Good Thursday Afternoon,

It’s time to take a look at the polls! Each week, Magnified delivers insights and analysis straight to your inbox, allowing you to stay up to date on what the public thinks about the most important issues of the day. Keep reading for the latest updates on our weekly trackers, as well as our national and international polls. Today, we also take an in-depth look at what the Republicans’ victory in Virginia’s recent Gubernatorial Election means for both parties looking towards next year’s Midterm Elections.

This week, our research also covered:

  • US state-level Gubernatorial and Senate voting intentions
  • Drivers of support for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations
  • Britons’ views on Priti Patel’s management of Channel crossings

If you would like to find out more about how Redfield & Wilton Strategies can help your organisation succeed through polling and strategic advice, click here.

Westminster Insights, USA Edition

This week, the United States is taking over our Westminster Insights section. Keep reading to find out about the Democrats’ and Republicans’ prospects in 2022 Gubernatorial and Senate races in key states. To check out the findings of our latest GB voting intention poll (21 November 2021), click here.

Arizona Gubernatorial (Democrat Advantage):
10 November 2021

Katie Hobbs (D): 41%
Kari Lake (R): 37%
Don’t know: 18%

Katie Hobbs (D): 43%
Matt Salmon (R): 35%
Don’t know: 16%

Joe Biden Net Approval Rating: -6%

Florida Gubernatorial (Republican Advantage):
9 November 2021 (Changes +/- 20-24 August 2021)

Ron DeSantis (R): 46% (-2)
Charlie Crist (D): 40% (+2)
Don’t know: 7% (-1)

Ron DeSantis (R): 50% (+2)
Nikki Fried (D): 37% (-1)
Don’t know: 7% (-3)

Georgia Gubernatorial (Advantage Unclear):
9 November 2021

Brian Kemp (R): 47%
Stacey Abrams (D): 44%
Don’t know: 4%

Stacey Abrams (D): 45%
Vernon Jones (R): 40%
Don’t know: 9%

Joe Biden Net Approval Rating: -1%

Texas Gubernatorial (Advantage Unclear):
9 November 2021

Beto O’Rourke (D): 44%
Greg Abbott (R): 43%
Don’t know: 6%

Greg Abbott (R): 45%
Julián Castro (D): 39%
Don’t know: 8%

Joe Biden Net Approval Rating: -5%

Florida Senate (Republican Advantage):
9 November 2021 (Changes +/- 20-24 August 2021)

Marco Rubio (R): 46% (-2)
Alan Grayson (D): 37% (+1)
Don’t know: 10% (-1)

Marco Rubio (R): 48% (–)
Val Demings (D): 36% (-1)
Don’t know: 10% (–)

North Carolina Senate (Republican Advantage):
10 November 2021

Ted Budd (R): 40%
Cheri Beasley (D): 39%
Don’t know: 16%

Pat McCrory (R): 42%
Cheri Beasley (D): 40%
Don’t know: 13%

Joe Biden Net Approval Rating: -13%

Download Data Tables

Chart of the Week

Should coronavirus vaccinations be compulsory in the United Kingdom?

Britons express strong support for making coronavirus vaccines compulsory for important segments of the overall population. At 71% and 70% respectively, support for making coronavirus vaccines mandatory for NHS staff and care home staff is particularly pronounced. Other groups for which Britons think a coronavirus vaccine should be compulsory include teachers (68%), Members of Parliament (61%), and civil servants (56%).

There is also majority support for making coronavirus vaccines a prerequisite for participation in several leisure activities. 58% of Britons, for instance, would support making such a vaccine mandatory for anyone visiting a football match, and 54% would support making it mandatory for anyone visiting a pub or a restaurant. In these two cases, opposition is somewhat more pronounced, polling at 20% and 21% respectively.

