I saw this poll late last night, long after getting back from walking with my granddaughters on Halloween, trick or treating in their neighborhood. At first, I thought this new poll from PPP in Virginia was a trick, but by this morning, I considered it more of a treat:
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Virginia, conducted on behalf of Health Care for America Now, finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 49-46. PPP has conducted 5 Virginia polls during the month of October and found Obama leading in every single one, by an average margin of 2.8 points.
Key findings from the survey include:
-Obama is winning big with women (56/39), African Americans (86/11), and voters under 45 (53/41). Romney’s strong groups are men (56/40), seniors (52/45), and white voters (56/39). ….
-Obama continues to have a strong advantage over Romney on the key issues of who voters think will stand up more for the middle class (51/45) and who they think will do more to protect Medicare (50/45). We have consistently found Obama with the edge on these measures in swing states, and it goes a long way toward explaining why he’s the favorite in most of them.
So Obama edges Romney in a virtual tie, only getting to 49% in a state that relies heavily on the federal government for its economy. The sample here must be overwhelmingly Republican, right? Not exactly. The D/R/I on this poll is — wait for it — 43/36/22. Forty-three percent of the respondents were Democrats … and Obama only gets to 49%.
Let’s remind people of what Virginia’s electorate looked like in the 2008 presidential (39/33/27) and 2009 gubernatorial (33/37/30) elections. Is there any data out there indicating that Democrats in Virginia are about to outperform the 2009 election by almost a third — ten points? Or that independents have either decided to stay home or shift in large numbers to the Democratic Party? Even the flawed CBS/NYT/Q-poll released yesterday showed Republican enthusiasm seven points higher than that of Democrats in Virginia.
If an incumbent Obama can’t get to 50% in a poll where 43% of the respondents are Democrats in a state where the federal government provides as much of the economy as it does in Virginia, I’d say Obama won’t win the state on Tuesday.
Update: So far, the early voting seems to be showing a tilt away from Obama, if not toward Romney.