By: CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser
Washington (CNN) – A new poll indicates President Obama with an eight point lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the crucial battleground state of Virginia.
According to a Washington Post survey released Tuesday, 52% of likely voters in Virginia say they support the president, with 44% backing Romney. Among the wider pool of registered voters, the poll indicates Obama with a 50-43% advantage over the former Massachusetts governor.
The poll was conducted September 12-16, entirely before Monday’s release of secretly recorded clips of Romney speaking at a private fundraiser in May that critics charge portray him as out of touch with ordinary Americans. Those clips have dominated coverage of the campaign trail over the past 24 hours.
Then Sen. Obama won Virginia by two percentage points in the 2008 election, becoming the first Democrat to carry the commonwealth in a presidential contest since 1964. This cycle Obama has made eight swings through the state (not including quick visits to suburban Washington, DC in northern Virginia) since the unofficial start of the general election in early April, with Romney making eight tours through Virginia. Both campaigns, as well as the super PACs and other independent groups backing the candidates, have flooded Virginia airwaves with campaign commercials.
Thirteen electoral votes are up for grabs in Virginia.
The president’s eight point lead among likely voters in the new poll compares to a five point advantage he held over Romney in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey in Virginia that was released last week.
The poll also asked about some of the other presidential choices on the ballot in Virginia. Former GOP Rep. Virgil Goode Jr. of Virginia has qualified on the ballot as a member of the Constitution party, as have Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. With those candidates factored in, Obama is at 48% among registered voters, with Romney at 40%, Johnson at 4%, Goode at 2% and Stein at 1%.
The Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone, with 1,104 adults in Virginia, including 934 registered voters, questioned. The survey’s sampling error for both registered and likely voters is plus or minus four percentage points.