The latest Quinnipiac poll of Virginia’s registered voters shows President Obama making headway against the likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney.  Forty-seven percent favor the President over Romney (43%) in a hypothetical match-up; a marked improvement since late last year when polls favored Romney by slim margins.

Quinnipiac Poll of Virginia Registered Voters:
If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Barack Obama the Democrat and Mitt Romney the Republican, for whom would you vote?
Feb. 2012 Dec. 2011 Oct. 2011 Sept 2011
Obama 47% 42% 44% 42%
Romney 43% 44% 45% 44%

With President Obama’s 2008 victory in Virginia, the once Republican stronghold is now a crucial battleground state in 2012, with both camps eyeing Virginia’s thirteen electoral votes to get them over the necessary 270 to win the presidency.

Many are attributing Obama’s recent gains to an improved state of the economy, especially in a state where unemployment sits well below the national average at only 6.2 percent.  Unlike in North Carolina and Florida, Obama’s other wins in the South in 2008, Virginia’s economy has fared relatively well through the most recent recession.

Despite low unemployment, it would seem that Obama’s job disapproval ratings in the commonwealth are still closely tied to Virginians’ perceptions of the economy.  Comparing available poll data with the latest monthly unemployment may suggest a close connection:

In the same February Quinnipiac poll, Virginians still favor Romney by slight margins when it comes to improving the economy.

Quinnipiac Poll of Virginia Registered Voters:
Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job on the economy, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?
Feb. 2012 Dec. 2011
Obama 44% 41%
Romney 47% 46%

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