“What happened with Mr. Obama is that he worked to get Obamacare at any cost that he lost sight of the economy,” said Read, who is an independent. “That looms large in people’s minds. He didn’t completely tackle that.”
Read said Romney needs to show what he can do to improve the economy to get his vote.
Candace Swartz, 41, a Republican from Warren County, said she will vote for Romney.
“To be honest, I’m not really great about any politicians right now,” said Swartz, who works as a quality coordinator for Kraft Foods. “But Mitt Romney seems to be the best one between the two. . . . A lot of it’s the economy, a lot of it is just [Obama’s] general policies. I don’t believe in the health care, Obamacare.”
Obama made early investments in the state, and now has 13 offices open and dozens of paid staff members. Virginia Republicans have seven field offices that will be used to boost Romney as well as other party candidates, and the Romney campaign announced Thursday that Sara Craig, Romney’s state director during the Iowa caucuses, will run his Virginia operations.
Romney has not been able to improve his statewide support from a poll a year ago even as his GOP primary opponents have fallen by the wayside. Yet he leads Obama by a huge margin among Republicans, just as Obama holds a major lead among Democrats. The key to the president’s overall edge can be found in the middle of the spectrum. He has an advantage among independents, and a 23-point lead among self-described moderates.
And if Romney hopes to increase his chances in Virginia, choosing Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) as his running mate may not do the trick. More than two-thirds of voters say adding McDonnell to the ticket wouldn’t make much difference in their choice, 11 percent say it would make them more likely to back the Republican ticket, and 19 percent say it would push them toward Obama’s side.
As in the past several statewide elections, the outer suburbs of Washington are among the state’s most competitive battlegrounds — Romney and Obama are essentially tied in the ring that includes Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier counties. They also are neck and neck in and around Richmond. Obama runs up the score with wide leads in the inner D.C. suburbs and the Tidewater area. Romney’s strength is in central and western Virginia.
The state’s voters may want change, but the desired direction is far less clear than it was before the 2008 election. In the summer of 2007, nearly two-thirds said they were dissatisfied with or angry at the George W. Bush administration; far fewer now say so of Obama’s. More now say they’re unhappy with Republicans in Congress than the executive branch. And although 83 percent of voters four years ago said they thought the country was on the “wrong track,” that number now sits at 65 percent.
The poll was conducted by telephone April 28 to May 2 among a random sample of 1,101 Virginia adults, including 964 registered voters and users of both conventional and cellular phones. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Polling manager Peyton M. Craighill, polling analyst Scott Clement, and staff writers Amy Gardner, Anita Kumar and Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.