State Watch

Poll: Two months after blackface revelation, most Virginians want Northam to stay

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Two months after a blackface scandal led to calls for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) resignation, a majority of Virginians say he should remain in office, according to a new poll from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy.

Since the revelation of a racist image on his medical school yearbook page earlier this year, Northam’s approval rating has taken a hit of about 19 points.

His approval number is now 40 percent, which makes him less popular in the state than President Trump, who has an approval rating of 44 percent among Virginians, according to the Wason Center.

{mosads}Despite the blow to his approval, 52 percent of Virginians said Northam should not resign compared to 42 percent who said he should. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats said he should resign.

A plurality of respondents also said Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who has been accused of sexual assault by two women, should stay in office. Of 665 voters who were aware of the allegations against Fairfax, 45 percent said he should remain in office compared to 42 percent who said he should resign. Fairfax’s job disapproval increased more than 20 points, from 13 percent to 39 percent, according to the survey.

State Attorney General Mark Herring (D) also revealed earlier this year he had attended a party in blackface in college, but appeared less damaged by the revelations. Sixty-four percent of voters said he should stay in office compared to 28 who said he should resign. Herring’s disapproval rose from 17 percent to 28 percent but saw a more dramatic increase among African-Americans, from 9 percent in December to 18 percent in the survey, and women, from 15 percent to 29 percent.

Democrats also hold an advantage in the generic ballot, 43 percent to 39 percent, for fall’s elections, during which control of both the state senate and the House of Delegate will be up for grabs.

Pollsters surveyed 1,067 registered voters from March 11 to March 31, with a three-point margin of error.

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