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Poll Holds Good News for Obama, McCain in Va.

Tim Craig

Republican presidential nominee John McCain is competitive with Sen. Barack Obama(Ill.) in Northern Virginia, but the Democratic nominee has opened up a 13-point lead in Hampton Roads and parts of Southside, according to the CNN/Time poll released this week.

McCain has a narrow 4 point lead statewide, according to the poll conducted Sunday through Tuesday. McCain holds a 20-point advantage in the Shenandoah Valley and Southwestern Virginia, getting 56 percent of the vote compared to Obama's 36 percent. McCain holds a similar lead in central Virginia, which includes the Disrict's exurbs, the Northern Neck, Richmond and it suburbs and south-central areas of the state.

But in Southeastern Virginia - which includes Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and the other counties on the North Carolina border - Obama leads McCain by a margin of 54 percent to 41 percent. The numbers represent a significant reversal in attitudes compared to the 2004 election. President Bush won that region of the state by 4 points over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) during the 2004 race. Hampton Roads has a big African-American population but is also home to a large bloc of evangelical voters and more than a dozen military installations.

In Northern Virginia, however, Obama appears to be struggling to expand Democratic performance compared to past presidential nominees.

Obama holds just a six percentage point advantage in Loudoun, Prince William, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria. He still leads McCain 51 percent to 45 percent, but the poll suggests Obama won't be able to rack up the same margins in Northern Virginia that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) got in their races.

When compared to historical voting patterns, the CNN/Time poll numbers indicate McCain probably holds a comfortable lead in Prince William and Loudoun while Obama is drawing strong support in Democratic Alexandria and Arlington. Fairfax could be very competitive, which may be one reason McCain held his first rally in the state there on Wednesday. Obama has made winning Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William a top priority.

The poll shows Obama and McCain have both solidified their support within their parties. Ninety-one percent of Democrats say they plan to support Obama and 92 percent of Republicans say they will vote for McCain.

McCain's overall 4-point lead can be attributed to Independents; who favor McCain 49 percent to 40 percent. McCain also has a nearly 2 to 1 advantage among white voters in the CNN/Time poll. White voters gave President Bush similar support over Kerry in 2004, according to exit polls.

By Tim Craig  |  September 12, 2008; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Election 2008/President , John McCain , Polls , Tim Craig  
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I think one thing skewing these numbers is the fact that most polls don't include people who don't have a land line. We have huge support among the under 30 crowd, but with VoIP and Cell phones many of those people aren't polled. There is also the issue of college voters who are probably not well represented.

Sen. Obama is doing well in Hampton Roads and I think he'll take Fairfax as well. I think McCain is in for a big surprise - you can't vote with Bush 90% of the time and then try to claim "Change."

Posted by: Stephanie Marushia | September 12, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

IF the young people vote OBAMA wins. STUDENTS MUST VOTE. Its your future. BARACK needs your vote and you need Barack. All college students PLEASE get registered and to the polls on NOV 4.

Posted by: obamamama12 | September 14, 2008 5:31 AM | Report abuse

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