Poll finds Obama with 5-point lead in Virginia

A new poll finds President Obama with a 5-point lead over GOP candidate Mitt Romney in the key swing state of Virginia.

A survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) released late Sunday shows Obama topping the 50 percent barrier and ahead of Romney by 51 to 46 percent support. Obama’s margin is unchanged from the 50-45 lead he held in the same poll last month.

“Obama continues to look like the definite favorite,” said Dean Debnam, PPP president, in a statement announcing the poll findings.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls, however, shows Obama with a smaller 2-point lead in the state.

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On the economy, which voters rate as the most important issue, Obama has a slight edge over Romney in the PPP poll, with 49 percent support to 47. On foreign policy, which has taken center stage after the wave of anti-American protests throughout the Muslim world, Obama holds a wider advantage, 51 to 45 percent.

Romney last week hammered Obama over his foreign policy after an anti-Islam film posted to YouTube sparked violent demonstrations that claimed the lives of four Americans in Libya. The GOP candidate said the protests highlighted Obama’s failed international leadership, while Democrats accused him of politicizing a tragedy. 

The PPP poll found that 41 percent of voters approved of how Romney responded to the incident in Libya, with 48 percent disapproving.

Overall, Romney is ahead with independents, at 47 to 45. Obama, though, has better support from his own party, with Democrats backing him 95 to 4 percent, while Republicans are backing Romney 92 percent to 7.

But the poll also finds Democratic voters saying they are more excited about the election, which could aid Obama’s turnout. Seventy-three percent of Democrats say they are “very excited” about voting in November, to 63 percent of GOP voters who said the same. 

Obama also holds a net positive favorability rating with Virginians at 50 percent favorable to 48 unfavorable. Romney, however, is still under water, at 47 favorable, 49 unfavorable.

Virginia is one of 12 battleground states Obama carried in 2008 that could determine the outcome of November’s election. 

The poll was conducted from Sept. 13 to 16 and has a 3-point margin of error.