In what will surely be one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate contests of 2012, Democrat Tim Kaine leads Republican George Allen in Virginia by nearly 10 percentage points, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll.
Kaine, the former governor of the state, gets support from 48 percent of registered Virginia voters, and Allen, a former governor and U.S. senator, gets 39 percent. Fourteen percent say they’re undecided.
The poll also shows President Obama and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell with 51 percent approval ratings in the state, and it finds Obama with a substantial lead over his potential GOP rivals in this key battleground state.
The NBC/Marist survey of Virginia was conducted from Feb. 29-March 2 of 2,518 registered voters, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 2 percentage points.
Mark Murray is the NBC News Deputy Political Director and an NBC News First Read analyst. Read the national edition of First Read featuring Chuck Todd, Mark and Domenico Montanaro on msnbc.com.