As President Barack Obama's time in the White House comes to an end and President-elect Donald Trump's term is about to begin, Virginia voters have a high regard for the incumbent but sent mixed signals about the next four years, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University survey conducted last week found that 59 percent approve of how Obama is doing his job and 38 percent disapprove. Three percent didn't know or wouldn't say.
Just over half of those polled – 53 percent – have an unfavorable view of Trump, who will be sworn in as the new president Jan. 20. Thirty-nine percent favor him and 4 percent haven't heard enough to have an opinion. Three percent didn't know or wouldn't say.
However, 55 percent said they were optimistic about the next four years under a Trump administration, compared to 40 percent who were pessimistic.
The negative view of Trump was the majority one among all age groups polled, but he was given a favorable rating by most who self-identified as Republicans, white men or those without a college degree.
Optimism about the next four years was shared by a majority of those surveyed in every age and education category, but most Democrats, women and those identified as "non-white" were pessimistic.
Obama, who carried Virginia in both his presidential elections, drew favorable views from men and women, non-whites, people under age 65 and college-educated voters. His support was weakest among Republicans, white men and those without college degrees.
“There may be no political figure in the history of Virginia who is more responsible for the state’s political transition from solid Republican to a swing state with a Democratic lean in presidential elections than President Barack Obama,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
The cellphone and landline interviews with 1,098 voters conducted Dec. 6-11 also found most voters approve of the performances of the state's two U.S. senators – Mark Warner and Tim Kaine – who are both Democrats. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Virginia voters were split when asked whether or not burning an American flag as a form of political protest should remain legal. Forty-eight percent say it should remain so, 47 percent did not and 4 percent didn't know or wouldn't say.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that burning or destroying a flag is a protected right under the Constitution.