Despite widespread support for his proposal to raise taxes on income above $250,000, President Barack Obama is still tied with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Virginia, according to a new poll released Thursday.
In the latest survey from Quinnipiac University, Obama and Romney each earn the support of 44 percent of Virginia voters — a marked drop for the president, who has continued to poll well in the Commonwealth after his historic win there in 2008. Quinnipiac’s previous two polls of Virginia in March and June showed Obama with leads of 8-points and 5-points respectively.
The president’s win over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in Virginia four years ago marked the first time a Democrat carried the Old Dominion since Lyndon B. Johnson’s landslide in 1964. In many ways, the Commonwealth presents a number of natural constituencies for Obama and the Democrats — from a burgeoning minority population in northern Virginia to a large contingent of federal employees in the Washington, D.C. suburbs to significant pockets of young voters in college towns such as Charlottesville.
Moreover, Obama’s surge in Virginia earlier this year was powered in large part to a decided edge among women voters. In Quinnipiac’s last two Virginia surveys, Obama led Romney among women 52-39 percent and 51-35 percent. That commanding advantage is now gone: Thursday’s poll shows Obama with only a 5-point lead over Romney among women, 46-41 percent.
Still, Obama may be able to regain traction with what has emerged as one of the chief planks of his re-election platform. Virginia voters widely back the president’s proposed tax increase on income over $250,000. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed support the president’s proposal, while only 36 percent are opposed. A nationwide poll from Pew Research Center released earlier this week showed that, by a 2-to-1 margin, the public believes that raising taxes on annual income over $250,000 would help the economy.
Quinnipiac University conducted its poll July 10-16 using live phone interviews with 1,673 registered Virginia voters. The poll’s margin of error is 2.4 percentage points.
Tom Kludt is a newswriter for TPM. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, he lives and works in New York City. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at Tom (at) talkingpointsmemo.com.