In addition, Britons continue to see international travel as a risk factor regarding the spread of coronavirus. A strong majority of 69% would support making a coronavirus vaccine compulsory for all travellers coming into the United Kingdom, something 15% would conversely oppose. Indeed, public opinion is narrowly split on whether the UK should welcome tourists from abroad at all. Provided tourists follow all the necessary rules during travel and upon arrival, 44% think the UK should welcome international tourists, while a similar proportion of 40% thinks the UK should not.

What is driving this support for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations? A lack of sympathy for those who refuse to get themselves vaccinated is likely playing a big part. As we highlighted in last week’s issue of Magnified, 73% of those who have received a coronavirus vaccine say they are not sympathetic to those who are unwilling or hesitant to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Strong support for compulsory vaccines, particularly where these could be used as a prerequisite to participation in certain leisure activities where majorities of Britons already feel safe, may thus be driven by the wish among those already vaccinated to make life more inconvenient for those who are not.

Our Global Data

Great Britain: 47% of Britons say all of the major parties in the UK are equally likely to have improper links with big business. Nevertheless, when asked to select which party or parties they associate with being corrupt, 55% cite the Conservative Party, in comparison to 31% who cite Labour.

Great Britain: Among Britons who are currently employed or self-employed, a tenth (11%) is ‘very concerned’ about losing their job to automation in the future. A further 18% are ‘moderately concerned’ and 19% are ‘somewhat concerned’ about being replaced by technology such as robots and computers in the future, while 47% adopt an optimistic view and say they are ‘not at all concerned’ about losing their job due to automation in the future.

Great Britain: Among 16-to-25-year-olds in England, views on whether the Government listens to and addresses the concerns of young people vary greatly depending on how much interest respondents take in politics. As both a potential cause and consequence, only 15% of those who take no active interest in politics at all think the Government listens to and addresses the concerns of young people. Among those who take a significant active interest in politics, on the other hand, 48% think the Government does do so.

United States: In March, 52% of Americans still thought Joe Biden had handled the coronavirus crisis better than Donald Trump, and 23% thought Biden had handled it worse. Now, however, only 39% think Biden has handled the pandemic better, with a nearly equal proportion of 36% instead thinking he has handled it worse than Donald Trump, suggesting a shrinking advantage for Biden.

Hire Us: If you are a business, campaign, or research organisation looking to expand your understanding of public opinion, Redfield & Wilton Strategies has the tools to help. Get in touch to find out more.

Long Exposure: In-Depth Analysis

Political Thermostat: What the Virginia Gubernatorial Election Means for Next Year’s Midterms

In the 2020 Presidential Election, Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points. In the state’s recent Gubernatorial Election that took place earlier this month, however, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe 50.6% to 48.6%. For the Republican Party, Youngkin’s victory offers a blueprint for how to regain majorities in Congress next year. For the Democratic Party, it should be a wake-up call—one that highlights the strategic weaknesses and errors the party would do well to address ahead of next year’s Midterm Elections.

First, Joe Biden’s increasing unpopularity is no doubt one factor that influenced the outcome of Virginia’s Gubernatorial race. In the state, as in the rest of the country, the President’s net approval rating has declined over recent weeks, falling from +7% at the end of August to -7% now—a 14-point decrease. While Virginia’s Gubernatorial Election was perhaps not the “referendum on Biden” some commentators made it out to be, it is clear that unfavourable views of the current Administration made things more difficult for McAuliffe. Positive views of Virginia’s incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who currently enjoys a +10% net approval rating, were not enough to make up for this negative influence emanating from Washington DC.

If negative views of the Biden Administration persist, a depressive effect on Democratic turnout in 2022 could be a possible consequence. And as the Republican Party attempts to win control over Congress, its candidates will certainly use Biden to criticise congressional Democrats over their inability to deliver results. Democrats in Washington will need to build up their legislative record to counter such attacks and to remedy the perception that they are unable to respond to pressing national problems despite having congressional majorities.

For Republican candidates, on the other hand, the main challenge is to keep motivating Trump’s base of supporters in his absence while nevertheless appealing to more moderate and independent voters at the same time. In Virginia, Youngkin managed this balancing act skillfully, providing a useful lesson for Republican Midterm candidates in areas that lean Democratic.

