President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 8 points in a Washington Post poll of Virginia.
Obama's 2008 Virginia win marked the first time in decades the state had voted for a Democrat for president. Obama leads 52 percent to 44 percent among a sample of likely voters, essentially unchanged from the Post's last survey of the state, taken in late April and early May.
"Obama's steady lead suggests that an unprecedented barrage of TV ads and dozens of in-person visits have yet to change the bottom line in the key battleground state," the Post wrote.
Winning Virginia would give Obama numerous paths to 270 electoral votes, while Romney's chances are severely hampered by a shrinking number of competitive states. The PollTracker Average of the presidential race in Virginia shows Obama ahead 3.1 percent.
Post analysts pointed to local optimism on the economy, an issue that Obama has struggled on nationally. "In a place that rode out the recession with relative ease thanks to a huge defense sector, voters are split about evenly on Obama's handling of the economy," they wrote. "But Romney runs evenly with Obama when it comes to whom voters trust to deal with the economy, which most Virginians, like all Americans, consider to be the most important issue."
The president performed strongly on job approval in the Post poll: 52 percent approve of his performance, and 43 percent disapprove among likely voters. Romney's personal rating has recovered in the state and runs about evenly:
The Washington Post poll used 934 interviews with registered Virginia voters, conducted via landlines and cell phones, on Sept. 12-16. Likely voters totaled 847. The margin of error for both samples was 4 percent.