There are some very interesting similarities between the PPP and SurveyUSA polls of Virginia this week:
1) Both show Barack Obama doing better with Democrats than John McCain is with Republicans. We have Obama up 91-7 in his party and McCain winning his 85-12. They have Obama up 87-12 with Democrats and McCain with an 80-17 advantage among Republicans. As far as I can remember we have not found a higher degree of party unity for Democrats than Republicans in any other state.
2) Neither company found that same trend in its final pre-Palin poll. We had McCain winning 89-7 with Republicans and Obama up 84-12 with Democrats while their figures were 89-7 also for McCain and 86-10 for Obama.
So if our companies are right, Republicans in Virginia are less behind McCain now and Democrats in the state are now more behind Obama.
What's driving that?
-66% of the Republicans supporting Barack Obama said John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate made them less likely to vote for him. That may be helping to move a few more GOP voters toward the Obama camp.
-In most of the battleground states we've polled since the conventions, Republican voters like Palin more than Democratic voters dislike her. But in Virginia it's almost equal- 73% of Republicans say having Palin on the ticket makes them more likely to vote for McCain while 71% of Democrats say it makes them less likely to do so. The unusual level of dislike for Palin among Virginia Dems may be having the effect of increased party unity.
We'll stay tuned to whether this trend continues.