Gov. Glenn Youngkin has a 49% approval rating six months into his tenure according to a new Wilder School Commonwealth poll that found support for his tax relief efforts.
The poll found that 39% disapprove of Youngkin’s job performance.
Tax cuts are likely to be a key part of Youngkin’s stump speech as he extends his out-of-state speaking tour and contemplates a potential presidential run in 2024.
Youngkin recently signed off on a new state budget that includes $4 billion in tax relief.
The survey found that 72% of respondents backed Youngkin’s effort to eliminate the 1.5% state portion of the sales tax on groceries, which the governor estimates will save a family of four $209 a year.
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The General Assembly preserved the 1% portion of the tax that goes directly to local governments to fund public services.
The poll found that 58% of respondents supported Youngkin’s unsuccessful effort to suspend the state gas tax for three months.
Youngkin said the state’s revenue surplus meant Virginia could afford to suspend the tax and give Virginians a break from high gas prices. Democratic leaders said suspending the tax would hurt state transportation funding and that there was no guarantee the savings would be passed on to consumers.
The poll also found that 56% of respondents support Youngkin’s effort to establish lab schools – privately run and publicly funded K-12 schools that Youngkin says will spur innovation in education. The spending plan Youngkin recently signed includes $100 million in seed money for lab schools.
The survey found that 79% of respondents back state efforts to fund the state’s historically Black colleges and universities.
“The responses in the poll suggest what I have always stated: The people are always ahead of the leaders,” said L. Douglas Wilder, who served as governor from 1990 to 1994.
“The grocery tax proposal is very receptive; gas tax suspension and/or stipend is greeted positively, which can be viewed as a direct response to rising inflation.”
Wilder, a Democrat, did not endorse a candidate in the contest for governor, but he joined three former GOP governors serving as advisers to Youngkin, beginning with the transition after his election.
Wilder joined the governor in May as the administration released a report that found “alarming” trends in Virginia’s K-12 performance.
The Wilder School Commonwealth Poll from the VCU Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs surveyed 813 Virginia adults from June 29 to July 9. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points.
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