A fresh survey of Virginia shows exceedingly tight Senate and presidential matchups, the latest indication that the state is likely to host some of the nation’s closest contests in November.
Recent polls have consistently shown Virginia to be up for grabs in the race for the White House, and the same is true in the newest survey from Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy. The poll, taken in conjunction with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, shows former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) leading President Obama (D) among registered voters, 46 to 43 percent, while former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) leads the incumbent 46 to 42 percent. Both leads are within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Notably, the CNU poll finds Obama doing poorly among independent voters, trailing Romney by 13 points and Santorum by a whopping 23 points.
Those numbers are markedly different from the results of a Quinnipiac University poll released two weeks ago, which showed Obama winning independents by 4 points over Romney and 11 points over Santorum. A Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey from January reportedly had Romney leading Obama among independents by 5 points.
Fortunately for Romney, Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) did not qualify for the ballot for Virginia’s March 6 primary. Romney’s sole opponent will be Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), and the CNU poll shows Romney leading Paul among likely Republican voters, 53 percent to 23 percent.
But the survey isn’t all good news for Romney: 57 percent of Republican and independent voters said they’d like to see other names on the primary ballot.
In the race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D), the CNU poll is the latest in a long line to show a near-tie between former governors George Allen (R) and Timothy M. Kaine (D), their respective parties’ likely nominees.
The survey gives Allen a statistically insignificant 42 to 40 percent lead over Kaine. Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), a recent entrant into the Senate race, trails Kaine by 11 points in a hypothetical matchup, while former Virginia Tea Party Patriots head Jamie Radtke is 14 points behind Kaine.
The CNU poll surveyed 1,018 Virginia registered voters by telephone Feb. 4-13, a relatively long time for a poll to be in the field.