Has President Barack Obama slipped out of favor among Virginians? Perhaps not, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
The Public Policy Polling survey of 600 Virginia voters shows that 48 percent of them approved of Obama, while 47 percent disapproved. PPP said that is a 5-point decline from his standing in the 2008 Virginia elections against John McCain, compared to a 17-point decline nationally.
The poll also showed that Obama leads both Mitt Romney (48-42) and Newt Gingrich (50-43), which may surprise many who are checking the political temperature in the state.
More from PPP:
What should be particularly heartening for Obama is that this is hardly an isolated finding in our Virginia polling this year. Over the course of 4 polls where we tested a match up with Romney Obama has led by an average of 7 points. And over the course of 3 polls where Gingrich was included Obama has led by an average of 12 points, although it is worth noting that he's doing better now as he's surged ahead in the Republican race.
Part of Obama's unusual strength in Virginia is that his popularity hasn't fallen that far, but even more important probably is that voters are reacting to the Republican candidate field in an extremely negative fashion. Romney (33/52) and Gingrich (31/55) are both seen negatively by a majority of voters in the state. Knocking off Obama in Virginia is going to be a challenge for the GOP without a more compelling candidate.
We've said it before but Virginia really looks to be Obama's firewall state as he prepares to run for reelection. Things are looking pretty good for him and if that holds up for another 11 months a victory for him there will make the GOP's path to 270 very, very difficult.
The poll was conducted from Dec. 11-13, and had a margin of error of +/-4 percent.