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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

A Double Dose of Bad News for McCain in Virginia

A pair of new polls reveal the McCain campaign has some major problems emerging in the typically red state of Virginia. The first poll, from Suffolk University,

Luqman Jackson
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 07, 2008

A pair of new polls reveal the McCain campaign has some major problems emerging in the typically red state of Virginia. The first poll, from Suffolk University, found Sen. Barack Obama holding a whopping 12-percentage point lead over Sen. John McCain in the commonwealth. From The Boston Globe:

Obama leads McCain 51 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, the Suffolk University poll found, echoing other recent polls that show the Democrat surging in battleground states.

“Barack Obama has built a coalition of suburban DC-area progressives from the north, African-American voters from the south, and young voters statewide,” David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston, said in a statement. “That broad-based support suggests a 44-year Republican run in the Old Dominion State, dating back to Lyndon Johnson’s victory in 1964, is in jeopardy.”

The poll suggests that last Thursday’s vice presidential debate helped the Democratic ticket. Three-fourths of likely voters watched the debate, which tied for the second most-watched debate ever, and 46 percent said Democrat Joe Biden bested Republican Sarah Palin, while 26 percent said Palin won and 20 percent said neither did. One-third of respondents said the debate made them more likely to vote Obama, while 18 percent said they were more likely to support McCain, and 47 percent said the debate didn’t affect their decision…

The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, Suffolk said.

At first glimpse, this poll seems to be what the McCain campaign likes to refer to as an “outlier.” Surely, the race must be much closer.

Then along comes this SurveyUSA poll of Virginians, which found Obama leading McCain in the state by a margin of 53 percent to 43 percent. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

According to SurveyUSA, Obama has made remarkable gains among white men, turning a 10-point deficit just after the Republican National Convention into an 11-point lead. That’s a 21-point reversal.

McCain no longer leads in any region of the state. In Northeastern VA, which includes the DC suburbs, Obama leads by 24 points. In Central Virginia, home of the Confederate White House, the Museum of the Confederacy and Appomattox, Obama today leads by 8. In Southeastern Virginia, Obama leads by 11. In the Shenandoah, where John McCain led by 24 points one month ago, Obama and McCain today tie.

Critics will point out that this was a poll of Virginia residents and not limited to likely voters. However, this is the third major survey in the past week to place Obama’s lead at nine percentage points or more in the state.

According to RealClearPolitics, Obama leads by an average of 4.9 points in recent major polls. The electoral handicapping Website FiveThirtyEight.com now gives Obama an 81 percent chance of winning Virginia — which doesn’t reflect these new polls, and that figure is likely to increase.

The McCain campaign is well aware that a loss in Virginia almost certainly indicates that it’s lights out for this election. It’s not surprising, then, that McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin will appear at two rallies in downstate Virginia next week — in Virginia Beach and Richmond.

Luqman Jackson | Luqman Jackson is an entrepreneur, blogger and traveler. He teaches copywriting, creative discipline, and ethical marketing. For business owners who want to learn the basics of persuasive writing, she has a weekly column, a podcast, and a copywriting course.

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