On Thursday, an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll that oversampled independent voters found 52 percent of Virginians think the country is on the wrong track. The poll also found President Barack Obama with a five-point lead in Virginia, one of the country’s most important swing states.
Obama leads Mitt Romney by just 0.4 points in Virginia in the RealClearPolitics average of Virginia polls and a Gravis Marketing poll from earlier this week found Romney leading Obama by five points, having gained 9 points on Obama in the last month.
Democrats made up 31% of the Marist poll, Republicans 26%, and independents 43%.
In 2008, 39% of Virginians who voted statewide were Democrats, 33% Republicans and 27% independents.
In 2009, when Republicans swept statewide elections in Virginia, Democrats made up 33% of the electorate, Republicans 37%, and independents 30%.
Yet, independents make up 43% in the Marist poll, even though they have not made up more than 30% of Virginia’s electorate in the last two statewide election cycles.
There is less enthusiasm for Obama in 2012 than there was in 2008. The sentiment against him is much stronger, which means there will most likely be more self-identified Republicans voting in November than the 26% Marist polled, which helps Romney.
On the question of whether the country was on the right track or wrong track, 52 percent of likely voters said the country was on the wrong track. Only 42% thought the country was on the right track. This means many of the independents in the poll that supported Obama are not firmly in his camp.
Blacks made up Eighteen percent of those polled in the Marist survey. In 2008, blacks in Virginia made up 20 percent of the electorate. In 2009, blacks made up 16 percent of the electorate statewide. There is less enthusiasm among blacks this time for Obama, so Obama could be in trouble if the enthusiasm among black voters in Virginia is closer to what it was in 2009 than 2008.
Marist has been a pro-Obama polling outfit. A February poll, in the midst of the Republican primary, Marist somehow polled Virginia and found Obama with a whopping 17-point lead. To put this in perspective, not even the liberal Public Policy Polling group, which polls for Daily Kos, has polled Obama with more than an 11-point lead in Virginia this election cycle.