(The Center Square) – Fifty-seven percent of Virginians say they approve of the way Gov. Glenn Youngkin is handling his job as governor – an increase of five points since November – according to a new poll published Thursday from Roanoke College.
The new poll also revealed Youngkin’s disapproval rating is down six points from November, standing at 35%. According to pollsters, the numbers “mark Youngkin’s highest approval rating and lowest unfavorable rating recorded by the Roanoke College Poll during his time in office.”
Speculation has grown over whether Youngkin, a Republican who is a little over a year into his term as governor, is considering a potential presidential run in 2024. The new polling found 34% of Virginians think Youngkin should run for president, while 54% think he should not. Among Republicans polled, 42% think he should seek the Republican nomination for President, which is down 10 points from the previous November poll.
“When we asked Virginia Republicans in our poll who they would most prefer to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024, two candidates stood out among the rest: Trump and DeSantis,” Bryan Parsons, senior political analyst at the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research and the Roanoke College Poll, wrote in an analysis. “The rest of the potential field of candidates received a little over a quarter of the remaining support combined. Although DeSantis has not officially announced his candidacy, this result suggests that he could be a competitive challenger to Trump in the 2024 Republican nomination race.”
The poll revealed a slight shift in President Joe Biden’s approval rating among Virginians, dropping from 41% in November to 38% in the latest poll. The change, however, is within the survey’s statistical margin of error.
On the General Assembly, Virginians’ approval is up four points from a year ago, with 48% approving of the way lawmakers are handling their jobs. The poll found an 11-point partisan gap in approval of the General Assembly, with 57% of Democrats approving and 46% of Republicans approving.
The poll also found the majority of Virginians polled have a favorable view of the direction the state is going. According to polling results, 55% believe the state is headed in the right direction – an eight point increase – and 39% who think things are off track. Pollsters noted a slight partisan gap, with 48% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans believing the state is going in the right direction.
At the national level, just 27% of Virginians believe things are going the right direction, while 69% said they believe “things have gotten off on the wrong track.” There is a 44-point gap in attitudes about whether things are going the right direction among Virginians, with 50% of Democrats and 6% of Republicans thinking things are going in the right direction.
“The story from this poll is that Virginians are more optimistic about the direction things are going in Virginia, though that sentiment does not translate to their feelings about the direction of the country,” Parsons said. “While we see an eight-point increase in the percentage of Virginians who believe things are going in the right direction in Virginia, the poll also shows that Virginians remain pessimistic about the direction of the country with nearly seven in 10 saying they think things are on the wrong track.”
In terms of the most important issues facing Virginia, 46% of those polled said the economy, jobs or inflation are among the most important issues in the commonwealth today.
The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College surveyed 680 adult Virginians between Feb 12 and Feb. 21 for its poll. The survey has a margin of error of 4.23%.