Poll: Northam Approval Rating Nosedives amid Racist Photo

Ralph Northam Controversial Video
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Disgraced Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s approval ratings have taken a nosedive since his unearthed medical school yearbook page revealed a photo of one man in blackface and another wearing Ku Klux Klan garb, according to a poll released Monday.

The poll from Morning Consult revealed that 48 percent of Virginia voters were dissatisfied with the way Northam did his job, up from a previous poll where just 26 percent of Virginia voters disapproved of his job performance.

Only 29 percent of Virginia voters said they were satisfied with Northam’s performance, compared with the 48 percent of the state’s electorate who approved of him before the racist yearbook photo scandal, according to the poll.

Northam’s approval rating is even slipping among Democrats. Only 50 percent of Democrats in the poll said they approved of Northam after the photo debacle compared with the 70 percent of Democrats who favored him before the scandal broke.

The number of Democrats who disapprove of Northam is also growing. A quarter of the Democrats surveyed said they disapproved of Northam while only 7 percent of Democrats in a previous poll said they did not favor the Virginia Democrat.

The Virginia Democrat’s approval rating among Republicans and Independents is even worse: A whopping 73 percent of Republicans surveyed said they disapproved of Northam’s performance and 43 percent of Independents said they were dissatisfied with the way Northam has been doing his job.

In a prior poll, 49 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Independents were dissatisfied with Northam.

The most recent Morning Consult poll surveyed 291 Virginia voters between February 2 and 3 and had a margin of error of six percentage points.

The embattled Virginia governor first admitted Friday evening that he was in the photo, calling it “clearly racist and offensive.” But he later walked back that statement at a Saturday afternoon press conference when he denied appearing in the photo with the men wearing blackface and a KKK hood.

“Yesterday, I took responsibility for content that appeared on my page in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook that was clearly racist and offensive,” Northam told reporters. “I am not and will not excuse the content of the photo. It was offensive, racist, and despicable.

“I stand by my statement of apology to the many Virginians who were hurt by seeing the content on a yearbook page that belongs to me,” he continued. “It is disgusting, it is offensive, it is racist, and it was my responsibility to recognize and prevent it from being published in the first place.”

But later in the press conference, Northam admitted he “once darkened his face” to dress up as Michael Jackson at a dance contest in 1984.

Democrat lawmakers and activists almost unanimously called for Northam to resign, citing the racist yearbook photo scandal as the thing that could throw a wrench in their plans to defeat President Trump in 2020.

Although the calls for Northam’s ouster have grown, the Virginia governor has resisted heeding those calls for him to step down.


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