Obama also enjoys a wide lead among likely voters (56 percent to 35 percent) on the question of social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
Statewide, Romney and Obama are running nearly even on whom voters trust more to handle military spending, with the Republican neutralizing an advantage since September. Romney has taken a 13-point lead on the issue in Washington’s outer suburbs, including Loudoun, Fauquier and Prince William counties. In the inner suburbs, Obama continues to hold a wide lead.
Romney is also winning among military veterans and service members on active duty. His lead, 59 percent to 38 percent, is a dramatic improvement from September, when the split was 51 percent to 47 percent.
Both campaigns are at least as focused on motivating partisans as persuading swing voters. Just over half of likely self-identified independent voters in the inner Washington suburbs, for instance, have been contacted by either campaign, compared with more than six in 10 of those who identify with a particular party.
In Virginia, contrary to the most recent national numbers, Obama has an edge on enthusiasm: Among his backers, 70 percent are “very enthusiastic” about his candidacy, compared with 56 percent of those who back Romney. But Obama’s supporters appear to need more of a nudge than Romney’s do. Ninety percent of Democrats contacted by Obama said they are “absolutely certain” they’ll vote, compared with 82 percent who had not been contacted; among Republicans, more than nine in 10 said they are certain to vote regardless of whether they had been contacted.
More broadly, the poll shows that the 2012 electorate in Virginia is shaping up as similar, though slightly less Democratic, than the state’s electorate in 2008.
The poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,504 adults from Oct. 22 through Oct. 26 on conventional and cellular phones. Among the sample of 1,228 likely voters, the poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Jon Cohen, Peyton M. Craighill, Errin Haines, Rachel S. Karas, Ben Pershing and Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.