Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Obama strong in Virginia

Virginia seems like a state Republicans almost have to win next year if they want to take back the White House but if the voting was today Barack Obama would take it again by a margin comparable to or greater than what he won in 2008.

Obama leads Mitt Romney by 6 points in the state at 48-42. That's identical to the size of his victory over John McCain in 2008. After that his leads increase to 8 points over Mike Huckabee at 51-43, 12 over Newt Gingrich at 51-39, and a whooping 19 over Sarah Palin at 54-35.

Part of the reason Obama's doing well in Virginia is that he has respectable, if not great, approval numbers there. 48% like the job he's doing to 45% who disapprove. There are two keys to his solid standing. The first is that 87% of Democrats stand with him- that's an indication he's generally holding onto white voters within his party, even ones who might lean a little bit more to the conservative side of the ideological spectrum.

The other key to his standing is that he's coming close to breaking even with independents- 48% disapprove of him to 42% who approve. It may seem counter intuitive that negative numbers with those voters are a good sign for Obama, but after two straight election years where independents in Virginia leaned toward the GOP by a margin of about 30 points a Democratic politician getting just slightly negative reviews from them is progress.

Even more important to Obama's leads in the state than his own approval numbers though is how dimly voters there view all of the leading Republicans considering the Presidential race. Mike Huckabee has the most decent favorability numbers but is still in slightly negative territory at 40/41. It's downhill from there to 33/48 for Romney, 29/56 for Gingrich, and 30/63 for Palin. The problem for these Republicans is not that voters don't know them yet- they all have over 80% name recognition. The problem is that voters do know them- and don't like them. Barack Obama's popularity would have to crater significantly for any of those folks to win in Virginia. Barring that the party needs someone to step up from the back of the bench who has a lot more appeal to swing state voters to take the nomination.

When you see Obama with a +3 approval spread but leads ranging from 6 to 19 points over his Republicans opponents it's a clear sign that his advantage is more about them than it is about him.

A little historical perspective on Huckabee, Gingrich, and Palin's deficits of greater than 7 points- the last time a Democrat won Virginia by a margin greater than that was Franklin D. Roosevelt. If the Republicans don't step it up there's a potential for them to make history in a way they could surely do without.

Full results here


Jonny V said...

And the more people hear about Huckabee the less they will like him. He's just as big of a loser as the rest the Republicans, people just don't know him as well.

This thing with him saying Obama grew up in Kenya should be a career ender for him if the American voter has any sense (that's a big if.)

Smooth Jazz said...

Oh, Goody Goody; Another tainted poll from DailyKOS/PPP. Keep it up and you guys will get your regular gig on MSNBC any day now. With Obama sucking wind at 45% JA per the Gallup & Rasmussen Daily polls, the only people who believe he is doing that well in VA are your sponsors and the left wing echo chamber you are trying to excite.

Anonymous said...

Unless Obama gets caught eating a baby or something, 2012 will be a midterm election.

Anonymous said...

Smooth Azz, That's wishful "thinking" on your part, as the PPP polls are in line with others on most questions. And remember, VA has a large minority population (growing every day) and Obama gets 80%+ of their votes; and, like most states, VA has a shrinking white population. Maybe Obama wins, maybe he loses. But if you can do the math, it doesn't look good for you long term.

Joseph Miller said...

Smooth Jazz, you don't have a SINGLE piece of evidence to substantiate the assertion that the poll is "tainted". When you are ready to discuss sample size, sample composition, and weighting, then we'll talk.

Anonymous said...

SJ -- it's not about whether you agree or disagree with the polling results, it's about whether the polling organization has a record of accuracy.

And according to many (including the WSJ), this polling organization is among the most accurate out there.

(I am not affiliated with any polling organization, just read polling blogs, etc.)

NRH said...

If Obama wins the states that have gone blue in all three of the last presidential elections (that is, voted for Gore and for Kerry and for Obama), and also takes Colorado and Virginia, then that's it; he could lose all the McCain states plus Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Indiana, North Carolina, Iowa, and the stray Nebraska EV, and he'd still come out with 275 EVs (using the EV map at, which I believe reflects the results of the Census). The growth of NoVa and Denver has brought those two once-red states all the way to purple-blue at the federal level.

I don't see any Gore-Kerry-Obama states that any Republican candidate on the horizon would have any chance of seriously contesting. Most of the McCain states are pretty well locked in to the Republican candidate as well (except, of course, Palin). Adding Colorado and Virginia to the Democratic side brings the total across the finish line.

That sets the starting conditions, whatever else happens - any Republican challenger has to be able to sweep all the swing states, plus cut into some states where Obama starts out favored, or they might as well stay home. That might be why the Republican field is so extremely weak right now; the only people willing to take a run at it are the ones with nothing to lose and the ones with no better prospect than hoping to best a weak field in the primary and then get a lightning-strike surprise in the general.

Larry G said...

Let's see.

The Republicans have alienated, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Homosexuals, unions, teachers, and now women with the new abortion law.

And they still think they can elect hard right ideologues who have no intention to govern anyhow but no-compromise rule?

ha ha ha

One thing about those hard right guys... they do very much live in their own little world... and of course that's why revisionist history is also so important to them.

It's starting to look like that most American Demographic groups other than the angry white man group are catching on to what the Republicans are really about these days - the 20% hard core right wing and not an inch to the left of them.

Tyler Healey said...

Great post. Obama is a lock to win in Virginia. If he does not, I will leave this state and never come back.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I don't know where you idiots are living but right now, Virginia is very much a RED state. Remember, liberals, that Republicans swept the Governor, Lt Gov, and Atty General positions away from the loser liberals with no effort at all. Gov. McDonnell has turned Virginia into a SURPLUS while NOT RAISING taxes at all. He enjoys a 66% approval rating.
All you fools who think Obama is so loved are obviously on crack or drunk. Considering all the reputable polls show he has had strong DISapproval numbers for over a year, he is NOT a lock to "win" Virginia.
And for you who say you'll leave if he doesn't capture Va, I'll help you pack your bags.

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