Big 10-Round 2-VA

After a planned convention-time hiatus from our public polls, We Ask America is back with Round 2 in our Big 10 series of presidential polls–starting with Virginia.

Mitt Romney was doing well in Virginia in late June when we last polled here. But a lackluster convention, his stutter-step campaign and recently reported in-fighting among top staff have caused many pundits to wonder out loud about his prospects. Barack Obama has avoided similar problems…so far.

As in all of the series of states we’re polling, this survey was conducted by automated means. After qualifying each individual in regards to ability (registered voter) and intention to vote this fall, we asked the following straightforward question:

“If the election for president were held today, for whom would you vote?”

The options were randomize and included Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson to measure third-party support. We then followed up with such demographic questions such as gender, age, and political party I.D. Weighting was applied when any of those demographics fell out of the norm. In addition, we applied our proprietary weighting system that compares 65 other bits of criteria to what we believe should be expected. Here are our results with a Party ID breakdown:

Poll type:: Automated Date: Sept. 17, 2012 - Participants: 1,285 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.75%
 Barack ObamaMitt Romney Gary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS48.5%45.7%1.1%4.7%
GOP ONLY9.9%87.2%0.2%2.7%
DEM ONLY88.3%6.9%0.7%4.1%
IND ONLY41.1%47.6%2.3%9.0%

The nearly eight-point swing in results since June aren’t entirely surprising and shouldn’t be viewed by either side as a true trend–yet. Although cable news networks’ breathless reports have a tendency to magnify the slightest mood swings of the electorate, President Obama clearly received a nice bounce out of the convention while Romney has stumbled a bit. The hotly contest Senate race in Virginia featuring Democrat Tim Kaine vs. Republican George Allen will continue to suck some of the air out of the political atmosphere: the Real Clear Politics average show Allen up slightly, but our privately conducted polls for one client have him doing better than the average. At any rate, outside money is flowing into Virginia for Kaine and Allen at a rate fast enough to set an advertising rep’s heart a-flutter. Those ceaseless ads for the Senate race will eventually dull viewer’ senses to political messaging, making it tougher for those lagging behind to break through the clutter.

Clearly, Romney must quickly find his bearings in order to get back into the game in this must-win state.