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New poll shows Obama beating Romney in Virginia

A new poll has President Obama, a Democrat, pulling ahead of Republican candidate Mitt Romney in Virginia, a crucial swing state.

The Quinnipiac University poll released today finds Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, would get 43 percent of the vote compared to 47 percent for Obama. In three previous Quinnipiac polls in Virginia, in September, October, and December, Romney edged out Obama in a head-to-head match-up. The poll shows women and independents are now backing the president over Romney.

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Obama would beat any of Romney’s Republican opponents – former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, or Texas Representative Ron Paul – by even larger margins.

Virginia will be one of around a dozen important swing states in the general election. The Qunnipiac poll comes on the heels of a Washington Post poll that showed Obama with a growing lead over Romney nationally. A Jan. 31 Gallup poll found Obama and Romney essentially tied among voters in 12 swing states.

Romney is the strong favorite to win Virginia’s Super Tuesday primary, since neither Gingrich nor Santorum qualified for the Virginia ballot.

The Qunnipiac poll of 1,544 registered voters was conducted Feb. 1-6 and has a margin of error of 2.5 percent.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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