RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new poll has Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s approval rating at 50 percent, a nine-point difference from another survey released last week. But there are key differences between the two polls to consider.

A Roanoke College poll released Monday has 50 percent of Virginians approving of Gov. Youngkin’s time in office and 41 percent disapproving. A Wason Center poll from February had the Republican’s approval rating at 41 percent, and 43 percent disapproving of his first weeks as governor.

The Roanoke College poll was conducted in a smaller window of time and the respondents in both polls varied, with the Wason Center interviewing registered voters and Roanoke College speaking with Virginia residents.

There were differences in how respondents answered when asked about their political leanings. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed for the Roanoke College poll described themselves as liberal, 35 percent identified as moderate and 32 percent said they were conservative.

For the Wason Center poll, 35 percent of respondents identified as liberal or very liberal, 34 percent said they were moderate and 24 considered themselves conservative or very conservative.

In terms of their political party, 33 percent of those surveyed for the Wason Center poll described themselves as a Democrat, 27 percent said Republican and 33 percent said they were an independent.

31 percent of respondents for the Roanoke College poll said they consider themselves a Democrat, 27 percent said Republican and 26 percent described themselves as an independent.

Monday’s poll of 605 adults living in Virginia was conducted by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College from Feb. 7 to Feb. 16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University released its poll of 701 registered voters, conducted from Jan. 26 through Feb. 15, on Feb. 21. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level. 

According to the Roanoke College poll, about 46 percent of Virginians have a favorable view of Youngkin and 42 percent have an unfavorable view of the governor. The survey also shows Virginians split on the direction the commonwealth is headed, but much more pessimistic about the country’s track.

Forty-seven percent of people polled by IPOR at Roanoke College said Virginia is headed in the right direction and 47 percent disagreed. There is a stark difference in Virginians’ outlook for the country, with 67 percent saying they believe things are headed in the wrong direction.

“There is some worry among Virginians about the direction of the Commonwealth, as fewer residents feel that our state is heading in the right direction,” Dr. David Taylor, director of IPOR, said in a statement accompanying the poll.

“While Youngkin maintains a 50% job approval rating and 51% approval of his pandemic handling, a slight majority disapproves of his executive actions that removed mask mandates in schools.”

The Roanoke College poll shows that 46 percent of Virginians strongly or somewhat agree with Youngkin’s push to give parents the decision whether to send their children to school with a mask and 52 percent disagree, with a clear partisan divide on the issue.

Nearly 56 percent of people surveyed by IPOR said “local school districts should set mask requirements for themselves” and 37 percent said, “Gov. Youngkin and the state government should set mask requirements for local school districts.”

The poll also revealed unfavorable ratings for Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, the two other Republicans on the statewide ticket last November, but a large portion of respondents said they did not know enough about them to form an opinion.

Twenty-four percent of respondents had a favorable view of Miyares, compared to 34 percent with an unfavorable stance and 41 percent who said they couldn’t share an opinion, according to the Roanoke College poll.

Earle-Sears has a 30 percent favorable rating, a 33 percent unfavorable rating and 35 percent of people surveyed said they didn’t know enough about her to provide a view.