Suffolk University in Virginia

Suffolk University and pollster David Paleologos have just released a new survey conducted in Virginia. Paleologos surveyed the Presidential race, as well as the big Senate showdown between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen. Some interesting results.

On the Presidential side President Obama clings to a slight lead that is within the statistical margin of error. From the Suffolk Press Release:

BOSTON – President Barack Obama (46 percent) clings to a 2-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney (44 percent), in a swing-state nail-biter, according to a Suffolk University/NBC12 (WWBT-Richmond) poll of likely general-election voters in Virginia. Seven percent were undecided.

The race is close – with survey results within the statistical margin of error – despite a decided popularity advantage for Obama. He boasted a +8 (52 percent favorable to 44 percent unfavorable) to Romney’s -3 (42 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable).

“Barack Obama shows personal popularity and strength, especially outside of the D.C. area in northern Virginia,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “However, with job approval and head-to-head numbers stuck at 46 percent, it will be a significant challenge for Obama to convince the remaining undecided voters to re-elect him.”

The survey also asked Virginia residents about “Obamacare”. By a wide margin (51% to 38%) these folks have a negative view of the health care reform bill tied so closely to the President. But with Mitt Romney still tripping over the health care issue it appears that he is not making the types of gains that may have been achievable politically for him. And although I did not see “Medicare” in the Suffolk survey there is no question that issue is creating a drag on Romney politically. A new Washington Post/Kaiser Foundation survey, which included Virginia, Florida, and Ohio, showed 51% of senior citizens rating Medicare as “extremely important.” Among that group (combined three states) President Obama leads Governor Romney by a 59% to 36% margin. Among seniors that feel that Medicare is “very important” the President leads by a 53% to 43% margin. That is how you define “political drag”. In that context the selection of Paul Ryan is not panning out in the way Mitt Romney hoped that it would.

So Virginia is still in play, but Romney does not appear to have many states where he can coast. It is a critical state for him, and these numbers show that he will continue to have no choice but to pour more resources into the Old Dominion. The race is close, but when asked who they “thought would win” the race for President 53% thought President Obama would win, to 30% who thought Romney would win, with 17% not sure. Not much confidence in Mitt Romney’s chances in Virginia.

Massachusetts is not the only state with a hotly contested Senate race. In Virginia former Governor Tim Kaine, the Democrat, is locked in a very tight battle with former Senator George Allen. Suffolk has this race in a dead heat at 44% each, with 12% undecided. Control of the U.S. Senate may hinge on the Massachusetts and Virginia Senate races, and this one is as close as it can be. We will follow it a bit more closely in the coming weeks.

More great work from Suffolk University and pollster David Paleologos.

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