Poll Shows Presidential, Senate Races Deadlocked In Va.
Virginia is shaping up to be one of the lynchpin states for both parties in their pursuits of the White House and control of the Senate this November, and a new poll shared with Hotline On Call shows the two races at the top of the ticket deadlocked less than 10 months before Election Day.
The poll, conducted in mid-January by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for a private client, shows President Obama and Mitt Romney neck-and-neck, while former Sen. George Allen, R-Va., and former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine run dead even.
Obama leads Romney in the race for the commonwealth's 13 electoral votes by only one point, 45 percent to 44 percent, well within the poll's margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points. Eleven percent of likely voters are undecided. Romney leads by five points among independents, but Obama hoards 89 percent of Democrats to inch in front of the former Massachusetts governor.
While Romney runs virtually even with Obama, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trails the president by a double-digit margin, 49 percent to 38 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Obama also leads Gingrich by 11 points among independents.
Voters are mixed on Obama: 39 percent rate him favorably, 41 percent rate him unfavorably and 19 percent say they are neutral. Romney, on the other hand, has a more positive image rating: 36 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of him, while only 29 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 31 percent say they feel neutral.
Meanwhile, as in other public polls, the Senate race is a tie. Allen and Kaine each take 46 percent of the vote, according to the poll, with 8 percent undecided. Kaine, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wins 90 percent of Democrats. Allen, who also served as the commonwealth's governor, earns 91 percent of Republicans. By a slight, six-point margin, independents lean toward Kaine.
Virginia voters have good impressions of both candidates: 41 percent say they have a favorable opinion of Allen, while 39 percent have a favorable opinion of Kaine. But the percentages of voters having unfavorable impressions of each candidate is 18 percentage points fewer than their respective favorability ratings.
The final political question added to the survey by Mason-Dixon asked about Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's job performance. A majority of likely voters, 63 percent, rate McDonnell's performance as either "excellent" or "pretty good," while only 30 percent think he is doing an "only fair" or "poor" job.
Governors of Virginia may only serve one term, but McDonnell, who last week endorsed Romney for the GOP presidential nomination, is a likely bet to be on his party's vice-presidential shortlist this summer.
The Mason-Dixon poll was conducted Jan. 16-18, surveying 625 likely voters in the state.