Virginia is critical to Romney’s hopes of winning the White House. Without the commonwealth, his path to 270 electoral votes would be significantly more difficult. Along with Ohio and Florida, Virginia will be one of the most fiercely contested battleground states, reflecting the importance that both campaigns have put on its 13 electoral votes.
A separate poll by Quinnipiac University, made public Wednesday, shows Obama with a smaller, four-point lead over Romney in Virginia. Obama’s lead in that poll also is unchanged from a month ago. The poll by Quinnipiac said the candidates are neck-and-neck in Colorado, another swing state, but put Obama up by six points in Wisconsin, also a key battleground.
“All the bounces seem to be over as the candidates buckle down for a seven-week down-to-the-wire race to the finish,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a written statement.
Virginia rode out the recession far better than many other states, in part because of a huge defense sector, and that appears to be working in the president’s favor. A majority of Virginia voters surveyed in the Post poll still say the country is on the wrong track. But the percentage who say it is moving in the right direction has increased nine points, to 41 percent, since May.
Obama also receives more positive job-performance ratings in Virginia than he does nationally, the Post poll found. A majority of voters — 53 percent — say they approve of how he is doing overall, and 51 percent give him positive marks for his handling of the economy. In the case of the economy, his marks in Virginia are significantly higher than those he received in the most recent Washington Post-ABC News national poll.
Romney has campaigned by arguing that his business background better qualifies him to turn around an economy with a national unemployment rate above 8 percent. But when asked whom they trust more to handle the country’s economic problems, voters divided almost evenly, with 47 percent saying the president and 45 percent choosing Romney.
But by 54 percent to 37 percent, Virginia voters say Obama better understands the economic problems that Americans are facing. The survey was completed before a video was leaked that showed Romney saying at a fundraising event that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves “victims” and are dependent on the government.