President Barack Obama has opened up a lead in Virginia over his GOP rivals in the presidential race according to a poll released Tuesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
In what is seen as a key battleground state come November Obama leads Republican front runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 50-42 percent. The president's numbers are stronger over other GOP hopefuls, with Obama topping former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum 49-40 percent; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas 49-39 percent; and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich 54-35 percent.
"President Barack Obama has opened up some daylight in Virginia against his Republican challengers," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "His margin over Romney, in the state where Obama has been struggling after his win in 2008, compares to a slight 47 - 43 percent lead in February."
The poll also finds that although he is considered a top contender for the vice-presidential nod on a GOP ticket adding Gov. Bob McDonnell on as Romney's running mate does not change the numbers all that much, with Obama still leading in Virginia 50-43 percent.
“There has been speculation about Gov. Bob McDonnell being a possible choice for vice president by the eventual GOP nominee,” Brown said. “What this Quinnipiac University survey finds is that despite the governor’s approval ratings with Virginia voters, he does not appear to help give the GOP the state’s electoral votes.”
Brown said although Obama is strongest among women in the state, with a 52-39 percent lead, he still out did Republicans among men leading Romney 48-45 percent.
The poll also looked at the U.S. Senate race between former governors Tim Kaine, who is leading the Democratic field, and George Allen, who is the GOP front runner. Although Kaine outscores Allen 45-43 percent with a +/-3.1 percent margin of error the numbers are to close to call with Qunnipiac calling it a statistical tie.