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Joseph Michalowizc, 67, of Manassas, a retired government scientist who has gone back to work as a contractor for the Naval Research Laboratory, voted for Obama last year and is almost positive he will vote for Deeds this year.

"It's primarily his stance backing the president," Michalowizc said. "I think Obama's been doing amazingly well, given the mess he was confronted with. The economic situation was really a disaster. . . . People tend to get impatient. Most of that is from people who would have been opposed from the beginning."

But although 75 percent of Virginia voters who backed Obama said they would vote for Deeds, 13 percent plan to vote for McDonnell.

Kaine, who has faced criticism in recent months from people who do not think he should have taken the DNC job while governor, has seen his approval ratings drop from 66 percent of registered voters last year to 55 percent this month.

Kaine's approval rating has dropped from 52 percent to 39 percent among Republicans since last year and from 66 percent to 51 percent among independents. It has held steady in southeastern Virginia but has declined in other regions, with the sharpest decrease in the western part of the state.

Delight Booker, 61, a school librarian from Richmond, said he is leaning toward voting for Deeds, partly because he vows to follow in the footsteps of Kaine and former governor Mark R. Warner.

"We have had two great Democratic governors in the state, and I want that to continue," Booker said. "Mark Warner pulled us out of financial ruin. We were in horrible financial straits, and he came in and really, really straightened it out. Tim Kaine continued on that same pathway."

Sixteen percent of registered voters said Kaine's DNC job helps his performance as governor, and 28 percent said it hurts his performance. Fifty-three percent said it made no difference.

Fred Weck, 70, of Great Falls, the director of a music program in elementary schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, grew up a Democrat but became a Republican. Now, he says, he's neither. He voted for Obama last year and will probably vote for Deeds this year.

"I think Governor Kaine has done a pretty good job," he said. "The comment that maybe he's maybe spent a little too much time at the DNC probably has some value. How could it not? But I don't see that it's done any visible damage."

Polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta and staff writers Sandhya Somashekhar and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.


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