Jul 28, 2022 - Politics

How Youngkin's approval rating compares to past Virginia governors

Photo illustration of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin with lines radiating from him.
Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Glenn Youngkin's approval rating continues to hover around 50%, according to polling released by VCU's Wilder School this week.

Why it matters: The numbers show Youngkin has remained above water in the court of public opinion even as he's pursued an agenda Democrats have criticized as extreme and divisive.

  • The survey results are consistent with other recent statewide polls.

Yes, but: Youngkin's approval rating is significantly lower than most other Virginia governors at this point in their term.

  • Former Gov. Ralph Northam's approval rating was at 59%.
  • Former Gov. Bob McDonnell was at 64%.
  • And former Gov./current Sen. Tim Kaine was at 77%.

The one exception to the trend was former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, whose polling hovered from 44% to 50%.

What they're saying: University of Mary Washington political scientist Stephen Farnsworth tells Axios the numbers are mostly a reflection of the contentious political environment.

  • "Voters are increasingly drawn to their partisan champions and hostile to the other side," he said. "That's long affected presidential approval ratings, and it increasingly looks to be shaping approval and disapproval of Virginia governors as well."
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