Suffolk poll shows closer race in Virginia

President Barack Obama (46 percent) clings to a 2-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney (44 percent), in a swing-state nail-biter, according to a Suffolk University/NBC12 (WWBT-Richmond) poll of likely general-election voters in Virginia. Seven percent were undecided.

The race is close – with survey results within the statistical margin of error – despite a decided popularity advantage for Obama. He boasted a +8 (52 percent favorable to 44 percent unfavorable) to Romney’s -3 (42 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable).

“Barack Obama shows personal popularity and strength, especially outside of the D.C. area in northern Virginia,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “However, with job approval and head-to-head numbers stuck at 46 percent, it will be a significant challenge for Obama to convince the remaining undecided voters to re-elect him.”

Of the other three presidential candidates remaining on the Virginia ballot, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode and Libertarian Gary Johnson each received 1 percent, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein tallied less than 1 percent.

In the open race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen are tied at 44 percent in the poll.

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