Political polarization is alive and well in Virginia, according to a Roanoke College poll released Tuesday.
Roanoke’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research surveyed 702 adults in Virginia about state and national politics between Aug. 6 and 15.
“The takeaway from this poll is that partisanship continues to shape Virginians’ views on everything from the direction of Virginia and the country to positions on key issues in public policy,” Bryan Parsons, senior political analyst with the institute, said in a statement. “Our poll provides more evidence of the depths of polarization in American politics.”
The poll found 51% approved of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, rougly the same percentage since the institute’s poll in May. Meanwhile, 44% approved of the state legislature’s job performance, a six-point drop since the poll in spring.
The General Assembly isn’t in session, but legislators still garnered plenty of headlines this summer as budget negotiations dragged into late August. After months of clashes over tax cuts, budget conferees announced last week they had finally reached a deal on a series of budget amendments.
The poll further surveyed participants about public policy issues, including abortion and climate change.
The majority of those surveyed were concerned about climate change: 74% consider it to be a “great deal” or “some threat” to the country’s well-being, while 64% think it is having at least some effect on their local community.
The poll found about 86% of Virginians think abortion should be legal in at least some cases. Since the institute’s last poll on abortion in November, the percentage who believed it should be legal in some cases is up five points, while the percentage who believe it should be legal in all cases is down by six points.
The debate over abortion in Virginia heated up after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Regarding national politics, 43% and 30% of Virginians report favorable impressions of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, respectively.
“As we have reported before, there are substantial partisan gaps in Virginians’ attitudes, including 47- and 54-point gaps in Youngkin’s approval and favorability ratings, 70- and 75-point gaps in Biden’s approval and favorability ratings, and a 67-point gap in Trump’s favorability rating,” said Parsons.
The institute also asked self-reported Republicans for their views on Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott. Youngkin was also included although he hasn’t entered the race.
Trump took the lead with 47% selecting him as their first choice, followed by DeSantis at 13% and the rest of the candidates in the single digits.
Additionally, those surveyed were asked about Trump’s indictments.
A majority of Virginians said they think Trump did something illegal in the cases involving classified documents (54%) and in the 2020 election (51%), while 34% think he did something illegal in the case involving hush money payments.
“There are substantial differences between Democrats and Republicans in these responses, including 70- and 72-point gaps in beliefs about whether Trump did something illegal in the classified documents and 2020 election cases, respectively,” Parsons said.
The poll was funded by Roanoke College as a public service.
Quotas were used to ensure that different regions of the state were proportionately represented. The data were statistically weighted for gender, race and age.
Katie King, firstname.lastname@example.org