Northam’s approval rating climbs

Northam’s approval rating climbs
In a video statement earlier this year, Gov. Ralph Northam said he is "committed" to working through the rest of his term.

Gov. Ralph Northam began the year as a massive liability for Democrats, nearly all of whom called for his resignation following the discovery of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook.

With a pivotal General Assembly election just over a month away, he’s looking less and less like a problem for the party.

The most recent public opinion poll of Virginia residents, conducted by the University of Mary Washington, put his approval rating at 47 percent – not too far from the 55 percent the survey found when they asked voters the same question pre-scandal back in September 2018.

“He’s most of the way back to where he was,” says Stephen J. Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington and director of its Center for Leadership and Media Studies.

In the immediate aftermath of the scandal, polls put Northam’s approval rating at anywhere from 17 to 32 percent. In June and August, separate polls by Virginia Commonwealth University and Roanoke College both measured his approval rating at 37 percent.