Poll results show Virginians approve of Gov. Youngkin’s leadership, don’t want him to run for President

Results of a Roanoke College poll break down Virginians’ view on certain areas of politics

SALEM, Va. – Virginians’ approval rate of Governor Glenn Youngkin is increasing, according to results of a new Roanoke College poll, but an overwhelming amount want him to remain in Richmond and not Washington D.C.

The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College interviewed 640 adult residents of Virginia between Aug. 7 and Aug. 16 in the latest Roanoke College Poll addressing topics such as the war in Ukraine, abortion, Youngkin’s national spotlight, and general feelings about current and former elected officials. The survey has a margin of error of 4.5%.

Approvals, Favorable/Unfavorable, Direction of Virginia, Country

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s approval rating has increased slightly to 55% from 53% in May while disapproval remains at 35%.

That slight increase comes from Republican sentiment, as approval among his party is now at 86%, up from 75% in June.

Approval for President Biden has increased slightly as well, up to 39% from an all-time low Roanoke College Poll rating of 37% in June.

For the first time in the poll, a 51% of Virginias have a favorable view of Governor Youngkin, while 37% continue to have an unfavorable view. His rating is up slightly among Democrats and Independents.

Former Governor Northam’s favorability also increased from 34% to 41%, showing that Virginians now have a more favorable view of the executive branch of our Commonwealth.

President Biden saw a slight increase of 41% compared to 38% in May in favorable views and a minimal decline in unfavorability of 55% compared to 56% in May.

Former President Trump also saw a similar increase in favorability of 37%, up from 34%, and a decrease in unfavorable views of 58%, down from 59%. Political parties did not seem to play a large role in those changes.

When asked about the country, 25% of respondents said that things are going in the right direction, up from only 21% in May; 72% replied that things have gotten off on the wrong track, down from 77%. Regarding the Commonwealth, 51% say that we are heading in the right direction, while 45% say we’re going in the wrong direction, relatively unchanged since May.

Abortion and the Supreme Court

Before the United States Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, they found in May, that 35% of Virginians felt that abortion should be legal under any circumstance, 53% felt it should be legal under certain circumstances, and only 11% believed abortion should be totally illegal.

In August, after the court’s decision, 40% of respondents in Virginia feel that abortion should be legal under all circumstances, 48% believe it should be legal under some circumstances, and just 10% favor a total abortion ban.

Findings showed that 35% of Virginians agree with the court’s decision to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision, up from 32% in May and 60% disagree, up from 57% in May. The change comes primarily among respondents that had unsure or mixed feelings back in May, along with an increase in Republicans, 57% agree with the decision now compared to 46% in May.

Only 37% of residents in the Commonwealth have a favorable view of the Supreme Court, down from 46% in May.

53% now have an unfavorable view.

Most of this change comes from the Democratic Party, where 42% had a favorable view in May and 26% have a favorable view now; Independents also view the court less favorably now compared to May.

Governor Youngkin and the National Spotlight

For the first time, the Roanoke College Poll asked Virginians’ opinions about Governor Youngkin and the national spotlight.

With speculation in the news that Youngkin may run for president in 2024, they found that only 36% of Virginians think he should run while 54% do not. Among Republicans, just 49% feel that he should seek the party’s nomination for president.

In an early matchup for the Republican primary for president, we found that, among Republicans, 28% would vote for Youngkin, 62% would vote for former President Trump, and 9% would vote for someone else or aren’t sure whom they would vote for.

Russia and Ukraine

With the ongoing war in Ukraine now approaching its fifth month, 73% continue to follow the news either very or somewhat closely, down slightly from 76% in May. 70% of Republicans and 80% of Democrats follow the war that closely.

Nearly the same percentage, 64% now, 66% in May, believe that the worst is still yet to come. Democratic opinion on this is nearly unchanged from May, but now only 58% of Republicans think the worst is in the future compared to 70% in May.

45% of respondents said that the United States should offer more support to Ukraine, but not at the risk of our country getting into a war with Russia. Fewer, at 36%, said that the U.S. is already doing enough to support Ukraine, while ever fewer, 17%, said that we should offer more support even if it risks getting our country into a war with Russia. These numbers are relatively unchanged from May, even when party lines are considered.


About the Author

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.

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