PPP: Obama up 5 points in Virginia

posted at 12:01 pm on September 17, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The latest from Public Policy Polling purports that President Obama has a full five percent advantage of Mitt Romney in my highly-clutch, 13-vote home state of Virginia, supposedly leading 51 to 46. That’s the same distance they reported last month, with Obama leading Romney 50 to 45.

Virginia continues to look like it may be something of a firewall state for Obama. PPP has now polled it 9 times this cycle, and President Obama has led by at least 4 points on all 9 of the polls. He’s been ahead by 5 points, 5 points, 8 points, and 8 points over the course of the four surveys we’ve conducted in 2012.

Obama has a slight advantage over Romney (49-47) in terms of who voters trust more on the economy and a wider (51-45) edge over Romney on foreign policy. Only 41% of voters say they approve of how Romney reacted to the situation in Libya this week while 48% express disapproval.

Obama’s leading 56-42 with women, 91-7 with African Americans, 63-30 with other non-white voters, and 56-37 with young voters. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with men, a 57-40 one with whites, and a 54-43 lead with seniors. Romney is slightly ahead with independents, 47-45, but Obama’s party is more unified with Democrats supporting him 95-4 while Republicans go for Romney by a slightly weaker 92-7 margin.

I’m taking this one with a pretty serious grain of salt; an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll last week also reported a five-point lead for Obama, but other polls of Virginia don’t seem to find quite such a large gap, and the RCP average shows that Romney has been steadily gaining ground toward Obama in the Old Dominion since the spring. Virginia may have been the quintessential Hopenchange-spellbound swing state last time around, but I’m hesitant to believe the more traditionally red residents will be taken for a ride to such a large degree again.

Granted, that doesn’t mean that Mitt Romney doesn’t still have an uphill battle. While Virginia’s less-than six percent unemployment rate is largely due to the excellent efforts of our sensible governor and state government, most Virginians aren’t feeling the economic pain quite like the rest of the country, and may be mistakenly attributing the relative lack thereof to President Obama. On a purely personal, non-scientific level, residing in one of Virginia’s liberal-ish, northern, DC-suburb counties can be a bit discouraging. The number of Obama bumper stickers I see on a daily basis is exasperating, and living in the epicenter of Recently-Graduated-Young-Professional-Ville, it seems that every new person I meet insists that, “Oh yes, I’m a moderate,” with that above-the-fray, oh-so-enlightened, faux-sophistication at which I have to scrupulously resist rolling my eyes.

But, this is just one area, and I’m unconvinced that President Obama will have such an easy time retaking all of the more urban-ish zones he did last time, like the heavily military-influenced Virginia Beach area, and maybe even NoVa as a whole with all of the Defense employees. Regardless, there are plenty of independents here for the taking, and it’s going to be a tight competition.

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College Prof on September 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The fact Mitt is not up +10 across the board is a disheartening given all we know and all we have seen from this regime.

FireBlogger on September 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

For those folks with friends and relatives with Obama stickers.


Very funny.

landowner on September 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Once again: any poll which shows Romney leading, however slightly, among independents, yet Obama leading overall HAS to be padded with Democrats.

I don’t think the pollsters are doing it on purpose, they are merely dealing with the sample they get. The problem is response rates.

Even the polls that provide full crosstabs don’t disclose their response rate – the % of people contacted who agree to be polled. It’s considered proprietary information.

We’ve known in a general sense that it was falling over time, back in the ’80s it was around 80%, people were happy to be polled – but there were far fewer of them around. According to a Pew report last week, the overall rate had fallen to 39% by 1997, and is down to around 9% today.

What’s happened is a disproportionate number of Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Party people are refusing to participate, leaving a more Democratic sample, which leads to more pro-Obama results.

Sample bias isn’t new. It happened in the exit polls in 2004 – the exit polling was done mainly by college students, and so oversampled young people, who they felt more comfortable talking to. So the networks thought it was going to be a big night for Kerry.

Adjoran on September 17, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Only 41% of voters say they approve of how Romney reacted to the situation in Libya this week while 48% express disapproval.

Romney was not talking about Libya, he was talking about a memo from the embassy in Cairo. Sheesh..I wonder how people got that so wrong?

I am not buying it myself. I have not heard anyone say that they have a problem with what Romney what said.

Terrye on September 17, 2012 at 5:25 PM

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