(WTVR) – According to a new poll released this morning, President Obama is holding a five point lead over opponent Mitt Romney in the Commonwealth with just 26 days to go in the election, while former governor Tim Kaine has a seven point lead over former governor George Allen in the U.S. Senate race.
The poll, released by CBS News, Quinnipiac University and the New York Times, President Obama is leading Mitt Romney 51 to 46 percent. This is a gain from the just 4 point lead he held over Romney in the last poll released on September 19.
There continues to be a wide gender gap in the state, with Obama favored among women, 56 to 40 percent; and Romney leading with men 52 to 45 percent. A racial divide appears to play a major role with black voters supporting Romney 93 to 3 percent; and white voters supporting Romney 59 to 38 percent.
The economy is the top election issue for 42 percent of voters, followed by health care at 16 percent, the budget deficit at 11 percent and Medicare at 9 percent.
Virginia’s positive economy appears to be playing to the President’s advantage.
“One reason why the president is doing better in Virginia than some other swing states could be that Virginians feel a little better about the economy than voters in other states,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It is more difficult for Mitt Romney to go into Virginia with its sub 6 percent unemployment rate than in many other states and convince voters they should fire Barrack Obama for not doing enough to fix the economy.”
The poll was complete between October 4th and 9th, following the first presidential debate, which those polled feel Romney performed better in.
And while the debate appears to not have had much of an impact in Virginia, President Obama has lost ground in two other key swing states where he held larger leads prior ro.
“Gov. Mitt Romney outfought President Barack Obama 4-1 in the first debate, according to likely voters in Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin,” Brown said. “The shifts are too small to measure, but the races in Wisconsin and Colorado are now too close to call. The president holds his lead in Virginia.”
Democrat Tim Kaine has retained his lead over opponent Republican George Allen in the battle to become the Commonwealth’s next U.S. Senator. Those polled favored Kaine 51 to 44 percent.
Kaine and Allen participated in a debate televised state-wide in the midst of the polling, on October 8th.
Meanwhile, Governor McDonnell continues to have a high approval rating of 52 to 20 percent.