With reference to the 2024 Presidential Election, our polling in Virginia this month finds that 53% of Virginians who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 would be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Donald Trump, including 32% who say they would be significantly more likely to do so. By comparison, 74% of those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Donald Trump, including an astonishing 63% who say they would be significantly less likely to do so. No doubt similar polling would have identified the same dynamic prior to the recent Gubernatorial Election.

Counting on significant public aversion to Trump, Terry McAuliffe attempted to associate Glenn Youngkin with Donald Trump in the minds of Virginia voters, seeking to replicate the same strategy Democrats used in California to win a Recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom (analysed in a previous issue of Magnified). Yet, the former Virginia Governor’s attempts, including even labelling Youngkin ‘Trumpkin,’ were so insistent and over the top as to border on farcical, thus making the Democratic candidate appear to stand for little other than opposition to Donald Trump.

While Trump did endorse Youngkin after he had won the Republican nomination, Youngkin clearly kept the former President at arm’s length. Youngkin and Trump never appeared together on the campaign trail. Trump further interfered little in the Republican campaign, altogether allowing Youngkin to consolidate support among moderate and independent voters, who had not supported the Republican Party in 2016 and 2020.

The issue of election integrity, which featured prominently in the campaign due to McAuliffe running TV ads juxtaposing Youngkin’s call for enhanced election security with images of the US Capitol riot, illustrates how Youngkin used an ambiguous stance to appeal to both former Trump voters and more moderate and independent ones. While acknowledging that Joe Biden fairly won the 2020 Election, Youngkin nevertheless also called for an ‘audit’ of the voting machines used in Virginia, for instance.

To Trump voters—among whom 67% in Virginia agree that the 2020 Election was rigged/stolen—this demand likely sounded like a recognition of their concerns. To those who do not contest the result of the 2020 Election, on the other hand, such a comment may have sounded more like a general commitment to guaranteeing and enhancing the security of elections. In this way, statements that leave room for interpretation were one of the key tools that enabled Youngkin to appeal both to the Trump base and to more moderate voters.

McAuliffe, on the other hand, worsened his predicament through his own track record of election fraud claims. Not only did he stand by his 2004 claim that the 2000 Presidential Election was stolen from Al Gore but he also invited Stacey Abrams, who is yet to concede the 2018 Georgia Gubernatorial Election, to campaign with him, making some of his attacks directed at Youngkin and Trump on the matter of election integrity appear tinged with insincerity. In a state where 71% of voters registered with the Democratic Party agree they have trust in the integrity of the electoral process in the US, such claims were clearly out of tune with the beliefs of many Democratic voters.

In addition, the Gubernatorial Election in Virginia made it clear that discomfort with Trump among suburban voters is not enough to enable the Democrats to push progressive ideas that do not enjoy broad public support without having to fear an electoral backlash.

The policy area of education offered the clearest evidence. By accusing Democrats of taking away parents’ control over what their children are taught in school, Youngkin skillfully instrumentalised the issue of education to win over suburban voters. Pledging to ban the teaching of critical race theory (which posits that racism is systemic within the US’ institutions and society) in public schools, Youngkin capitalised on a widespread perception that the Democrats are out of touch with the public on cultural issues. At the same time, he provided a template for other Republicans to attack identity politics without resorting to Trump-style extremist rhetoric. Lastly, McAuliffe’s own comment, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” was one more nail in the coffin of the Democrat’s attempt to appeal to Virginia’s suburbanites.

Youngkin’s campaign has undoubtedly raised the profile of education as an election issue: When voters in Virginia were asked in August, before Youngkin and McAuliffe clashed over the matter, to pick the three issues most likely to determine how they would vote in the Gubernatorial Election, education (19%) only came in ninth place—behind issues such as housing and homelessness (22%) and the environment (20%). Now, looking towards next year’s Midterm Elections, education (30%) polls as one of the top three most determinative issues alongside the economy (55%) and healthcare (47%). For the Democrats, the fallout from the education episode of Virginia’s Gubernatorial thus clearly shows the risks of not taking voters’ concerns seriously—a lesson all 2022 Democratic candidates would do well to keep in mind.

