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.