Virginia: Obama's Numbers Up; Senate Race Still Tied

There is no doubt that President Barack Obama's performance in Virginia will have some degree of effect on Tim Kaine's (left) Senate campaign, either positive or negative. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With no end in sight for the GOP presidential nomination fight, President Barack Obama's numbers are on the rise in the Old Dominion.

A Quinnipiac University poll released today found Obama's support in Virginia reaching new heights, while the Senate race remains within the margin of error.

In a race with Mitt Romney, Obama hit 50 percent support and led the likely GOP nominee by 8 points, up from a 4-point margin last month. Likely Senate nominee Tim Kaine (D) has not received the same kind of boost against George Allen (R), as the battle of the former governors remains a statistical tie, where it's been since Kaine entered the race last April.

Kaine has never hit 50 percent against Allen, but his percentage has increased in recent months. He took 47 percent in today's poll to Allen's 44 percent. Allen has had the same percentage in the past four Quinnipiac polls, while Kaine has crept up from 42 percent in December and 45 percent last month.

Allen's campaign strategy has been to tie Kaine and Obama into a joint package, in hopes the president drags the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee down. In fact, the campaign did so again today by launching a new website, TooMuchAtThePump.com, which features a picture of both Democrats at the top of the page and argues Allen is the only one among them with an "all of the above" approach to energy — something Virginia Democrats disagreed with in their own statement today.

There is no doubt that Obama's performance in the state will have some degree of effect on Kaine, either positive or negative, and that Obama's poll performance will fluctuate until November, depending in large part on the economy. But it's also true that Virginia voters already have opinions of the likely Senate nominees, as Allen and Kaine have both won statewide more than once.

Virginia statewide races are essentially a battle for independents, and Obama led Romney among that voting bloc by a slim margin of 46 to 43 percent. Also of importance, Obama's overall approval rating hit 49 percent this month, up from a recent low of 40 percent in September and 42 percent in December. Forty-six percent of independents approved of Obama's job performance, up 3 points from February, while 49 percent did not approve.

Although women's health issues have been a hot topic on Capitol Hill and in Richmond and other states in the past month, there has been little movement in the Senate race among women from last month's poll, taken before the news of an ultrasound measure took off.

Kaine led 47 percent to 39 percent among women in the Feb. 8 poll, and he led 49 percent to 40 percent among women in today's poll.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,034 registered voters from March 13 to 18 and had a 3.1-point margin of error.