Story by Chris Graham
Two new polls have Democrat Barack Obama opening a double-digit lead in Virginia as the campaign enters the final month.
A SurveyUSA poll released this morning has Obama leading Republican John McCain by a 53 percent-to-43 percent margin. A new Suffolk poll released today has Obama ahead of McCain by a 51 percent-to-39 percent gap.
Virginia’s numbers are tracking ahead of the national polls that have Obama holding a solid lead over McCain. Both the Gallup and Rasmussen Reports polls that we track daily at the Augusta Free Press have Obama ahead of McCain by eight-point margins. The support for Obama measured by Rasmussen has not declined by a single point for 25 consecutive days, according to the pollster for Fox News, while the results in the Gallup polling have officials there calling the underlying dynamics of the race “quite stable.”
Virginia has been unstable in favor of Obama in recent weeks, with what had been a two-point McCain lead in Virginia in the SurveyUSA polls following the Republican National Convention turning into today’s 10-point Obama lead. Obama leads among most of the demographic subgroups – getting majorities of those ages 18-64, males and females (actually pulling slightly more support among males, in a reverse of a campaign-long trend), those who have attended college and those who haven’t, regular churchgoers and agnostics and political moderates.
Most surprisingly, the SurveyUSA numbers have Obama even with McCain in the Shenandoah Valley, at 48 percent each. Obama also has a commanding 60 percent-to-36 percent lead in Northern Virginia and an 11-point lead in military vote-rich Hampton Roads.
The tidbits of note from the Suffolk poll had Virginia voters giving Mark Warner a 57 percent-to-25 percent lead over Jim Gilmore in the U.S. Senate race and Joe Biden a 46 percent-to-26 percent win over Sarah Palin in last week’s vice-presidential debate.