Barack Obama made history two years ago when he became the first Democrat to win Virginia in a Presidential election since Lyndon Johnson, but Democrats have suffered in the two years since then. In 2009, Republicans swept all three statewide offices by overwhelming margins and, this month, the nationwide Republican wave turned flipped three Congressional Districts from Democratic to Republican. Despite that, the first poll out of Virginia looking ahead at the 2012 race shows that President Obama remains in good shape to win the state again:
A new PPP survey finds that with the most mentioned possible 2012 GOP hopefuls viewed dimly in the state he’d probably do it again if he had to stand for election today.
Obama leads Mitt Romney (48-43) and Mike Huckabee (49-44) each by 5 points in hypothetical contests, a margin similar to his victory over John McCain in the state. If the Republican nominee was either Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin Obama’s lead widens to 11 points, by spreads of 52-41 and 51-40 respectively.
Obama has pretty good approval numbers in the state with 50% of voters giving him good marks to 45% who disapprove. His numbers certainly compare well to the favorability numbers of the top GOP contenders. Only Huckabee, at 40/40, can even break even on that front. The rest of the crowd has pretty negative numbers with Mitt Romney at -13 (33/46), Newt Gingrich at -21 (32/53), and Sarah Palin at -23 (35/58).
The main reason that Republicans were able to succeed in Virginia in 2009 and 2010 is because large numbers of the people who voted for President Obama two years ago stayed home. Assuming they show up at the polls two years from now, the President is in good shape to win the state again. In any case, anyone who thought that Virginia had all of a sudden become a red state again should put that idea to rest. We’re a battleground.