With less than four weeks before Election Day, polls this week demonstrated why Virginia is such a contested swing state. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll showed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney leading President Obama by 1 point — a statistical tie. Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS poll showed President Obama leading by 5 points. But those polls came out before last night's Vice Presidential debate, in which Democrats sought to halt the Romney campaign's momentum in the race. David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing talks about the state of play. Following are highlights of his analysis.
On if any part of last night's vice presidential debate spoke to Virginia voters in particular: "Both Paul Ryan, who pushed the budget cut deal through Congress last summer and gave it a valuable stamp of approval, and Vice President Biden, who helped negotiate the deal, essentially said they're taking those budget cut deals off the table. Both of them were for it as a Draconian measure, neither want to see it go into effect. I would say that the fact they both dismissed it so quickly... means that it's not going to happen."
On what to expect from Romney and Obama's presence in Virginia today and this weekend: "Mitt Romney is going to a dealer of vehicles for disabled people [in Richmond], and this will probably be a rally for Ryan. He'll come to Virginia, and he'll say, 'didn't Paul Ryan do a great job?' and he'll try to shape the spin. We're not going to hear very much at all from the President. We think he's going to the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg for four days of debate school. He's going to back to remedial debate school. The campaign has decided that he needs that kind of practice to do a different kind of job next Tuesday at Hofstra University than he did two weeks ago in Denver."
On how closely the George Allen/Tim Kaine race in Virginia is tied to the presidential contest: "I think they're very much tied [to the presidential contest]. I think that if you take the average of all the polls at the presidential level and the senate level, it's a dead heat. Maybe the tiniest, tiniest edge to the Democrats, to Obama and Kaine."
On Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's agreement to six debates with challenger John Delaney: "I think it's fascinating. I think that John Delaney is the heavy favorite."