Obama's numbers slide since 2008 win in Virginia

President Obama has seen his approval numbers slip in Virginia after becoming the first Democrat to win the state since 1964.

Forty-four percent of Virginians said they approve of the way Obama is handling his job, compared to 48 percent who said they disapprove, according to a Clarus Research Poll released  Tuesday.

For Obama, his numbers mean a serious decline from 2008, when he beat Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the state, 53-47 percent, to become the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson to carry the state in the Electoral College.

Obama's numbers have particularly declined among independent voters, according to the poll. 36 percent of self-identified independents said they approve of the way the president is handling his job, while 47 percent disapprove.

While Virginia isn't necessarily essential to Obama's reelection hopes in 2012, if his campaign were to concede the state from the outset, it would essentially narrow the playing field to other swing states where the eventual Republican nominee could focus his or her resources. The president's numbers have suffered in two other GOP-leaning states, North Carolina and Indiana, which he won in 2008.

Obama's numbers could also spell trouble down the ballot for the state's congressional delegation. Republicans won three Democratic-held seats in Virginia (from Reps. Glenn Nye, Tom Perriello and Rick Boucher) in 2010's election, and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is expected to face a tough reelection challenge in 2012.

The Clarus poll found Webb was virtually tied in a hypothetical matchup against former Sen. George Allen (R) in a race that would retry the pair's 2006 contest. Webb would win 41 and Allen would win 40 percent of the vote if the election were held today, the poll found.

The poll, conducted Dec. 7-9, has a 4 percent margin of error.

Updated 12:05 p.m.