictive laws on abortion.
  • A plurality of Virginia voters support lowering Virginia’s individual income tax rate (48% to 43%), but Virginians oppose a cut to Virginia’s corporate income tax rate (57% to 37%).

State of things: When asked about the direction of the Commonwealth, 45% say Virginia is headed in the right direction, while 37% say the wrong direction, with 11% are mixed. Views about the right/wrong direction of the Commonwealth have remained relatively consistent over the last four years. Governor Youngkin’s job approval remains steady from nearly a year ago at 50%, while 36% indicate they disapprove and 14% say they don’t know.

Differences are largely along partisan lines, with 67% of Republican voters saying Virginia is heading in the right direction, compared to 23% of Democrats and 47% of Independents. On Governor Youngkin’s job performance, 83% of Republicans approve, while 74% of Democrats disapprove; 54% of Independents signal their approval.

Still, Virginians prefer that the Governor not run for president in 2024. 59% say Governor Youngkin should not run for president in 2024 while 29% say he should. Another 8% are unsure while 5% say they don’t know. A plurality of Republicans (46%) support a presidential run, while 38% of Republicans do not like the prospect. Independents are opposed to a run with 58% saying don’t do it. Democrats, as would be expected, also don’t want to see the Governor visiting New Hampshire, with 82% opposed.

Direction of the country and presidential approval: Virginia voters continue to be pessimistic about the direction of the country. Only 19% of Virginia registered voters say the United States is headed in the right direction, compared to 73% percent who say the wrong direction; 6% are mixed and 2% say they don’t know. President Biden’s job approval numbers reflect this overall discontent, with 38% saying they approve of his job performance, compared to 57% who disapprove; 5% say they don’t know. A year ago, Biden’s approval among Virginia voters stood at 40%.

The results of this poll are based on 1038 interviews of Virginia registered voters, including 231 on landline and 807 on cell phone, conducted January 13-January 23, 2023, according to Wason Poll organizers. Percentages may not equal 100 due to rounding. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/- 3.8% at the 95% level of confidence.