Today is Glenn Youngkin’s birthday (he’s 56), and the VA GOP celebrated this morning by claiming that Youngkin is “America’s favorite governor.” In fact, according to Morning Consult, Youngkin isn’t even in the top-15 most-popular governors (and this week’s Roanoke College poll had his disapproval rating at 41%, so he’s probably even lower than that now), let alone “America’s favorite governor.”
So how’s Youngkin doing relative to other *Virginia* governors? See below for a graph or approval, disapproval and NET approval ratings for Governors George Allen (WaPo poll from October 1997), Jim Gilmore (WaPo poll from August 2000), Mark Warner (WaPo poll from October 2005), Bob McDonnell (Roanoke College poll from December 2010), Terry McAuliffe (Roanoke College poll from October 2014), Ralph Northam (Roanoke College poll from August 2018) and Glenn Youngkin (Roanoke College poll from this week). Note that I tried to grab polls, where possible, at about the same point in the governors’ terms of office, but in the cases of the pre-McDonnell governors, I couldn’t find anything exactly comparable, so I used the WaPo polls from whenever they were available.
Anyway…as you can see, Glenn Youngkin actually has the LOWEST net approval rating (+11%) at this point in their terms of any Virginia governor, at least since 1997. In stark contrast, Ralph Northam was at +36% at a similar point in his governorship, Bob McDonnell was at +32%, and Terry McAuliffe was at +15%. Earlier governors were much higher, albeit at later points in their terms, with Mark Warner at an incredible +63% approval, Tim Kaine at +58% approval, Jim Gilmore at +50% approval and George Allen at +39% approval. So, clearly, it’s getting tougher to have a high net approval rating, but still, Ralph Northam managed a +36% net approval rating in August 2018, which isn’t that long ago. Also note that Youngkin has the highest disapproval rating, at 41%, by far, of the previous three governors (Northam, McAuliffe, McDonnell) at this point in their governorships. Clearly, Youngkin’s right-wing policies and campaigning for extremists like Kari Lake and Paul LePage have not helped in that regard, but still, it’s striking to see Youngkin’s disapproval rating (41%) a whopping 15 points higher at this point in their respective terms than McDonnell (26%), McAuliffe (26%) and Northam (18%).