State Watch

Youngkin underwater on handling of coronavirus in Virginia: PPP poll

A new poll from the left-leaning firm Public Policy Polling shows new Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s approval rating on the coronavirus pandemic is underwater. 

The survey, which was first seen by The Hill, found that 44 percent of Virginia voters polled said they approved of Youngkin’s handling of the pandemic, while 47 percent said they disapproved. 

The poll was conducted on behalf of the Coronavirus War Room, which is a project of the left-leaning Protect Our Care. 

The findings come roughly two weeks after Youngkin formally took office.

The new governor has already faced backlash from his critics on the left, particularly for his actions regarding mask mandates in schools. Youngkin issued 11 executive orders after taking office earlier this month, including one that makes wearing masks optional in schools. Youngkin and his supporters argue the move empowers students and parents, but seven school boards are challenging the move. 

The school boards of Alexandria City, Arlington County, Richmond City, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Hampton City and Prince William County filed a lawsuit with the Circuit Court for the County of Arlington earlier this week, arguing Youngkin’s executive order was unconstitutional. 

The Coronavirus War Room director Nicole Haley accused Youngkin and Republicans of playing politics with the moves in a statement to The Hill. 

“The more Virginians hear about Governor Glenn Youngkin weakening protections against COVID, the more the backlash against it grows,” Haley said. “From ending vaccine requirements to his ‘masks off’ order, Governor Youngkin is already losing support as a result of his anti-science policies that prolong the pandemic.”

Youngkin defended the move in a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday. 

“My executive order ensures that parents can opt-out their kids from a school’s mask mandate,” the governor wrote. “It bans neither the wearing of masks nor the issuing of mask mandates. Parents can now choose whether wearing a mask at school is right for their child.”

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the Public Policy Polling survey said they believed “local school districts should set mask requirements for themselves,” while 31 percent said they believed Youngkin “should set mask requirements for local school districts.”

The poll also found that only 40 percent of voters said they agreed with the decision to remove the mask requirement from schools, while 55 percent said they disagreed. When asked whether they agreed with Youngkin’s executive order to remove the vaccine requirement for state employees, 44 percent said they agreed and 52 percent said they disagreed. 

The Public Policy Polling survey was conducted Jan. 25-26 among 681 Virginia voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. 

Tags Glenn Youngkin public opinion poll school mask mandates Virginia

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