President Obama and Mitt Romney are deadlocked in the critical battleground of Virginia, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released early Thursday that shows that Obama's slight advantage in the commonwealth is gone.
Obama and Romney each attracted 44 percent of the vote in the survey. Ten percent of voters prefer another candidate or are undecided.
The two candidates each retain more than 90 percent of their respective party bases: Obama wins 92 percent of Democrats, while Romney holds 91 percent of Republicans. Among independents, Obama leads by a statistically insignificant 2 points. Obama led independents by 8 points in the June poll and by 3 points in March.
The president wins just one-third of white voters, compared with 55 percent for Romney. Among white voters without a college degree, Obama is at just 29 percent versus 57 percent for the Republican. In June, Obama attracted 37 percent of the white vote. In March, he was at 36 percent among whites.
Not only has Obama's share of the white vote declined slightly but white voters also make up a greater percentage in the new Quinnipiac poll (73 percent) than they did in the two previous polls (69 percent). According to the 2008 exit poll, whites made up 70 percent of the Virginia electorate then.
A slight, 51 percent majority of voters disapprove of the job that Obama is doing as president, the first time this year that Quinnipiac has shown Obama's disapproval rating above 50 percent. Voters also render a split decision on Obama's image rating: 46 percent view him favorably against 48 percent that see him unfavorably.
But Romney is also unpopular in the commonwealth. Only 39 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him, equal to the June poll. The percentage that view him unfavorably has risen, from 37 percent last month to 42 percent now.
The top-line result is not the only indicator of the neck-and-neck race. Voters are more likely to say that Obama "cares about the needs and problems" of people like them, but Romney holds a slight edge when it comes to which candidate would do a better job on the economy.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 10-16 via landline and cellular telephone. Pollsters interviewed 1,673 registered voters; the margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.