Your gut says, "no way," but Democratic pollster PPP tries to make the sale anyway:
Right now we find Obama on positive ground in the state with 48% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. What sets Obama's numbers apart in Virginia is that it's a rare place where Democrats (89%) are more unified in their approval of him than Republicans (87%) are in their disapproval. A lot of Obama's trouble nationally is being caused by Democrats abandoning ship but in Virginia he has a very strong base behind him. Obama leads both Mitt Romney (48-42) and Newt Gingrich (50-43) by margins comparable to his 6 point victory over John McCain in 2008. He leads both of them with independents- Romney by 4 and Gingrich by 8. And between the two match ups he's picking up as many Republicans as he's losing Democrats, again something we just aren't seeing in very many places.
What should be particularly heartening for Obama is that this is hardly an isolated finding in our Virginia polling this year. Over the course of 4 polls where we tested a match up with Romney Obama has led by an average of 7 points. And over the course of 3 polls where Gingrich was included Obama has led by an average of 12 points, although it is worth noting that he's doing better now as he's surged ahead in the Republican race. Part of Obama's unusual strength in Virginia is that his popularity hasn't fallen that far...
So according to Daily Kos-affiliated PPP, whose track record is mixed, Obama is (1) above water in Virginia, (2) leading among the state's independents, and (3) poised to win the state again, thanks -- in party -- to Republican support. Anecdotally, contrast these findings with...every single thing that's happened in Virginia since Barack Obama's election. Republicans swept state-wide office races in 2009, including a blow-out in the governor's race and the election of a very conservative Attorney General. Last year, Republicans unseated three incumbent Democratic Congressmen. This year, Virginians handed Republicans a super-majority in the House of Delegates, as well as a state Senate majority. They have total control of all three elected branches in the Commonwealth for just the second time since reconstruction. During the 2011 campaign, Virginia Democrats conspicuously avoided tying themselves to President Obama. Oh, and the state's conservative governor has an eye-popping approval rating, as his policies have ushered in an era of surpluses and low taxes. But we're supposed to believe that President Obama has a healthy lead among the very Virginia voters who have been doing everything in their power to repudiate his (and his allies') liberal agenda? But all that doesn't necessarily disprove PPP's numbers, but other data points might. Like, say, this:
With 14 months remaining until the 2012 election, Virginia's U.S. Senate race is a statistical dead heat. Republican George Allen leads Democrat Tim Kaine 42% to 39% with 19% undecided. President Obama trails some potential Republican opponents, but he leads others. The generic (unnamed) Republican leads Obama 41% to 33%; Mitt Romney leads 45% to 37%...
A survey this month by Quinnipiac University showedvoters are three times more satisfied with the way things are going in the state than they are about the country. What contributes to that could vary. Some note that Virginia's unemployment rate, 6.3 percent in August, is nearly 3 percentage points lower than the national average of 9.1 percent.
Obama, who is up for re-election in a year, was given a negative approval rating by just over half of those polled. The results indicate that if the election were held today, Obama, who carried Virginia in his 2008 win, would be in a tough fight regardless of whom Republicans chose as their candidate. Forty-one percent of those polled favored Obama, 43 percent the Republican nominee and 12 percent were undecided.
One Virginia politico put it bluntly to me: "In my opinion there's no chance Obama's above water in this state. Not a single Dem ran on the Obama record this past fall...and, in fact, all tried to cozy up to Bob McDonnell (whose agenda is pretty much the polar opposite of Obama's)." Never mind all this, Democrats. Believe PPP's numbers -- Virginia's going to be a cake walk.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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