For the first time in this election cycle, President Barack Obama inches ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate, 47 - 43 percent in Virginia, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Romney has a commanding lead among likely Republican primary voters in the state's no-Newt Gingrich presidential primary.
In the Obama-Romney matchup, independent voters favor the president 45 - 41 percent, compared to a 41 - 41 percent tie in December. A gender gap is opening up as women shift to the president, backing him 52 - 40 percent, compared to a 43 - 45 percent split in December. Men back Romney 47 - 43 percent, compared to 43 - 42 percent in December.
"For the first time since Quinnipiac University began polling Virginia voters on the race, President Barack Obama holds a razor-thin lead over Gov. Mitt Romney," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The keys are the president's improved standing among independent voters and women in the Old Dominion."
"The Obama bump could be driven by the perception that the economy is improving. And, the nasty GOP primary fight is not helping Romney, exposing swing voters to lots of negative attacks on him from within his own party," Brown added.