The latest from Virginia and Pennsylvania

If recent polls are to be believed, John McCain is struggling in Virginia. A Washington Post/ABC News poll has Obama leading 49-46. Survey USA has it 51-46 Obama. On the other hand, Rasmussen has McCain up 50-48. All three polls cover essentially the same period.

I can’t speak for the Commonwealth as a whole, but in the Northern Virginia market McCain is taking a pounding from effective Obama attack ads. Meanwhile, if advertising during Redskins games and selected other sporting events is a guide, McCain is not hitting back. The economy, naturally enough, is the biggest issue for Virginians these days, the Post/ABC News survey found. So McCain needs to get a coherent economic message out (not that I want to sound like a broken record).

McCain no doubt would trade Virginia’s 13 electoral votes for Pennsylvania’s 21. And McCain isn’t doing badly in the Keystone state. The RCP average his him trailing Obama by only 2.5 percentage points. This will increase only marginally when a brand new ARG poll, which has Obama up by 4 points, is factored in.

Jim Geraghty points out that 53 percent of those in the ARG sample are Democrats while Republicans made up only 39 percent of the sample. 2006 exit polls, Geraghty notes, showed the voter pool in Pennsylvania was 43 percent Democrat and 38 percent Republican. Unfortunately, though, the ARG sample is in line with current voter registration numbers for Pennsylvania (available as an excel spreadsheet at http://www.dos.state.pa.us/elections/lib/elections/055_voter_registration_statistics/currentstats/currentvotestats.xls).

UPDATE: The Pennsylvania poll numbers probably do not fully reflect the impact of Talkin’ Joe Biden’s opposition to the development of clean coal technology (noted by John below).

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