New Polling Finds Youngkin “Already Underwater”
Richmond, VA —This week Governor Youngkin doubled down on policies not popular with Virginians. From the removal of masks in schools, to asking people to report teachers to a hotline, the Governor continued to push his far-right agenda–prompting the release of a Public Policy Polling poll showing the “Governor’s approval is already underwater (44-47).” It’s clear Virginians have quickly shown strong opposition to Governor Youngkin’s far-right agenda.
See below what Virginians are reading:
The survey, which was first seen by The Hill, found that 44 percent of Virginia voters said they approved of Youngkin's handling of the poll, while 47 percent said they disapproved.
The poll also found that only 40 percent of voters said they agreed with the decision to remove the mask requirement from schools, while 55 percent said they disagreed.
When asked whether they agreed with Youngkin's executive order to remove the vaccine requirement for state employees, 44 percent said they agreed and 52 percent said they disagreed.
But a teachers union, Democrats in the General Assembly, some parents and other observers criticized the move as divisive, authoritarian and unfairly targeting educators.
The email address, or tipline as it's been referred to, became the subject of an unusually heated debate in the state House on Wednesday. The issue also gained traction online, with some critics urging others to spam the email address. There were also calls to report positive interactions in schools. Singer-songwriter John Legend tweeted that Black parents should weigh in with “complaints about our history being silenced.”
“We are parents too,” he said.
“This is another level that they have to worry about,” Radford City Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Graham says. “I’m concerned for them because they are tired and they’re working themselves to the bone to meet the needs of our children.”
Many like Graham say the new system has only caused more division. That and a lack of trust.
“I worry about what’s going to happen to the teaching profession,” he adds. “We’re already in a critical shortage of teachers.”
“Let’s face it, next month we celebrate Black History Month,” Fedderman adds. “Are they going to call and report that for being divisive? Many questions.”
The Virginia Education Association said that this reporting mechanism is targeted at Virginia educators and is adding more scrutiny.
“This hotline has done nothing but created chaos and division throughout the Commonwealth. It’s designed to intimidate educators who are just trying to do their jobs,” said VEA President James Fedderman.
Washington Post Opinion
Youngkin is already going full Trumpist on at least one issue: Banning school districts from requiring masks. In the face of widespread resistance to his efforts, he’s hitting back in a way that’s positively Trumpy in its toxic bad faith and utter contempt for judicious governing.
Washington Post Opinion
Youngkin is taking a page from Texas, which financially incentivizes ordinary residents to file civil claims against those who violate the state’s new abortion ban. The Texas Right to Life committee tried to set up a tip line for reporting infractions.
Virginia’s new thought policing also includes overriding school districts’ decisions on face masks and firing the University of Virginia’s counsel, Tim Heaphy, who was on leave advising the House’s Jan. 6 committee.
Youngkin’s move on critical race theory also comes with an added dollop of hypocrisy. Public schools, including Virginia’s, don’t teach critical race theory, which was a little-known academic school of thought before the Fox News crowd misrepresented it as a threat to American children.
"If Glenn Youngkin wants to be a good Governor he should focus on improving funding to Virginia schools and teachers pay, not making it even more difficult for teachers—while we're still in the midst of a pandemic that's already forced them to make accommodations to their curriculum.
"The people of Virginia—especially the educators should know that Gen-Z has their back and we're grateful for their sacrifice and dedication.
Julianna said Youngkin's recent election "offered him a chance to be a decent man," but accused him of looking like "another corporate run puppet who puts his profits first and the people of Virginia last."
In Virginia Beach, a mother is sending frantic emails to her school board, begging them to reverse their mask-optional policy to protect the life of her 14-year-old daughter who has a heart condition. In Arlington, a teenage girl broke down sobbing this week as she asked her parents for help navigating the suddenly thorny social dynamics between masked and unmasked friends — leading her mother to pull her from school for a mental health day.
“My daughter broke down crying, saying, ‘I can’t make these decisions. They’re too hard,’ ” Webb said. “This order is ending friendships. It’s just so divisive.”