Hampton University Center for Public Policy’s Latest Poll Shows a Majority of Virginians are Pleased with Governor and his Handling of the COVID-19

HAMPTON, Va. – (July 28, 2020) – Recognized nationally, the latest Hampton University Center for Public Policy (CPP) poll reveals Virginians attitudes about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their lives generally, from an employment perspective, financially, and how they feel about the response to the pandemic by state and national leaders. While the majority of Virginians are pleased with Governor Ralph Northam and his handling of the response to the coronavirus in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to a new poll from the CPP, many Virginians strongly disapprove of how President Donald Trump and the federal government overall are handling the coronavirus pandemic. The poll conducted 1,099 interviews from July 13-21, 2020 and has a margin of error of  +/- 5.0 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge past four million in the United States, 81% surveyed say they have taken protective measures and are following the restrictions put in place, including such measures as wearing a mask when leaving home (80%), avoiding other people as much as possible (69%), and, keeping six feet away from people who are not in their household (74%).

Q10.When it comes to the restrictions that are in place in Virginia in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, how frequently do you follow the restrictions?

 Top NetAlwaysOftenSometimesBottomNetRarelyNeverDon’tKnowSkip/Ref 
RestrictionsIn Virginia N=1,09981 59 22127 3 4 * *

While a small percentage of the individuals surveyed have been laid off or filed for unemployment, the personal financial situation of 45% of those surveyed has not been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Many Virginians were not prepared for the economic and financial impact the coronavirus would have on the overall economy of the state of Virginia, or their lives. While only 28% think the Virginia economy will get better in the next year, 45% think it will get somewhat worse or much worse.

Q4. In the next year, do you think the Virginia economy will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?

 Top NETMuchBetterSomewhatBetterAboutThe sameBottomNETSomewhatWorse Much worseDon’tKnowSkip/Ref 
The Virginia economywill: N=1,099 28 4 242645 29 16 * *

Despite the negative outlook on the future of the state’s economy, many Virginians have confidence in Governor Ralph Northam and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 59% who think the Governor issued the stay at home order at the right time. This response is in contrast to the President’s handling of the pandemic response. It is 54% that approve of Governor Northam’s handling of the response in Virginia with 28% disapproving. Some 73% disapprove of how President Trump handled the coronavirus outbreak with 19% approving.

Q2. Overall, do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the way each of the following people is handling the coronavirus outbreak?

 Strongly/SomewhatApproveNETStronglyApprove SomewhatApprove Neither approve nor disapproveSomewhat/Strongly disapproveNETSomewhatDisaaproveStronglydisapproveDON’TknowSkip/RefToAnsw
GovernorRalphNortham 54223217281316*1
PresidentDonaldTrump N=1,09919118673865*2

Q5. In dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, do you think Governor Ralph Northam issued the stay at home order too early, too late, or at about the right time?

 Too earlyToo lateAt about the right timeDon’tKnowSkipped/Ref. to Answ
Stay at homeorder wasissued: N=1,099 9 30 59 * 1

Attitudes about government response to the pandemic at the state, local and federal level tell a similar story to the approval and disapproval ratings of the leadership at the top. Virginians surveyed approve of the manner in which the state government handled the pandemic (54%) and the response by their local government (52%). Those surveyed strongly disapprove of the handling of the coronavirus outbreak by the federal government (60%).

Q3. Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of how each of the following is handling the coronavirus outbreak?

 Strongly/SomewhatApproveNETStronglyApprove SomewhatApprove Neither approve nor disapproveSomewhat/Strongly disapproveNETSomewhatDisaaproveStronglydisapproveDON’TknowSkip/RefToAnsw
Your state government 541837143015152
Your city or local govt. 52153621261511*1
The federal government N=1,09924717146019422

Democrats strongly approve of the state’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak (72%). Republicans are split with 42% disapproving and 40% approving the state’s response. While 46% of those identifying as Independents disapprove and 35% approve of how the state is handling the pandemic.

Q3A. Your State Government – Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of how each of the following is handling the coronavirus outbreak? (By Party Identification)

 Strongly/SomewhatApproveNETStronglyApprove SomewhatApprove Neither approve nor disapproveSomewhat/Strongly disapproveNETSomewhatDisapproveStronglydisapproveDON’TknowSkip/RefToAnsw
Democrats 722646101697
Independents 35925184621253
Republicans N=1,0994093117422220

For more details and Topline results, please visit the Hampton University Center for Public Policy website at www.hamptonu.edu/polls/


This study was funded by Hampton University and conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey is designed to provide estimates of the Virginia adult household population. Interviews were conducted July 13-21, 2020, with 1,099 adults age 18 and older residing in Virginia. Interviews were conducted in English.

The survey combined interviews from both probability and nonprobability sample sources. The probability interviews were conducted using a multi-mode address-based sample (or ABS) approach that allows residents of each area to complete the interview via web or with an NORC telephone interviewer. The nonprobability interviews were provided by Dynata and completed on the web using their opt-in panel.

The ABS sampling frame is based on an extract of the U.S. Postal Service delivery-sequence file (DSF). The DSF provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Those excluded from the sample include people with P.O. Box only addresses, some addresses not listed in the USPS Delivery Sequence File, and some newly constructed dwellings. Addresses are stratified by the Census propensity to respond metric and then randomly selected within each of four target regions in Virginia.

All sampled households are mailed a postcard inviting them to complete the survey either online using a unique PIN or via telephone by calling a toll-free number. Postcards are addressed to: [CITY] HOUSEHOLD. There is no within household selection for households with multiple adults. Interviews are conducted with adults age 18 and over, and 629 completed the survey.

Interviews were conducted online and over the phone, with 582 completing via the web and 47 completing via telephone. Interviews were conducted in English and respondents were not offered a monetary incentive for completing the survey. The screener completion rate is 2.3% and the final stage completion rate is 91.4% for a cumulative response rate of 2.1%.