Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Polls indicate Kaine, Obama ahead in Virginia
Several new polls have come out in recent days, and to varying degrees they indicate Democrats are slightly ahead in this November’s election.
A Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS poll of swing states out Wednesday puts President Barack Obama ahead of Republican Mitt Romney in Virginia, Wisconsin and Colorado, although the two are one point apart in Colorado.
In Virginia, the poll shows Obama with 50 percent of the 1,474 likely voters polled, compared to Romney’s 46 percent. That’s one point more than both men got in Quinnipiac’s August poll. The margin of error in Virginia is 2.6 percent.
In Wisconsin, the poll showed Obama with 51 percent to Romney’s 45 percent, and in Colorado it was 48 percent for Obama, 47 percent for Romney.
Republicans counter that the Quinnipiac poll, as well as one out this week from the Washington Post, oversample Democratic voters and that the races are tighter in polls with a more even sampling from both parties.
In the Quinnipiac poll, 53 percent of the Virginians polled said Obama would do better handling an international crisis, and 59 percent said Obama cares about their problems, compared to 50 percent who said Romney doesn’t care.
In Virginia, Obama led among women, Romney led among men, and Romney also leads among voters who identify themselves as independents, 53 to 42 percent.
The poll also surveyed Virginia’s U.S. Senate race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine, a race that has been neck-and-neck in polls for the past year. This poll suggests Kaine is pulling ahead, showing him with 51 percent of the vote to Allen’s 44 percent. Independents were split, 46 percent for each candidate. Of those polled, only 5 percent of those who identified as a Republican or Democrat said they’d support the other party’s Senate candidate in this race.
A Washington Post poll released Tuesday gave Obama a larger lead in Virginia than the Quinnipiac poll; 52 percent to 44 percent among likely voters.
A Public Policy Polling poll that came out three days ago gave Obama a five-point lead in Virginia, with 51 percent of those polled to Romney’s 46 percent. That poll showed a tighter Senate race than the Quinnipiac poll, with Kaine at 47 percent to Allen’s 46 percent, within the margin of error.
An NBC/WSJ/Marist poll last week also showed a five-point lead for Obama in Virginia, 49 percent to Romney’s 44 percent.
Looking through the crosstabs of the Quinnipiac poll (which you can do yourself, here), it seems like many voters have their minds made up. Asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Romney, voters were nearly evenly split; 45 percent said their opinion was favorable, and 44 percent said it was unfavorable. Fifty-three percent said their opinion of Obama was favorable, to 43 percent who said it was unfavorable.
Among those who said they support Romney, 55 percent said they strongly favor him, while 24 percent said they like him but have reservations, and 15 percent said they support Romney because they dislike Obama.
Among Obama supporters, 71 percent strongly favor him, 24 percent like him but have reservations, and 4 percent dislike Romney.
Fifty-five percent of those polled said they thought Romney’s economic policies would favor the rich; most of those polled said Obama’s economic policies would either favor the poor or middle class, or treat all people the same.