President Joe Biden won the Virginia vote over Donald Trump by 10.2% in 2020 – when many pundits said as The Commonwealth goes so goes the nation – and they were right. But the latest Roanoke College poll now shows a tie at 42 percent for Biden and Trump. More details from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

(from RC release) President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are tied (42%-42%) in a head-to-head matchup in Virginia, while Biden holds a two-point lead (40%-38%) when other candidates are included, according to the Roanoke College Poll. The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College interviewed 711 likely voters in Virginia between May 12 and May 21, 2024. The survey has a weighted margin of error of 4.24%.

2024 General Election

Although only 2% of likely voters say they are undecided at this early point in the campaign, another 14% (two-way) to 20% (five-way) say they will vote for a candidate other than Biden
or Trump (Kennedy 8%; Stein 3%; West 1%; Other 8%). This is the first time the Roanoke College Poll has shown the candidates tied, although the polls in February 2024 and November 2023 showed them within the margin of error.

Two-thirds (64%) of likely voters are very certain of their vote choice, and another 28% are somewhat certain. Just over half (52%) are very enthusiastic about voting, and another 27%
are somewhat enthusiastic. Still, one in five are either not too (14%) or not at all (7%) enthusiastic. The economy dominates among the most important issues, being cited by 44% of respondents. Immigration (14%) and abortion (13%) were chosen more frequently
than foreign affairs (8%) and crime (5%).

A majority of likely voters (63%) think that Biden legitimately won the election in 2020, but one-third (34%) say he won because of election irregularities. Nearly three-fourths (73%)
think that Trump legitimately won in 2016, but 21% think he won because he colluded with Russians. As expected, partisans see those elections differently with 94% of Republicans saying Trump won legitimately, compared to 53% of Democrats, while 91% of Democrats
say Biden won legitimately, while only 29% of Republicans agree.

There is concern for potential violent protests regardless of who wins the presidency in November. Although more are concerned about potentially violent protests by Trump supporters
if Biden wins (36% very concerned; 31% somewhat concerned), there is also concern about violent protests by Biden supporters if Trump wins (19% very concerned; 29% somewhat concerned). Democrats were much more concerned about Trump supporters’ reactions (54%
very concerned; 30% somewhat concerned), while Republicans were about equally concerned regardless of who wins.

Respondents are more likely to view the Trump years as mostly good for the country (44% mostly good; 33% mostly bad), and they see the Biden years more negatively (25% mostly good; 47%
mostly bad). Republicans are very enthusiastic about the Trump years (87% see them as mostly good), while half (50%) of Democrats think of Biden’s years as mostly good. About equal numbers of likely voters think Biden and Trump mostly tell the truth and mean
what they say (37% for each) rather than just saying things to get elected (59% for Biden; 58% for Trump).

Job Approval, Favorable/Unfavorable, and Directions of Virginia and Nation

Evaluations of the direction of the country and the commonwealth are mostly unchanged since February and are similar over several years. A small majority (53%) thinks that Virginia is
headed in the right direction, while 70% think the country is on the wrong track. Job approval for President Biden (35%), Gov. Glenn Youngkin (52%), and Congress (19%) are likewise barely changed from February. Biden’s 61% disapproval rating ties his all-time
Roanoke College Poll disapproval high from February. Youngkin’s ratings have been steady for a year, while Congress continues to inch its way back up to approval near 20%.

Favorability ratings for federal officials and institutions generally continue in negative numbers with Donald Trump (36% favorable/57% unfavorable) and Joe Biden (36% favorable/58%
unfavorable) leading in the wrong way. The U.S. Supreme Court fares slightly better with 44% favorable and 48% unfavorable. U.S. Senator Tim Kaine breaks the underwater trend with 43% favorable and 39% unfavorable, but those ratings are lower than the last
time he ran for reelection. Youngkin’s ratings remain steady (49% favorable/40% unfavorable), continuing a long-term trend of Virginians holding more positive views of governors (Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative).

Regarding the events of Jan. 6, 2021, a plurality of respondents (44%) think it was an insurrection. Another 30% see it as a riot, similar to other riots, and 22% view it as a mostly
peaceful protest where a few people became violent. In comparison, 14% of those polled see the social justice protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020 as insurrections, while 51% think they were riots, and 22% view them as mostly peaceful protests.

Except for the direction of Virginia, each of these ratings are the result of major perception gaps between Democrats and Republicans. Overall, Democrats think the country is headed
in the right direction, approve of the job being done by Biden, disapprove of Youngkin’s performance, and are negative regarding Congress. Republicans are the opposite of each, other than being even more negative toward Congress. The same is true for favorability
ratings of public figures and the Supreme Court. Independents are typically between the two, sometimes closer to Republicans and sometimes closer to Democrats.

Political Anxiety

IPOR continues to track political anxiety in the commonwealth, which tends to remain more stable overall, while anxiety waxes and wanes among partisans as their party is in or out of
power. The overall index of 94.84 is down from its all-time high of 121.15 in November 2023, mostly because of a decrease in anxiety among Democrats.