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Poll: McCain leads in Virginia

Item by Chris Graham

A new poll conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University has likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain leading his two potential Democratic rivals in Virginia.

McCain leads Barack Obama by a 44 percent-to-36 percent margin, and he leads Hillary Clinton by a 47 percent-to-38 percent margin, according to the Commonwealth Poll.

The poll was conducted by telephone with 1,003 adults and 852 registered voters from May 12 to May 18. The poll’s margin for error is plus or minus three percentage points.

“Many political observers have been looking at Virginia as a potentially tight general election race,” said Cary Funk,director of the Commonwealth Poll and associate professor in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

“Despite the recent success of Democratic candidates such as Tim Kaine in 2005 and U.S. Sen. Jim Webb in 2006, the presidential race in Virginia at present is looking mostly like years gone by,” Funk said.

The surprise in the numbers is that Obama had done so well in Virginia in the Feb. 12 presidential primaries. Both Democrats and Republicans went to the polls on the 12th, and Obama received 627,000 votes en route to a convincing win in the Democratic primary, more than McCain and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee received in the Virginia Republican primary combined.

Obama does lead McCain in Northern Virginia, by a 41 percent-to-36 percent margin, and in the South Central part of the state that includes Richmond, by a 43 percent-to-39 percent margin. McCain’s strength is in the more rural areas of the state, including the Shenandoah Valley, and the Tidewater area.

McCain also leads Obama among independent voters, by a 44 percent-to-34 percent margin.

augusta free press
augusta free press