Obama, who in 2008 became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Virginia since the 1960s, leads his closest potential Republican challenger in the state by six points, according to polling done Feb. 24-27 by Public Policy Polling.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the candidate trailing Obama by six in Virginia, 48 percent to 42 percent in the PPP poll. Obama leads former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 51 percent to 43 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 51 percent to 39 percent, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin 54 percent to 39 percent.
“Virginia is just as strong for Barack Obama right now, if not stronger, than it was in 2008,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “That’s very good news for his reelection prospects because it’s hard to imagine him taking Virginia without winning overall.”
Good news for Obama, bad news for the GOP field – all of which tested negatively in Virginia, from Huckabee (40 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable) down to Palin (30 percent favorable, 63 percent unfavorable). Obama’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 48 percent/45 percent.
The big leads for Obama despite the low net favorability rating for him in the Virginia numbers is more a sign of the weakness of the GOP field than Obama’s relative electoral strength, according to Debnam.
Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].