By Justin Sink
A new set of battleground polls hold encouraging signs for President Obama, with the incumbent leading in both Ohio and Virginia — two battlegrounds Republican nominee Mitt Romney will likely need if he is to win the White House.
In Ohio, a SurveyUSA poll released Wednesday morning gave the president a 47-to-44 percent advantage, in line with recent surveys that have shown the incumbent with a small but steady advantage in the Buckeye State.
Meanwhile, a new survey from Old Dominion University gives the president a 50-43 percent advantage in Virginia.
But the Old Dominion poll was conducted over nearly four weeks' time, drawing into question its usefulness in a rapidly changing presidential race. The president held a substantial lead in Virginia prior to the first presidential debate, a consensus victory for Romney that has boosted his prospects across the board.
"The level of support that Obama had in September began to evaporate as we moved into October," Richman said.
Still, there were other encouraging signs for Romney within the data. In Ohio, independent voters favored the Republican challenger by a 47-39 percent margin. Romney held advantages among whites (49-44 percent), voters over 50 years old (49-45) and men (49-42) — all groups the president has tried to target at recent campaign stops and in ad spending.
But the president holds a commanding lead among women, young voters and minorities. And the SurveyUSA poll seems to back up the boasting from the Obama campaign that it is dominating the early voting effort; according to the poll, 58 percent of those who have already voted cast a ballot for Obama.
And the Old Dominion survey found strong support for Democratic Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who led former Sen. George Allen (R) 50-43 percent. That could signal growing support for the Democratic ticket in Virginia.