A month after his term expires, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkina approves the work ambiguously, while support for his signature policy proposals is low, a poll shows.
A month after his term expires, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkina approves the work ambiguously, while support for his policy proposals is low.
Such are the findings of the yearbook Poll on the state of the Commonwealthconducted by the Weyson Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher University of Newport.
Estimates of Yangkin’s approval and respondents’ views on the direction of the commonwealth are confusing: 41% of respondents said they approved of Yankin’s work, 43% disapproved, and 16% said they did not know. The differences were fairly well divided between party lines: 80% of Republican voters said Virginia was moving in the right direction, compared to 22% of Democrats and 45% of independents.
“In this highly polarized environment, we see guerrillas running around corners as they view the direction of the Commonwealth and the work of the governor,” Quentin Kidd, scientific director of the Weyson Center, said in a statement accompanying the poll. “Youngkin’s approval figures are certainly lower than the last governors in the Wason Center polls at the beginning of his term.”
But Yangkin is doing much better than President Joe Biden: only 22% of voters said the country is moving in the right direction and 67% in the wrong direction. This is coupled with 40% approving vacancies, with 57% saying they disapprove of the president’s job. The Wason Center said a year ago Biden’s rating in Virginia was 57%. In 2020, he received 54% of the vote in Virginia.
Problems in Virginia
Youngkin the first two orders – both were issued on the first day of his tenure – provided for a ban on Virginia schools, as he called it, “separating” concepts, including critical racial theory, as well as ban masked mandates by local school boards. (The latter is in court, but in the meantime the General Assembly has banned a bill signed by Youngkin last week.)
Both initiatives are opposed by a strong majority of Virginians in the Wason Center poll.
Although critical theory of race is not taught in Virginia’s K-12 schools, conservatives have used the term to describe a doctrine of race that they believe causes inconvenience to white children and parents. In a Wason Center poll, Virginia voters support “teaching about how racism continues to affect American society today” from 63% (36% strongly support it, 27% support it) to 33% (18% strongly oppose, 15% oppose).
Even when respondents accepted the phrase “critical racial theory,” 57% of respondents were against banning the theory (including 36% of the strong opposition) against 35% who supported it (21% strongly).
While Youngkin called the ban on masks in schools a victory for parental rights, 56% of Virginia respondents said decisions about school masks should be determined by “health data and information from health experts” and not parents, with a gap of 56% to 41%.
As for the mandates of the vaccine, the results are more mixed. Most support them for the military, teachers, health workers and members of Congress, while they oppose mandates for high school and elementary school students – the latter substantially. The number of high school and college students, federal and government employees and contractors is about the same.
Virginia’s Clean Economy Act, which requires Virginia’s electricity companies to produce 100% of their electricity from renewables by 2050, was passed and signed by Yangin’s predecessor Ralph North in 2020. Yangkin has proposed repealing it, but two-thirds of those polled support the law, and the same number support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a restriction and trade program that Yangkin also wants to complete.
Restrictions on abortion proposed by Yangkin’s Republicans in the General Assembly were also not appreciated by voters: a majority opposes a 24-hour waiting period, while a strong majority opposes a demand for ultrasound and a six-week ban on abortion.
The vast majority of voters approve of Yangkin’s proposal to place a police officer or a resource officer in each public school (70% to 25%).
About 47% of respondents support Yangkin’s proposal to abolish the 2.5% food tax, while 25% want the tax credit for low-income residents to be offset, and 24% say the tax should stay in place. And about 59% say the state budget surplus should be spent on underfunded public services, while 38% say it should be returned to Virginia residents in the form of tax cuts or rebates.
The Wason Center polled 701 registered Virginia voters between Jan. 26 and Feb. 15. The tolerance of error is plus or minus 4.2% at 95% confidence level. “This means that if 50% of respondents point to a question, we can be 95% sure that public opinion on this issue is somewhere between 54.2% and 45.8%,” – said the Wason Center.
The results are weighted by region, age, race, gender and education, “to accurately reflect the demographic composition of registered voters in Virginia,” the center said in a statement.
“This poll is bad news for the new governor,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science and international relations and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at Mary Washington University. “And I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the way he is running largely responds to the concerns of more conservative Virginia residents rather than trying to negotiate with Democrats on many issues that are not being addressed. there ”.
“I think it’s important to recognize that the loudest voices in Virginia politics, as in national politics, don’t always represent the majority,” Farnsworth added. “There is much more support for teaching critical race theory and a cautious approach to COVID among Virginia residents in general than if you listen to the loudest voices in school board meetings.”
“Trouble in office is very different from governance,” Farnsworth added, and for a political novice like Youngkin, the gap between the public and private sectors may also require study. although voters like to imagine that a businessman will be good in government. ”
Farnsworth added that the numbers for Biden were also a bad sign. “I think one of the things that follows from the fact that we have entered the third year of the pandemic is that many voters are very angry because of many things. And it will mainly affect the current leaders, wherever they are. “