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Coverage of Virginia politics and the 2014 election.

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New poll shows Obama ahead of Romney in Va, but smaller lead than March

A new poll out today from Quinnipiac University shows President Barack Obama with a five-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney in Virginia.

However, Obama’s 47 percent to Romney’s 42 percent is a smaller gap than the same poll showed in March, when Obama had 50 percent to Romney’s 42 percent. At that time there were more Republican candidates still in the race for the party’s nomination.

If Romney were to choose Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as a running mate, it would seem to make little difference to Virginia voters; the poll indicates that Obama would still beat a Romney/McDonnell ticket, 48 to 43 percent.

“President Barack Obama remains ahead in Virginia, but he is hearing Gov. Mitt

Romney’s footsteps,” said Peter Brown, Quinnipiac’s assistant polling director, in a written release. “His lead over Romney is built upon a continuing gender gap that favors him – essentially the president stays close among men while he is very strong among women. For Romney to take the lead he will need to reverse the gender gap. Often when Republicans win, they use a solid lead among men and narrow their loss among women.”

The poll also suggests that Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage is having little impact on voters’ attitudes about the candidates.

While those polled oppose same-sex marriage by 49 percent to 42 percent, only a quarter of them said it was “extremely” or “very” important in their choice in the presidential race.

Twenty-four percent said Obama’s support for same-sex marriage makes them less likely to vote for him, while sixty percent said it would not affect their vote.

Romney opposes same-sex marriage; 21 percent of those polled said that makes them more likely to vote for him, 23 percent said they’re less likely to do so, and 53 percent said it didn’t make a difference.

Voters are closely split on the question of the economy — expected to be the central issue in the race. Of those polled, 46 percent thought Romney would do a better job improving the economy and 44 percent thought Obama would.

Quinnipiac ran the poll between May 30 and June 4, surveying 1,282 registered voters by phone. The poll has a margin of error of 2. 7 percent.