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Poll: Obama leads GOP candidates in Va, Senate race virtual tie

A new Quinnipiac University poll out today shows President Barack Obama with a lead over all the Republican presidential candidates. The prospect of putting Gov. Bob McDonnell on the ticket doesn’t seem to help bump up Republicans’ numbers, either.

The poll also shows U.S. Senate candidates Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and Republican George Allen still in virtually a dead heat; Kaine is backed by 47 percent of those polled to Allen’s 44 percent.

According to the poll, Obama leads former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney by 50 to 42 percent. Against former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Obama’s lead in the poll is 49 to 40 percent. He leads former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich by 54 to 35 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul by 49 to 39 percent.

Adding McDonnell to a Romney ticket changes little; the poll still shows Obama with a 50 to 43 percent lead.

“There has been speculation about Gov. Bob McDonnell being a possible choice for vice president by the eventual GOP nominee,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s polling institute, in a written release. “What this Quinnipiac University survey finds is that despite the governor’s approval ratings with Virginia voters, he does not appear to help give the GOP the state’s electoral votes.”

The numbers are somewhat better for Obama than they were in Quinnipiac’s last poll in February, when Obama led Romney by 47 to 43 percent.

Brown said that Obama’s lead comes largely from stronger support among women (52 percent to Romney’s 39 Percent), although Obama still gets 48 percent of the men polled.

In the Senate race, Kaine shows an advantage among women (49 percent to 40 percent) while Allen has a slight lead among men (48 percent to 46 percent).

“Virginia’s U.S. Senate race has been too-close-to-call from the get-go,” Brown wrote. “It remains a squeaker and is likely to remain that way until the November election. An Obama victory in the presidential race would help Kaine, while if the Republican carries the state in November that would help Allen.”

The poll did not test other Senate candidates — both Kaine and Allen face competition for their parties’ nominations in June primaries.

The poll surveyed 1,034 registered voters, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.