Virginians’ approval of Gov. Glenn Youngkin and President Joe Biden remains about the same from the most recent poll in May, with 51% of Virginians approving of the way Youngkin is handling his job as governor and 40% approving of the way Biden is handling his job as president, a new poll released Tuesday by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College found.
In the May survey, Youngkin also polled at 51%, which at the time was a drop of six points from February. Biden previously polled at 42%.
The percentage of Virginians who believe things are generally on the wrong track in Virginia and the nation also remains stable from the last poll, with 44% reporting that Virginia is on the wrong track and 73% reporting the same for the nation.
As for the legislatures at the state and national levels, 44% of Virginians approve of the way the Virginia General Assembly is handling its job — a drop of about six points since the previous poll in May. Virginians’ approval of Congress is even lower at 18%.
Since the legislature adjourned its regular 2023 session at the end of February, budget conferees have been deadlocked over amendments to the state’s biennial budget and just Friday reached a deal. At the focal point of the impasse was about $1 billion in additional tax relief legislation that Youngkin had asked for.
With all seats up for grabs in the General Assembly this November, approximately 55% of Virginians say they are at least somewhat closely following the legislative elections coming up this November.
Virginians’ favorability ratings for key political figures such as Youngkin, Biden and former President Donald Trump also remain stable compared with the previous poll. About 48% report a favorable impression of Youngkin while 41% report an unfavorable impression.
At the national level, 43% and 30% of Virginians report favorable impressions of Biden and Trump, respectively, while 53% and 65% report unfavorable impressions.
“Virginians’ attitudes about the direction of Virginia and the country remain mixed yet stable,” said Bryan Parsons, senior political analyst at the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. “This is also true in their approval and favorability ratings for political figures like Youngkin, Biden and Trump. With that said, partisanship continues to shape the way Virginians evaluate key political figures and events.”
The percentage of Virginians who reported hearing or reading a lot or some about the four indictments of Trump was 82% in the case involving allegations about classified documents, 77% in the case involving allegations about hush money payments, and 84% in the federal case involving allegations about the 2020 presidential election.
For each of these cases, the poll asked Virginians whether they think Trump did something illegal, did something unethical but not illegal, or did nothing wrong. A majority of Virginians reported that they think Trump did something illegal in the cases involving classified documents (54%) and the 2020 election (51%), while about a third reported that they think he did something illegal in the case involving hush money payments (34%).
“Virginians are split in their opinions of Trump’s indictments,” said Parsons, the senior political analyst at the institute.
“While a majority believes he has done something illegal in the cases involving allegations about classified documents and the 2020 presidential election, nearly a third believe he has either done nothing wrong or has done something unethical but not wrong in those cases. Only a third of Virginians believe he did something illegal in the case involving hush money payments,” Parsons said.
Despite his legal challenges, Trump maintains a commanding lead of 47% as the first choice among self-reported Virginia Republicans, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 13% and the rest of the candidates in single digits. While Trump’s level of support remains about the same as in the previous poll, the percentage of Republicans reporting DeSantis as their first choice has dropped by 15% since the last poll in May.
Although Youngkin has not entered the race, the poll also included him in the list of candidates again. The survey found that 14% of Virginians reported Youngkin as their second-choice candidate for the Republican nomination, coming in fourth after DeSantis (19%), Trump (17%) and Ramaswamy (17%).
For its latest poll, the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College interviewed 702 adult residents of Virginia between Aug. 6 and Aug. 15. The survey has a margin of error of 4.2%.