This is the kind of headline I like to see on the front page of the Washington Post: Poll Gives Obama 8-Point Va. Lead: McCain’s Image Still Linked to Bush.
Obama has the lead, the momentum and the organization in Virginia. The poll shows Obama leading 52% – 44%, but check out this info:
Obama has opened almost 50 offices, dispatched more than 250 paid staffers and recruited thousands of volunteers to knock on doors and call voters across the state.
The poll indicates that Obama’s staff and volunteers have made staggering gains in reaching out to Virginia’s 5 million registered voters. More than half of all voters surveyed said they have been contacted in person, on the phone or by e-mail or text message about voting for Obama, far more than said so about McCain.
Obama’s ground game is being supplemented with a highly energized base of supporters who could give him an advantage in the important get-out-the vote effort.
Seven in 10 Obama supporters said they are “very enthusiastic” about voting for him, an increase from the late September poll. By contrast, 39 percent are that keen on McCain’s candidacy, a 6 percentage-point dip over that period.
Obama has an almost 2 to 1 advantage over McCain in Northern Virginia, surpassing even the 60 percent mark that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) racked up in the region during their successful campaigns in 2005 and 2006.
Obama is also performing far better elsewhere in Virginia than Democrats have done in recent state and federal elections. He and McCain each drew 48 percent of the vote outside Northern Virginia, a signal that Obama’s repeated visits, as well as his multimillion-dollar advertising blitz, has softened the GOP base in the more rural parts of the state.
On the other hand, McCain is dealing with the double whammy of Bush and Palin. First, Bush:
Bush’s unpopularity remains a central liability for McCain in Virginia; 53 percent of voters said the senator would lead the nation in the same direction as Bush has, and these voters overwhelmingly support Obama.
Palin also is dragging down McCain in Virginia, the poll indicates. Half of Virginia voters now have “strongly” or “somewhat” negative views of the Alaska governor, a 12 percentage-point increase from September.
Concerns about Palin, who is scheduled to campaign today in Fredericksburg and Leesburg, might be compounded by widespread apprehension about McCain’s taking office at 72. That would make him the oldest person to be elected to a first term as president, and 48 percent of Virginia voters said they are uncomfortable about that.