Voters are split 44 percent to 44 percent between the two candidates, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday morning that also found the U.S. Senate race between Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine too close to call.
President Obama had been ahead 50 percent to 42 percent in a poll Quinnipiac conducted in March. His lead was 47 percent to 42 percent in the school’s June survey.
Fifty-one percent of Virginia voters, who have been inundated with campaign ads and courted in person by the candidates and their high-profile surrogates, disapprove of the job Obama is doing. Fifty percent say he does not deserve a second term, according to the poll.
By a narrow margin of 47 percent to 44 percent, voters surveyed say Romney would do a better job on the economy. But voters also support, by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent, Obama’s call to raise income taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year. In households making more than that amount, 48 percent support the idea and 51 percent oppose it.
Obama and Romney both have strong support among their respective party faithful, with Democrats backing Obama 92 percent to 4 percent and Republicans supporting Romney 91 percent to 4 percent.
But independent voters are closely divided, with Obama taking 40 percent and Romney 38 percent. The president leads 46 percent to 41 percent among women, while Romney wins with men 46 percent to 42 percent. Black voters favor Obama 88 percent to 1 percent, while white voters back Romney 55 percent to 33 percent.
“Virginia voters are sharply split along gender and political lines about the presidential race,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement that was issued with the poll results. “The two candidates equally hold their own political bases and are splitting the key independent vote down the middle.”
Brown noted that Obama still retains an edge in “likability”, with voters holding a slightly more favorable opinion of Obama than Romney.
“But neither man is exactly Mr. Popularity,” Brown said. “. . . One of them is going to win the White House, but neither would get elected Prom King.”
In the U.S. Senate race, neither candidate has pulled ahead in a contest that has been deadlocked since Quinnipiac University began polling the race last year.
Kaine and Allen, both former governors, have strong support from their respective political parties. Republicans back Allen 92 percent to 4 percent, while Democrats back Kaine 87 percent to 5 percent.
As with the presidential race, independent voters are closely split. Forty-four percent of independents support Kaine and 42 percent back Allen. Men favor Allen by a margin of 50 percent to 43 percent. Women are split with 45 percent for Kaine and 42 percent for Allen.
“The Senate race remains a dog fight, and every indication is it will remain that way until November 6,” Brown said.
Most Virginia voters say their views in the presidential race do not spill over into the Senate contest. Sixty-one percent of voters said that Obama is not a factor in their Kaine-Allen decision, while 15 percent say their Senate choice is a vote for the president and 19 percent say it’s a vote against him.
Forty-three percent of voters said they view Allen favorably, compared to 28 percent who view him unfavorably. For Kaine, the ratio is 43 percent favorable to 34 percent unfavorable.
Virginia voters are evenly split, 47 percent to 47 percent, on whether they agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obama’s health-care law. But they want Congress to repeal the law by a margin of 50 percent to 43 percent.
Sixty-three percent of voters, however, say the court’s health-care decision will not affect their vote for president. Another 25 percent say it will make them less likely to back Obama, while 10 percent say it will make them more likely to do so.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,673 registered voters on land lines and cell phones between July 10 and 16. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
Quinnipiac conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.
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