Romney, Obama tied in Virginia

According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are in a dead heat among Virginia’s voters, with each of them receiving 44 percent of the population’s favor. The pollsters note that this does, however, constitute a shift in Mitt Romney’s general direction over the past few months, and Virginians are starting to trust Romney more on economic issues:

Republican challenger Mitt Romney wipes out President Barack Obama’s lead in Virginia and the two candidates are deadlocked 44 – 44 percent in the race for the Old Dominion’s 13 electoral votes, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 50 – 42 percent lead for President Obama in a March 20 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and a 47 – 42 percent Obama lead June 7.

By a narrow 47 – 44 percent, voters say Romney would do a better job on the economy. But voters support 59 – 36 percent Obama’s call to raise income taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year. Support is strong among all income groups – except voters in households making more than $250,000 per year, where 48 percent support the idea and 51 percent oppose it.

I’m usually pretty darn proud of my home state of Virginia — at least relative to other states, the Old Dominion just seems to have its head screwed on correctly. With a moderately conservative governor leading my ecologically beautiful, historically rich state to multiple budget surpluses, a well-ranked business and regulatory environment, and very doable concealed-carry laws, Virginia has very rarely given me cause for dismay. The notable exception was in 2008, when my traditionally red state was swept up in the thrill of Hopenchange and went blue, giving Barack Obama its 13 electoral votes.

Having lived most of my life divided between the DC suburbs and Charlottesville — two of Virginia’s liberal epicenters among the conservative heartland — it’s been easy to note the palpably permeating feeling of ‘I’m-a-sophisticated-moderate,’ coastal semi-elitism among the populace contributing to the commonwealth’s newfound presidential purplishness.

So, now I’m left wondering: with Virginia’s shifting demographics, was 2008 the herald of a trend toward a bluer state; or will Virginia’s long history of level-headedness prevail now that Obama actually has a record behind him instead of just airy-fairy slogans? There are any number of factors to consider — the large Latino population, the high concentrations of young professionals, etcetera — but I think you can guess the outcome for which I’m rooting. I don’t want to have to move just yet.