PPP: Golly, this VA race is close despite the electorate being 43% Democrat

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.

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