President Obama is in a solid position to win the traditionally Republican state of Virginia again in 2012, according to a new poll out Wednesday.
Numbers from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling show Obama leading every potential Republican presidential hopeful by margins of 6 to 19 percentage points.
Obama leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent. He leads former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 51 percent to 43 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 51 percent to 39 percent.
Obama's largest lead in the state comes in a hypothetical matchup with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The president leads Palin by 19 points — 54 percent to 35 percent.
Despite holding leads over most of the rumored GOP field, Obama's approval in the state is still under 50 percent. That means his early advantage is due more to the poor favorability ratings of the rumored Republican contenders, writes pollster Tom Jensen.
"When you see Obama with a +3 approval spread but leads ranging from 6 to 19 points over his Republican opponents, it's a clear sign that his advantage is more about them than it is about him," Jensen said.
The Republican with the best numbers in the state is Huckabee, who is viewed favorably by 40 percent of voters, compared to 41 percent who view him unfavorably.
Romney, Gingrich and Palin fare much worse, with 48 percent of voters holding a negative view of Romney, 56 percent holding a negative opinion of Gingrich and a whopping 63 percent who view Palin unfavorably.
The survey polled 524 Virginia voters and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Obama won the state in 2008 — the first Democratic presidential nominee to win it in decades — and Virginia will likely prove pivotal for the president's reelection prospects in 2012, as other more Republican states like Indiana and North Carolina appear less in reach for Obama next year.
Virginia Democrats, meanwhile, are still waiting on Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine to make a decision on the Senate race. Should Kaine jump in, it would set up one of the marquee matchups of 2012, with the popular former governor likely facing former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.).