Poll: Northam approval sinks but only 1 in 3 want resignation

Less than 20 percent of Virginia adults surveyed in a new poll released Wednesday approve of Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) job performance, but only 1 in 3 want him to resign.

University of Virginia Center for Politics/Ipsos poll found that 17 percent of those surveyed approve of Northam's job performance in the wake of a blackface scandal, with 34 percent disapproving and 44 percent saying they neither approved nor disapproved.

Despite those sinking approval numbers, 31 percent of respondents said Northam should resign, compared to 43 percent who said he should not. Twenty-one percent were unsure and 5 percent did not answer.

The poll found 21 percent of the Virginia adults surveyed believe the governor should be impeached, with 56 percent saying he should not be impeached.

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Northam has resisted calls to resign from state and national Democrats since a photo emerged earlier this month from Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page showing two individuals, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

The governor initially apologized for appearing in the photo, but later insisted he was not in the image. He did acknowledge that he once wore blackface to dress up like Michael Jackson.

The state's two other top elected Democrats — Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) — have also been mired in scandal in recent weeks.

Two women have accused Fairfax of sexual assault, prompting calls for his resignation. The lieutenant governor, who is black, has denied the allegations and called for an investigation into the claims.

Wednesday's poll found 35 percent of respondents said Fairfax should resign, and 25 percent said he should not. Another 34 percent said they weren't sure.

Only 8 percent of black respondents said Fairfax should step down, and 29 percent of black respondents said he should not.

Herring, who also admitted earlier this month to wearing blackface as part of a costume in college, has the lowest percentage of people calling on him to resign, according to the poll. Nineteen percent of those surveyed said he should step down.

The poll surveyed 636 Virginia residents from Feb. 15-19 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.