Too good to check: Obama and Romney tied in Northern Virginia?

posted at 2:01 pm on August 10, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

All right, I’m going anti-Eyeore with this poll result. I meant to post it yesterday, but figured you might enjoy it more today as a counterpoint to the Fox and CNN polls, which look none too good for Romney.

A local news radio station in Washington, D.C., WTOP, conducted its own poll of D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. D.C.’s and Maryland’s overwhelmingly pro-Obama results are unsurprising and unimportant, but then there’s this:

Voters in Northern Virginia are almost evenly split between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney, according to the WTOP Beltway Poll conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies.

Forty-eight percent of residents support Obama while 46 percent would vote for Romney. The difference falls easily within the poll’s 4.17 percent margin of error.

Say wha? Northern Virginia has elected Rep. Jim “I’m going to earmark the shi[nola] out of (the Appropriations Committee)” Moran in every election since 1990. The man is a quintessential Beltway liberal who has an entire section dedicated to physical assaults on his Wikipedia page. It is this area of the state that will give Obama his win, if he can get it. Somewhere, a Moran legislative assistant is at work again with the putty knife and the hand sander just upon the suggestion of this bad news.

But here in Northern Virginia, Mitt Romney and President Obama are in a statistical dead heat? The sample is rather small, so take that into account, but WTOP is no fly-by-night news organization.

Nate Cohn of The New Republic registers his skepticism for two such partial-state polls this week:

There were also two odd sub-state polls: AARP found Romney up two among Floridians over age 50 and a WTOP poll found Obama up by just 2 points in northern Virignia. I’ve never heard of the latter poll and it’s wildly inconsistent with Obama’s narrow statewide lead, since Obama won northern Virginia by twenty points in 2008 (although that depends on the definition of northern Virginia). On the other hand, a close race among Floridians over 50 is quite consistent with the close statewide race shown by most polling firms.

The Real Clear Politics average for the state of Virginia has Obama up 3.2, and most of that margin should be coming from Northern Virginia. Popular Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell won the region with 53 percent in an off-year election in 2009, so the it’s not totally intractable. Eh, I’m skeptical, too, but consider it your spoonful of sugar, along with Jay Cost’s case for why this race is Romney’s to win.

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Media polls are rarely if ever accurate – internal campaign polls generally are. To know how internal polling is going, all you have to do is look at what the campaigns are saying. Right now Obama’s messaging (way negative, way early) is screaming FREAKING OUT – which tells me his internals are not looking too rosy.

Govgirl on August 10, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Mary in LA on August 10, 2012 at 3:44 PM

The War Planner on August 10, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Jinx! You owe me an Internet Coke!


Mary in LA on August 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

What are you in the middle of politically? Erich Honecker and Josef Stalin?

CorporatePiggy on August 10, 2012 at 2:12 PM

It’s not political, it’s short for inthemiddleofobamasbuttcheeks.

slickwillie2001 on August 10, 2012 at 5:30 PM

All of the below in reference to IlikedAUH2O on August 10, 2012 at 3:04 PM

The big population growth in Northern Virginia has been outside of Fairfax County. Fairfax, like Montgomery County in Maryland, is a small slice of Massachusetts brought south.

Ah! But Fairfax County is thriving because it not part of the people’s collective that Maryland has become. Businesses and residents are bailing from Maryland because they can due to geographic considerations not present in Mass. The center of gravity in Mass. is Boston- miles away from the nearest border. Not true in Maryland. The center of gravity is the corridor of the Baltimore to DC counties. The north part can bail to the relatively less oppressive PA and DE regions. Prince Georges, Montgomery, and Frederick Counties can bail to Northern Virginia which is what fuels the growth of Loudoun County and other regions which used to be dismissed when talking about “Northern Virginia Politics.”

Defense spending in No. Va?

Yes, but even defense contractors and soldiers are afraid of this “Chicago style” administration. They couldn’t imagine W coming after them despite the attempted murder of Valerie Plume. Now, they are afraid.

You haven’t disclosed where you live but living here in the belly of the beast (Arlington) I will tell you that there is little joy for a second Obama term. Yes, he will absolutely win a good portion of the votes but between the attack on federal workers and the bad things this administration has done, he gets the majority core vote not the swing voters.

