Want a prism into why Democrats were finally able to break through and win the Presidential race in Virginia last year? Of the Presidents since 1980 voters in the state say that Ronald Reagan is their favorite...but that George W. Bush is their least favorite. That decline over the years in voter perceptions of GOP leadership obviously has a lot to do with Barack Obama's victory last fall.
44% of Virginians say that Reagan is their favorite out of the last five Presidents, with Barack Obama finishing second at 23%, just barely edging out Bill Clinton at 21%.
Reagan is the overwhelming favorite of Republicans, at 71%, and of independents, at 57%. Interestingly he also edges out Obama among voters under 30, 38-31, even though most of them are too young to remember much of his time in office.
Obama leads Clinton 49-39 among Democrats. It's interesting to note that among African American voters Clinton actually gets 31% to Obama's 58%, an indication of how much popularity Clinton continues to have in the black community even after last year's spirited contest for the Democratic nomination between Obama and his wife.
41% of voters say that George W. Bush is their least favorite President of that time period, to 31% for Obama and 18% for Clinton. He's the choice of 74% of Democrats and narrowly beats Obama among independents, 37-36. Even after less than a year in office Republican voters already dislike Obama more than Clinton, 59-30.
What implications do these numbers have? Reagan managed to be conservative without seeming mean. The current breed of Republican leadership hasn't figured that out yet, and that's reflected in the balance of power we have right now in Washington.
Full results here