Virginia poll: Governor Youngkin, you’re doing a good job, but don’t run for president

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 11:24 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/Roanoke College Poll Release) - Governor Youngkin’s approval rate in Virginia is on the upswing, according to results of a new Roanoke College poll, while about a third of Virginians agree with the US Supreme Court’s overturning Roe vs. Wade.

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s approval rating has increased slightly to 55% (from 53% in May), while disapproval remains at 35%, according to the poll. Approval within his party is at 86%, up from 75% in June. Approval for Democratic President Joe Biden has increased slightly, as well, up to 39% from an all-time low Roanoke College Poll rating of 37% in June.

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

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

In an early matchup for the Republican primary for president, the poll found, 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 for whom they would vote.

Abortion and the Supreme Court

Prior to the United States Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the poll found in May that 35% of Virginians felt abortion should be legal under any circumstance, 53% felt it should be legal under certain circumstances, and 11% believed abortion should be totally illegal. This month, after the court’s decision, 40% of respondents in Virginia feel abortion should be legal under all circumstances, 48% believe it should be legal under some circumstances, and 10% favor a total ban on abortion.

The poll also found 35% of Virginians agree with the court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision (up from 32% in May, when the poll asked about the released early draft) and 60% disagree (up from 57% in May). The change comes primarily among respondents who had unsure or mixed feelings in May, along with an increase in Republicans (57% agree with the decision now compared to 46% in May) agreeing with the decision.

Russia and Ukraine

With the ongoing war in Ukraine, 73% of respondents continue to follow the news very or somewhat closely, down slightly from 76% in May, according to the poll. Slightly fewer Republicans (70%) than Democrats (80%) follow the war that closely. Nearly the same percentage (64% now, 66% in May) believe the worst is still yet to come. Democratic opinion 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 the United States should offer more support to Ukraine, but not at the risk of our country getting into a war with Russia. Fewer, 36%, said the U.S. is already doing enough to support Ukraine, while ever fewer, 17%, said 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.

Analysis

“The main ‘good news’ in this poll is that sentiment toward government officials and their job approval is up,” says Dr. David Taylor, director of IPOR and the Roanoke College Poll. “The country may now be moving in a more positive direction based on what respondents say, even though people are still not happy.”

“While the Republican primary in Virginia for president is well over a year away, an early matchup between Governor Youngkin and former President Trump would be a landslide victory for Trump if Republicans in Virginia voted today. And just shy of a majority of the state’s Republicans even think that he should run. The Roanoke College Poll will continue to ask residents about Youngkin’s national presence and potential run in future polls.”

“Only the country’s Supreme Court saw an increase in unfavorability among Virginians, not surprising given the June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Almost nine in 10 Virginians believe that abortion should be legal under some or all circumstances, which has not changed in the last three months. Two-thirds of Democrats say that abortion should be legal under all circumstances and left to be a personal decision, and just nearly two in 10 Republicans favor an outright ban.”

“Slightly fewer Virginians are paying attention to the ongoing war in the Ukraine according to our findings. As the war is about to enter its fifth month, just about three-quarters of us feel that the worst is still yet to come.”

Methodology

Interviewing for The Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem between Aug. 7 and Aug. 16, 2022. , according to poll organizers. Telephone interviews conducted in English comprised 401 of the respondents, and 239 responses were drawn from a proprietary online panel of Virginians. The landline sample consisted of random-digit numbers generated in proportion to the Virginia population, so all residential telephone numbers, including unlisted numbers, had a known chance of inclusion. Cellphone samples were purchased from Marketing Systems Group and comprised 54% of the completed telephone interviews. Lucid, LLC, facilitated the online panel.

A copy of the questionnaire, topline and crosstabs may be found here.