Roanoke College poll highlights division on COVID, mask policies and political spectrum
ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke College has released new polls highlighting Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration as well as a partisan divide among Virginians that appears to remain strong.
The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College surveyed 605 adults in Virginia between February 7 and February 16, 2022, who asked residents to comment on Governor Youngkin’s recent executive actions, sentiments regarding personal freedom in relation to health and safety, COVID vaccination, and general feeling about current and former elected officials.
Governor Youngkin took office nearly two months ago and poll results show his approval rating is 50%, while 41% disapprove. Respondents say Youngkin’s approval rating is close to former Gov. Ralph Northam’s approval ratings for 2021 (52% in August, 47% in May and 49% in February).
Nationally, President Joe Biden’s approval is at a total of 41% with 53% disapproval since he took office.
The poll indicated that the majority of Virginians (72%) believe that Congress is not doing a good enough job while 21% approve of their work.
Regarding the Virginia General Assembly. 44% approve and 37% disapprove of their work.
About 46% of Virginians have a favorable rating from Governor Youngkin, while 42% indicate an unfavorable opinion. Lt. Governor Winsome Sears holds a 30% favorable rating while 33% gave an unfavorable rating. A total of 41 percent said they had no opinion one way or another.
The poll results show President Biden with a 43% favorable rating and a 52% unfavorable rating, marking the first time in the Roanoke College poll where a majority of Virginians have an unfavorable view of Biden. Former President Donald Trump has a 37% favorable rating and a 56% unfavorable rating, according to polls.
As to whether or not Virginia is headed in the right direction, 29% of respondents say Virginia is headed in the right direction, while 67% say Virginia is on the wrong track.
Masks, vaccination requirements, personal freedom, executive orders
Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order (EO) which allows parents to be able to decide whether or not their children should wear a mask in schools, the poll indicated that 46% of Virginians strongly or somewhat agreed with the EO while that 52% disagreed. Breaking that down by political party, 82% of Republicans approve of EO, 21% of Democrats approve, and 41% of Independents approve.
When it comes to mask mandates set by school districts or the Commonwealth, about 56% of respondents say local school districts should set mask requirements or their respective schools while 37% say Governor Youngkin and the government government should set mask requirements for schools.
Regarding a vaccination mandate for all state employees, 51% strongly or somewhat agree with the idea and 46% strongly or somewhat disagree. By political party, 84% of Republicans and 23% of Democrats had some degree of agreement.
Respondents were asked to place themselves on a scale with personal freedom on one side and health and safety on the other. About 38% expressed some degree of balance towards personal freedom, while 37% were more in favor of health and safety.
Just over three-quarters of Virginians surveyed say they are fully vaccinated or awaiting their second dose against COVID-19 (77%) while only three percent say they plan to get vaccinated soon. These figures remain virtually unchanged from the last survey in September (78% fully or partially vaccinated and 2% planning to get vaccinated soon). The number of adults surveyed who say they do not get vaccinated has increased slightly (18% today, 13% in November and 11% in September).
Regarding the number of fully immunized adults, 61% report having received a third dose (an increase from 24% in November), 23% plan to get vaccinated soon and 16% do not plan to receive one another one. dose (compared to 22% in November).
Results for being fully vaccinated continue to differ significantly when political party is taken into account. A total of 89% of Democrats report full or partial vaccination, and only 5% do not plan to get vaccinated. Republican figures indicate that 67% plan to get vaccinated while 28% do not. As for recalls, 89% of Democrats have or plan to get another dose, and only 10% don’t plan to. Republicans surveyed say 82% plan to get another dose, while 18% don’t.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.8%.