Virginia’s Gubernatorial Election should be a wake-up call for Democrats. Faltering approval of the Biden Administration, combined with an agenda that mainly focused on opposition to Trump and was short of tangible answers to voters’ concerns, resulted in the Democrats losing where they had won with a comfortable margin a year before. Addressing the shortcomings of McAuliffe’s campaign will be crucial to improve the Democrats’ chances in other swing states. For the Republicans, Virginia is a promising sign. If Youngkin’s strategy is reproducible, the winning formula of an issues-focused campaign that combines the support of the Trump base with that of suburban voters who agreed with Trump on the issues but not with his personality looks poised to deliver improved Republican results in next year’s Midterms.

Perspective: The R&WS Take on the News

UK will only deliver half of promised vaccine donations at current rates
The Telegraph | 16 November 2021

Our take: At the G7 summit in June, Boris Johnson pledged to donate 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines overseas by June 2022. So far, however, the UK has only delivered 20 million doses. If the speed of donations does not increase significantly, the UK looks set to break its promise on international vaccination donations. From the point of view of the public, however, the Government breaking this promise may indeed be welcomed by many. When it comes to the Government’s policy regarding the distribution of coronavirus vaccines, 61% of Britons think the Government should provide booster shots to the British public. A notable proportion of 28% nevertheless thinks the Government should provide vaccines to poor countries where few are vaccinated at all, suggesting that this demographic would be more critical about the Government not living up to its pledge on vaccine donations.

Priti Patel failing over small boat Channel crossings, Labour says
BBC | 22 November 2021

Our take: Amidst nearly 25,000 people having crossed the Channel from France to the UK so far this year, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has accused the Government of “comprehensive failure” on the issue. Indeed, public opinion is highly critical: Only 19% of Britons approve of Priti Patel’s job performance in managing the UK’s borders, particularly in relation to Channel crossings. A majority of 53%—including not only 61% of 2019 Labour voters but also 51% of 2019 Conservative voters—disapprove, resulting in a scathing -34% net approval rating for the Home Secretary on the matter. In line with these views, 55% say the UK’s current approach to managing migrants crossing the Channel is too soft, though a notable 19% think it is too harsh and 10% think it is about right. For Patel, the silver lining of the situation may be that a plurality (38%) holds the French Government most responsible for migrants attempting to cross the Channel. Nevertheless, 29%—including 35% of Labour voters and 22% of Conservative voters—instead hold the UK Government most responsible, likely feeding negative views of Patel further.

R&WS in the Media

Each week we bring you the top stories from the media that have featured our research.

With Boris Johnson on the back foot over sleaze and rail, how Keir Starmer found his angry side
iNews | 19 November 2021

Donald Trump Strongly Hints at 2024 Run as Multiple Polls Show Him Beating Biden
Newsweek | 20 November 2021

Migrant crisis puts Tories in peril
The Telegraph | 20 November 2021

Are you a journalist needing a stat for your latest piece? We can be your resource—our polling covers hundreds of issues in multiple countries each week. If you are working on an article on a topical issue, chances are we have already asked the public about it. Get in touch and we’ll share our polling data with you!

Our Research on Social Media

Top 5 Tweets This Week

  1. First tie in British voting intention this year. Westminster Voting Intention (21 Nov): (see full tweet)
  2. Which party do Britons trust the most to support the NHS? (15 Nov): (see full tweet)
  3. At this moment, which of the following individuals do you think would be the better Prime Minister for the United Kingdom? (21 Nov): (see full tweet)
  4. Home Secretary Priti Patel Approval Rating (21 Nov): (see full tweet)
  5. Does the British public think there should be a limit to how much money an MP can earn in their second jobs outside of their work as an MP? (19 Nov): (see full tweet)

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