But No Va elected Frank Wolf too.

In 1980. Frank Wolf goes to the church I grew up in. I have the deepest respect for him. I graduated with one of his kids. He was on the ballot on my first vote and I stuffed envelopes for that campaign. Yet his district has changed. He used to represent Northern Virginia. Now there is this long finger down to his home but his district includes the far fringes of Northern Virginia. With Jim Moron and Gerry “ratboy” Connolly carving up the liberal rich part of NoVa.

Happy Nomad on August 10, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Most polls have traditionally used the D/R/I split of the previous election. So they’re mostly using the 2008 split. Sometimes, they skew even further toward the Dems and reduce Independents. This is not new. They will skew demographics all the time. They did it against Hillary in 2008 and then as it gets closer to election time, the D/R/I splits gets closer to reality. So they’re definitely using this tactic this time around. The problem is that they’re disregarding the 2010 D/R/I split. Some pollsters try to do something in between and people call those outliers. I’m convinced the reality on the ground is unbelievably terrible for Obama. The incessant attacks during summer. The “You didn’t build that” fiasco. The accusations of being responsible for a woman’s death from cancer. The war on women. The illegal executive orders. The fast and furious coverup. Obama has thin skin and is responding with a tantrum. He’s trying to one up Romney and is getting infuriated that Romney still plays it cool.

Some Republicans think Romney isn’t doing enough. But he’s doing plenty. He’s playing the man. And it’s driving Obama insane.

MrX on August 10, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Charleston and Richmond are both beautiful capital cities, so if NOVA wants to be uber-liberal, we don’t mind being the sane country cousins. My daughter lives in Arlington, and frankly, it’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

College Prof on August 10, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Well as a resident of Arlington you are welcome anytime! And I (obvioiusly) don’t know the age of your daughter but Arlington is a great place to live as a young person. So long as you can abide with the commies.

Long story short, Arlington used to be part of the DISTRICT of Columbia which included multiple communities and cities the most noteworthy being Georgetown and Alexandria. When Virginia’s portion of the district was retroceded in the 1850s over the issue of slavery, Arlington which was created (mercifully) as a county with no specific area as the county seat.

Arlington is really a great place to live. There are many neighborhoods for young professionals. What that means is that there are tons of young people living close to the Metro in hip neighborhoods that do not burden the county with stuff like children or old people.

Happy Nomad on August 10, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Media polls are rarely if ever accurate – internal campaign polls generally are.

Govgirl on August 10, 2012 at 4:51 PM

It’s the opposite. Internal polls are usually hopelessly wrong. If the pollster does not tell the candidate what he/she wants to hear, the pollster gets fired and replaced by someone who will.

AngusMc on August 10, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Living in the outer parts of NoVA there is only one question that should be asked: who is it that wants to stand on the same platform as Obama while running for office?

Starting in 2009 D’s have been doing anything and everything to not be seen in the same room as Obama. When Obama gives political speeches his is, most interestingly, all by his lonesome. When he bothers to be in NoVA or any other part of VA.

Does Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria swing towards Obama? Yes. Mostly it is government jobs. Yet there is something else happening, which is the traditional voting base is slowly breaking up as rich retirees seek to get out of high tax counties and cities. The artificial inflation of government paychecks is keeping these places afloat and this bubble will burst no matter what the federal government does as it is unsustainable. Picture a place where the housing bust didn’t happen and is still in a bubble. Now start taking the people out who were sustaining the bubble, which were the relatively affluent who want to remain relatively affluent. Now you get a load of people with much lower paying jobs, much, much higher debt and a federal payroll that can’t be sustained because it will crash the Nation to have this much government for another four years.

No D’s are willing to stand next to Obama.

In Northern VA.

Living outside the beltway way at the fringes, what will happen next will be very interesting as those inside the beltway realize that they are about to take a haircut and a bath at the same time as the housing prices are unsustainable. So are the jobs. Do you vote for Obama to hope that you might get absolute chaos, or for Romney and a controlled implosion? Decisions, decisions…

ajacksonian on August 10, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Comment pages: 1 2