Virginia Is Still Obama Territory, For Now

A new Public Policy Polling survey for Virginia shows President Obama in good shape ahead of his visit on Saturday. He has an approval rating of 50 percent with 46 percent of voters disapproving of him, and in a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney, he leads 51 percent to Romney’s 43 percent. Unlike most other swing states, Obama has held a consistently strong position in the Old Dominion since he was elected:

Part of the issue for Romney is that he only takes 84 percent of the Republican vote, compared to 92 percent for Obama. But even if that changes, and Romney reaches parity with Obama, he’s still behind. In addition to losing young voters in Virginia, 33–57, Romney is also losing middle-aged voters, 37–56. When you combine that with Obama’s huge margins among African Americans in the state, you have the recipe for a steady lead.

It’s worth noting that Romney doesn’t gain a boost if he chooses Governor Bob McDonnell for the vice presidential spot. With or without McDonnell on the ticket, Romney trails Obama by seven points. Indeed, since the abortion-related antics of six months ago, McDonnell has lost a good deal of his popularity.

Last fall, before reproductive rights entered the national picture, McDonnell held a 62 percent approval rating with Virginians. According to Public Policy Polling, that has declined to 46 percent, with 36 percent disapproval. These are solid numbers, but they represent a big shift, and show the extent to which the Virginia GOP has harmed itself by embracing the most radical measures from abortion foes. Unfortunately for Romney, as the standard-bearer for Republicans nationwide, he can’t escape this association.