Poll: Presidential race too close to call in VA, Senate race narrows

Posted at 7:46 AM, Oct 31, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-31 12:58:17-04

(WTVR) - A new poll reveals the race for president has become even closer here in Virginia, revealing President Barack Obama is leading Mitt Romney by two percent -- less than the poll's margin of error. The survey, the combined effort of Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times, finds the President is polling at 49 percent and Mitt Romney at 47 percent.

Less than a month ago, the same poll found that the President held a five point lead.

Republicans remain more enthusiastic than Democrats in the Commonwealth, polling at 28 to 40 percent.

Virginia women continue to back President Obama. He holds a 53 to 43 percent lead over Romney with likely female voters. Men back Mitt Romney 52 to 43 percent.

“The gender gap which has marked this campaign is getting smaller in Florida and Virginia,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute..  “In general, women are about 10 points plus for President Obama and men are in Gov. Romney’s corner by about the same margin. This represents a slight increase for Romney among men and women.  In some earlier polls, Obama’s lead among women had been in the high teens."

The economy remains the most important issue for most Virginians. When asked, 49 percent named it as the most important topic, followed by health care at 15 percent  and nine percent who say the budget deficit.

Likely voters polled said 40 to 35 percent that the nations economy is improving, and 39 to 19 percent that the Commonwealth's economy is getting better. Forty percent said the state's economy was unchanged.

Most Virginians believe the president cares about their needs at concerns, polling at sixty to thirty-six percent, but remain divided on whether Mitt Romney cares--polling at 49  to 48 percent.

The poll also found the U.S. Senate race is getting tighter. Democrat Tim Kaine holds a narrow four percent lead over Republican George Allen, at 50 to 46 percent, compared to an Oct. 11 survey that gave Kaine a 12 point lead.

“Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, which opened up a little in recent months is once again getting close, with Democrat Tim Kaine holding on to a small lead.  One reason: Although George Allen is carrying independents handily, he enjoys about 10-points lower support among Republicans than Kaine does among Democrats.”

The poll was conducted from Oct. 23 to 28, before Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the East Coast.

CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth called the race "razor thin" and added "there's a way that you can to read these polls to say that Mitt Romney is going to carry the nation pretty easily, that he's going to win Virginia by three to five points.  And on the other hand there is an equally plausible way of reading most of these polls to suggest that Barack Obama is running better in the battleground states than he is in the rest of the nation; and that this is still an uphill climb to 270 electoral votes for Mitt Romney.  I have rarely seen an election that five days before, I can't really read the tea leaves and make a very-very strong prediction about who's going to win."

The poll gauged the presidential race in two other swing states: Florida and Ohio.

Like Virginia, Florida remains too close to call. There Obama leads Mitt Romney at just 48 to 47 percent--less than the polls margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

In Ohio, the President's lead in Ohio remains unchanged from an Oct. 22 poll at 5 percent.