The Republican gubernatorial nominee opposes mask and vaccine requirements, putting him at odds with a broad majority of the state.
A new Fox News poll shows that Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin is far out of step with most Virginians on how to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, released Thursday, found registered Virginia voters overwhelmingly favor stricter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in school settings. By a 71%-25% margin, respondents said they support school face mask mandates for all teachers and students, and they favor requiring teachers be fully vaccinated by 66%-31%.
A supermajority also backs President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for companies with 100 or more employees, which requires provide proof of vaccination or weekly negative coronavirus tests from all workers. Respondents supported the rule by a margin of 60%-36%.
Youngkin has come out strongly against each of these approaches.
In an August press release, he attacked Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools and Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe for supporting it.
"With today's student mask mandate announcement, Ralph Northam, Terry McAuliffe and Richmond liberals have made clear that they will stop at nothing to impose their will and take away parents' ability to decide what's best for our kids," he wrote. "Make no mistake about it, this mask mandate is the first step towards returning to a full shutdown of our economy."
Youngkin has also argued against vaccine requirements, claiming to back vaccination but oppose government mandates. In a debate on Tuesday, he hedged when asked about Virginia's decades-old requirements that students be inoculated against measles, mumps, and rubella, saying only that they "can" be mandated.
On Sept. 23, he was caught on camera suggesting he could remove Northam's vaccine requirement for state employees "on day one" of his administration.
Days before that, he attacked McAuliffe for wanting to "make life difficult for people who don't get the vaccine."
The Fox News poll found that 20% of Virginia voters listed the coronavirus pandemic as the second most important issue in their vote for governor, behind only the economy and jobs, which were listed as the top concern for 32% of respondents.
The state has seen about 870,000 coronavirus cases to date, including nearly 30,000 in the last 10 days. More than 12,800 of those have resulted in death.
Data from around the country has indicated that vaccine mandates are a highly effective public health tool, with more and more individuals agreeing to get shots if required in order to work or travel.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.