According to a new report, school closures are what led to a Republican victory in Virginia, with Glenn Youngkin defeating Terry McAuliffe in November’s gubernatorial race.
National Review Online reports:
[A] Democratic polling firm has conducted focus groups with voters in the Virginia suburbs who switched from Joe Biden to Youngkin, and found pretty much the same thing.
“These swing voters didn’t agree with what they thought the liberal position on race in schools was,” ALG Research writes in a summary report. “However, it wasn’t as salient as the fact that they felt Democrats closed their schools and didn’t feel bad about it. They also knew about his debate quote on parents; it clearly burned in and resonated with them.”
The report notes:
School closures + COVID policy were a bigger factor than CRT. These voters were more animated talking about their dissatisfaction with their local school districts’ handling of COVID. They felt buffeted by changing and inconsistent policies and concerned about the impact on student learning loss, and there was a sense among some that Virginia was not following the science by keeping schools closed later than other states. One participant, a Biden voter, stated flat out that her vote for Youngkin “was against the party that closed the schools for so long last year.”
School closures turned out to be completely unnecessary from the perspective of reducing COVID-19 spread, and as Robert VerBruggen noted yesterday, another new study has show that remote learning was a complete disaster.
If the takeaway of the Virginia race is to make Democrats at least slightly more skittish about COVID-19 restrictions in the future, that alone will have made it worthwhile.