RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia voters are split on Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) after his first year in office, a new poll shows.
They don’t want him running for president in 2024, oppose his push to restrict abortion and end the state’s environmental initiatives, according to Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University poll released Friday.
But half of the registered voters in Virginia approve of Youngkin’s job performance as governor, the poll found, compared to 57% who said they disapprove of President Joe Biden’s. Despite that difference, 59% of Virginia voters prefer Youngkin stay out of the 2024 presidential race.
“Virginians give Governor Youngkin solid marks as he enters his second year in office,” Dr. Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, research director at the Wason Center, said in a statement. “Conversely, they see the nation as headed in the wrong direction and continue to be displeased with the president.”
According to the Wason Center, 31% of the 1,038 voters polled identified as a Republican and 32% said they were a Democrat.
The partisan divide on Youngkin, who was sworn in on Jan. 15, 2022 — is clear. His approval rating among Republican voters was 83% in the poll, compared with 74% of Democrats who said they disapprove of how he has handled his job.
“Governor Youngkin’s approval ratings are significantly outperforming President Biden’s because he’s delivered on his promises,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement. “With $4 billion in tax relief for Virginians, the largest K-12 education budget in Virginia’s history and key efforts like Operation Bold Blue Line to keep our communities safe – the governor has brought people together around commonsense solutions and delivered results.”
Most Virginians, 66% of those polled, want to remain in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program that Youngkin wants to withdraw Virginia from that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The Wason Center poll found that 41% of voters would give either an “A” or “B” grade to their communities’ public schools — 11% would give an “A” and 30% would give a “B.” When asked the same question about public schools in the nation, only 13% would give an “A” or “B” grade.
According to the poll, 59% of voters back requiring schools to get a parent’s approval before calling students by their preferred pronoun, a Youngkin proposal, and more voters than not back his push to lower the income tax rate.
But 57% of voters are against Youngkin’s proposal to cut the corporate income tax rate, according to the poll.
On abortion, 43% of Virginia voters want to keep the laws in place, with 29% backing fewer restrictions and 23% wanting tighter rules on the procedure. Youngkin’s administration decried Senate Democrats Thursday who voted down three different Republican abortion restriction bills.
Sixty percent of Virginia voters also want recreational marijuana sales to begin, a process that has not started despite lawmakers passing a law decriminalizing possession of up to an ounce and allowing people to grow up to four plants in their homes.
Youngkin has not committed to approving legislation even if Republicans and Democrats come to a compromise on a retail cannabis market.
The poll of 1,038 registered Virginia voters, conducted over the phone from Jan. 13-Jan. 23, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.