Poll: Obama Trails Romney, Perry in Virginia

Poll: Obama Trails Romney, Perry in Virginia

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - September 26, 2011

A new survey shows an uphill climb for President Obama in the critical battleground state of Virginia. According to a Roanoke College poll released Monday, the president's approval ratings are upside down and he trails the two top Republican challengers.

Just 39 percent of Virginians approve of Obama's job performance while 54 percent disapprove. And a slight plurality doesn’t want to send him back to the White House for a second term.

When matched against a generic Republican candidate, the president trails by 33 percent to 41 percent. In a head-to-head matchup against Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor attracts 45 percent to Obama’s 37 percent. When pitted against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Obama runs virtually neck-and-neck but still trails, 42 percent to 40 percent. Meanwhile, the president leads Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, 46 percent to 35 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, 43 percent to 33 percent, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 50 percent to 31 percent.

Compounding the president's challenges in the state, 81 percent of Virginians think the country is on the wrong track.

Virginia will be a key battleground state for the president and whoever emerges as the Republican nominee. Voters in the Old Dominion gave Obama a seven-point win over John McCain in 2008. Voters chose George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004 by a nine-point margin.

Virginia will also play an important role this cycle in determining the balance of power in the Senate. Incumbent Democrat Jim Webb is retiring, leaving his seat up for grabs. Republican George Allen, a former governor and senator, leads Democrat Tim Kaine, also an ex-governor and former Democratic National Committee chairman, by a slim 42 percent to 39 percent margin, within the poll's sampling error. Allen leads Kaine among independents, 42 percent to 33 percent, while Kaine takes moderates, 52 percent to 30 percent.

Roanoke surveyed 601 likely voters from Sept. 6-17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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