Poll Finds Steady Support for Northam, Drop for a Democrat-Controlled General Assembly

Jun 26, 2019

The black face scandal hasn’t hurt Governor Ralph Northam’s job approval, according to a recent poll.

Governor Ralph Northam’s job approval has dipped a bit, according to a new poll from the Center for Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. 

But statistically, it’s held almost steady around 40 percent since a December poll, despite Northam’s fumbling around a racist yearbook photo and statements about abortion.

Credit NPR

Polling Director Farah Stone says a strategy of “keep your head down” may have worked.  "And, I think he has pivoted to other important topics," Stone adds.  "So he’s called a special session that’s coming up here in July.  He’s showing that he’s working on other things that are important to people here as well.  So I think 'head down and pivot' is probably a good strategy."

The poll found minorities were more likely to approve of Northam’s work on the job.

It also found women more likely than men to approve of Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax’s job performance.  Fairfax is fighting two allegations of sexual assault.

And as the campaign season gets ready to heat up in the Commonwealth, fewer Virginians are favoring Democratic control of the General Assembly.

The poll found support for a Democrat-controlled General Assembly dropped nine points compared to polling last summer.  Stone said there was also an increase in respondents who were undecided.  "So overall, I think the public is really kind of questioning what they think should be the outlook going forward and who should be in control.  So I think it’s up for grabs," Stone adds. 

That could become important going into the November elections when every seat in the House of Delegates and State Senate will be up for election.  Republicans currently hold slim majorities in both the House and Senate.  Democrats are hoping to win enough seats to flip control of both chambers.

Click here for more detailed results