Late Deciders Push Romney to Lead Over Obama in VA

Allen overtakes Kaine in VA Senate race

Governor Mitt Romney has overtaken President Barack Obama by a narrow margin in Virginia (49% – 44%), according to a Roanoke College Poll conducted after the Presidential debates. Republican George Allen also enjoys a 5 point lead over Democrat Tim Kaine (47% – 42%) in the race for the U.S. Senate seat in Virginia.

The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 638 likely voters in Virginia between Oct. 23 and October 26 and has a margin of error of +4 percent. Employing a more stringent screen for likely voters increases Romney’s lead to 54 percent to 41 percent and Allen’s lead to 51 percent to 39 percent.

Only 5 percent of the electorate remains undecided in the Presidential contest, while the other candidates on the ballot draw smaller numbers of voters (Johnson, 2%; Stein 1%; and Goode 1%). Among those who made their vote decision after one or more of the debates, Romney leads 53 percent to 35 percent.

Sources of Support

Romney now leads among men (52% – 39%), Republicans (95% – 4%), Conservatives (87% – 9%), and those aged 50-64 (55% – 37%), 65 or older (61% – 36%), and white voters (61% – 33%). Obama still holds strong leads among Democrats (94% – 2%), Liberals (89% – 8%), younger voters 18-34 years old (55% – 28%), and African-Americans (89% – 6%), but his lead among women has statistically disappeared (48% – 47%).

Three-fourths (77%) of Obama supporters say their vote is a vote for him rather than a vote against Romney (15%). Just over half of Romney supporters (55%) say their vote is a vote for Romney and 22 percent say their vote is a vote against Obama. This is stronger enthusiasm for Romney compared to the Oct. 2 Roanoke College Poll.

The Virginia Senate Race

In the matchup of former governors, the cross tabulations are very similar to those in the Presidential vote. Only 5 percent of Obama supporters plan to vote for Allen, and 3 percent of Romney supporters say they will vote for Kaine. There are still twice as many undecided voters in this race (10%), when compared to the Presidential contest.

While many polls, including the Oct. 2 Roanoke College Poll, suggest that Kaine has been running a few points stronger than Obama, the results here reveal a very high percentage of straight-ticket voting and Presidential coattails.

Favorable / Unfavorable Views; Important Issues

President Obama’s favorable rating is 48 percent (46% unfavorable), almost unchanged in a month, while Mitt Romney’s ratings are up significantly from a month ago (49% favorable; 39% unfavorable).

 Governor Bob McDonnell sits at a 46 percent favorable rating. George Allen and Tim Kaine are virtually tied in their favorable ratings (Allen–45%, Kaine–44%), but Kaine’s unfavorable ratings are slightly higher (Kaine – 41%, Allen – 33%). Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan (47% favorable, 38% unfavorable) fares better than Vice-President Joe Biden (42% favorable, 47% unfavorable).

Governor Romney has erased President Obama’s lead with regard to doing a better job on several specific issues. Romney is now perceived as being capable of doing a better job on unemployment (53% – 41%), taxes (48% – 44%), and immigration (46% – 42%). Romney maintains his lead on dealing with the budget deficit (55%-36%). Obama still leads on foreign policy (49% – 43%) and Medicare (48% – 44%), and they are statistically tied on Social Security (Obama 45% – 44%) and health care (47% – 47%).

Poll results indicate that Virginia residents still think that Obama understands them better than Romney does, but the gap has nearly disappeared. More than half (56%) think Obama understands the needs of people like them very well or fairly well (unchanged in a month), while 53 percent say the same about Mitt Romney (up 12% in a month). Romney is now thought to be a stronger leader (48% – 44%).

Not surprisingly, the issues noted as most important to the likely voters centered on the economy. More than half (51%) cited the economy in general as most important, while 9 percent mentioned unemployment or jobs, and 4 percent said the budget deficit was most important. Eight percent said health care was most important to them, and 6 percent cited women’s issues or abortion as most important. Romney holds strong leads among those citing economic issues, while Obama fared better among those naming health care or women’s issues.


“What a difference a month can make,” said Dr. Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. “Governor Romney made up a lot of ground during and after the debates. Those likely voters who made their decision during or after the debates favor Romney by 18 percent.”

“While President Obama’s approval rating and favorable rating are largely unchanged from last month, Governor Romney’s numbers have improved dramatically. Almost certainly, the debates helped Romney tremendously. This is now a very close race, and the momentum seems to be on Romney’s side.”

“With regard to the Senate race, we now see strong evidence of Presidential coattails. The fates of Allen and Kaine may now be in the hand of the Presidential nominees.”

Interviewing for The Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., between Oct. 23 and Oct. 26, 2012. A total of 638 likely voters in Virginia were interviewed. The data were statistically weighted for gender, race, and age.

A copy of the release, questionnaire and frequencies and the cross tabs may be found on the Roanoke College web site.

Latest Articles

  1. Just 4 short years ago, AMERICA was brought to its knees by the GOP/GWB reign of terror. They want your vote to terrorize us even more. Walk away from their deception, please, for America’s sake. Vote for President Obama, who saved us from their destruction.

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -

Related Articles