A new poll shows President Obama pulling ahead of Mitt Romney in the key state of Virginia.

Obama wins the support of 47 percent of registered voters surveyed to Romney's 43, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.


The survey marks a turnaround for the president. A Dec. 21 poll by Quinnipiac showed Romney edging Obama 44 percent to 42.

"For the first time since Quinnipiac University began polling Virginia voters on the race, President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaForget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Obama shares summer reading list MORE holds a razor-thin lead over Gov. Mitt Romney," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Assistant Director Peter A. Brown in a release.

"The Obama bump could be driven by the perception that the economy is improving. And the nasty GOP primary fight is not helping Romney, exposing swing voters to lots of negative attacks on him from within his own party."

Virginia voters, however, still give Obama a negative job approval rating: Forty-nine percent disapprove to 46 percent approving. Forty-eight percent said Obama did not deserve a second term while 46 percent said he deserved to be reelected.

The president, though, leads with independent voters who back him over Romney by 45 to 41 percent. Romney also trails among female voters, with 52 percent backing Obama to 40 percent for the former Massachusetts governor.

Obama carried Virginia in the 2008 election.

Romney is the clear leader in the GOP fight for Virginia, with Quinnipiac showing him ahead of Texas Rep. Ron Paul 68 percent to 19.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) both failed to qualify for the state's primary. Gingrich had initially said he would sue to obtain a ballot spot, but dropped his legal challenge earlier this week.

Obama also leads the rest of the GOP field in the state, with a 15-point edge against Gingrich in a hypothetical match-up, earning 51 percent support to 37 percent. Against Santorum, Obama leads 49 percent to 41 and bests Ron Paul by seven points, 47 percent to 40.

In the high-profile Senate race, Democrat Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE is in a statistical dead heat with likely GOP candidate George Allen. Kaine leads 45 percent to 44, within the poll's margin of error.

The poll surveyed 1,544 registered voters from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6 and has a 2.5 percent margin of error. For Republican primary questions, 546 likely voters were surveyed and the poll has a 4.2 percent margin of error.