A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney 51%-46% in Virginia.
The latest PPP poll of Virginia shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 51%-46%. This is unchanged from an August 21 poll that showed the president leading 50%-45%. It appears that Romney’s much criticized Libya response may have hurt him with voters in the state, as 48% of those polled disapproved of Romney’s remarks while 41% approved.
The much discussed enthusiasm gap has completely shifted in Virginia as 73% of Democrats are very excited to vote compared to 63% of Republicans. The lack of enthusiasm for Romney among white voters is showing up in Virginia. Only 57% of white voters are very excited to vote, in contrast to 85% of the state’s African-Americans.
Obama has a 14 point lead among women, 56%-42%. The president leads with African-Americans, 91%-7%, and with young voters, 56%-37%. Obama now leads Romney on his former signature issue of the economy, 49%-47%, and with non-white voters, 63%-30%.
What is truly striking is how much the Romney coalition resembles the McCain coalition of 2008. Romney leads with white voters 57%-40%, and with seniors 54%-43%. Romney leads with men, 51%-45%.
A statistic that Democrats in the state will find most encouraging is that by a ten point margin young voters (72%) are more enthusiastic about voting than seniors (62%).
Obviously, this poll is an encouraging sign for Obama and terrible news for Mitt Romney. The Republican nominee could be on the cusp of seeing his entire campaign unravel. Romney appears to be losing ground or treading water everyday, and he still has to survive for two more weeks before he will have his next best chance to turn the momentum around at the first presidential debate.
There is still plenty of time for the dynamics of the contest to change, but after spending the better part of a year with the electoral winds in his face, Barack Obama has been able to build momentum.
The Romney campaign may be facing an unwinnable battle of inertia fueled perception. If the perception becomes that Romney is going to lose, political inertia will take over and a self fulfilling prophecy begins to take over.
President Obama has a lot of paths to victory on Election Day, but Mitt Romney absolutely has to have Virginia. If Romney fails to win Virginia, while also losing Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, this election will be an Obama rout.
The state of the election will be more clear in mid-October than in mid-September, but it is clear that Romney is trailing, and his inability to build any kind of lead of substance in Virginia is a sign of a campaign that is treading water in a critical state.
Obama may not need Virginia, but a victory there would all be guarantee him reelection. The bluing of Virginia would signal four more years for Barack Obama.