Virginia Governor Ralph Northam appears to have repressed widespread public demand for his resignation following his blackface scandal.
Two new polls released on Wednesday show that the Democrat should not resign or be ousted for taking a racist picture in his medical school directory, 35 years ago. Most African-American voters are in agreement that he should not go there, according to one of the surveys.
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In a survey by Quinnipiac University, 42% of voters said Northam should resign, but more than 48% said he should not. White voters are divided equally – 46% of those polled say they should resign and the same percentage they should not, but a majority of black voters, 56%, say Northam should not to resign.
Even fewer Virginians say Northam should resign at a second poll held Wednesday by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. In this poll, which interviews Commonwealth adults, only 31% say Northam should resign, compared to 43% who say he should not do it.
Both polls show little support for Northam's indictment. In the Quinnipiac survey, only 26 percent of respondents said Northam should be indicted, while nearly two in three voters, or 65 percent, said it should not. In the Ipsos / U-Va. According to a survey, just 21% of respondents believe that the General Assembly should eliminate Northam, while 56% believe that state legislators should not remove the governor.
The two new polls suggest that Northam's political stance may have stabilized since the survey, which took place a week after the Washington Post / George Mason University scandal, indicated that the Virginians were divided over the governor's resignation.
Northam, elected in 2017, has spent nearly three weeks in damage control mode since the photo was first released on February 1. Initially, the governor apologized for his presence on the photo, which shows a person standing, one next to the other. individual dressed in a Ku Klux Klan dress. But in the 24 hours that followed his first apology, Northam said that he did not think he was one of the two people disguised in the photo and that he did not know how it had appeared on his page from the 1984 class yearbook of Virginia Medical School.
Despite his denial, most Commonwealth and foreign Democrats called for Northam 's resignation. But it remained challenging – partly reinforced by the term of a Virginia-mandated governors' mandate, which prevents it from representing itself, and the scandals surrounding two other Democratic leaders on the scale of State: Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Attorney General of the State, Mark Herring.
"Virginia also needs some strong, empathic, courageous and moral compass," Northam said in an interview with CBS News last week. "And that's why I'm not going anywhere."
More Republicans than Democrats say Northam should resign, according to the two new polls. According to the Quinnipiac poll, 33% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans and 43% of independents feel that Northam should quit, even though Democrats (80%) are more likely than Republicans (62%) to assert that they consider the blackface as racist.
In the Ipsos / U-Va. According to a poll, 20% of Democrats believe that Northam should resign, against 43% of Republicans.
New polls show that the scandal has had a negative impact on Northam's approval ratings, although they have not made any craters. In the Quinnipiac poll, 39% of voters approve of Northam's work, while a little more, 43%, disapprove. In the Ipsos / U-Va. A poll, a majority, 44%, says they do not approve or disapprove of Northam's job performance, compared to 17% who approve and 34% who disagree.
One factor that increases Northam's chances of survival is the continued support of black voters, who represented about 20 percent of voters in his 2017 win against Republican Ed Gillespie. In the Quinnipiac poll, twice as many black voters approve of the work that he does than disapprove of 49% to 24%. About a quarter of black voters in Virginia, 24%, say Northam is racist, but a 63% majority says it's not racist.
Northam's stance was also reinforced by controversies around Fairfax and Herring – the next two men in Virginia's governorship. Two women have accused Fairfax of sexual assault in the past, including Meredith Watson, who spoke in a Washington Post editorial of her call for a public hearing on her allegation that Fairfax raped her while they were students. Duke University in 2000.
Herring, meanwhile, admitted that he also had a blackface at a party in 1980 while attending the University of Virginia – although he called a few days earlier for Northam's resignation.
According to new polls released Wednesday, Fairfax may be the most endangered. A majority of respondents in the Quinnipiac survey say Northam should not resign, and a 54 percent majority believes Herring should remain in office – voters are split on Fairfax: 36 percent believe the lieutenant governor should resign and 36 % that it should not.
In the Ipsos / U-Va. According to a survey, more voters say that Fairfax should resign, or 35%, against 25%. But about a third, 34%, say they are doubtful.
The Quinnipiac University poll took place Feb. 14-18 and surveyed 1,150 registered voters in Virginia by land line and cell phone. The margin of error, including the sizing effect, is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
The Ipsos / U-Va. The survey was conducted online from February 15th to 19th. In this survey, 636 Virginia adults were interviewed, and these results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.