Roanoke College is out with a new poll, showing mostly good news for Republicans:
With 14 months remaining until the 2012 election, Virginia’s U.S. Senate race is a statistical dead heat. Republican George Allen leads Democrat Tim Kaine 42% to 39% with 19% undecided. President Obama trails some potential Republican opponents, but he leads others. The generic (unnamed) Republican leads Obama 41% to 33%; Mitt Romney leads 45% to 37%; and Rick Perry leads by an statistically insignificant 42% to 40%. At the same time, Obama leads potential opponents Michele Bachmann (46% to 35%), Ron Paul (43% to 33%), and Sarah Palin (50% to 31%). Looking only at registered voters, none of those margins change by more than 1 percent and several do not change at all. Within two key groups, Kaine leads among Moderates (52%-30%), but Allen leads among Independents (42%-33%). Obama also performs better among Moderates and not as well with Independents.*
The Poll includes interviews conducted with 601 residents of the Old Dominion between September 6 and September 17. The Poll has a margin of error of + 4 percent.
The survey also finds Gov. Bob McDonnell continues to struggle with a mere 67 percent approval rating.
One of the intriguing wrinkles to the 2012 presidential race in Virginia has been that because the state’s economy is doing better than most, the traditional “Obama’s policies are failing us” message that will work for Republicans in so many other places may not work here. Looking at various swing states, we see Nevada’s unemployment is 13.4 percent, Michigan’s is 11.2 percent, Florida’s is 10.7 percent, North Carolina’s is 10.4 percent, Ohio’s is 9.1 percent… and then Virginia’s is 6.3 percent. You can chalk that up to McDonnell’s policies (CNBC ranks the state the best for business), or government spending in Northern Virginia, or Virginia soybean exports to China, but whatever the reason, Virginians aren’t as gloomy about their economic prospects as most Americans are.
But according to this survey, most Virginians feel differently about their state’s future than they do about the national future. They find 48.5 percent of Virginia respondents think the state is headed in the right direction and 41.3 percent think it is on the wrong track; but only 14.8 percent think the country is headed in the right direction and 80.8 percent think the country is on the wrong track.