A new CNN poll seems to confirm a finding we began to see last week: Barack Obama is out to a big lead in Virginia, the state that could hand the Democratic nominee the win and the presidency.
Last Monday, two pollsters released numbers showing Obama leading John McCain by double digits in the state. Today, CNN shows 53 percent of likely voters breaking for him, compared with 43 percent for McCain.
As I noted in a post last week, Virginia may very well prove to be the key to this election. If Obama can hold all of the states John Kerry won in 2004 -- and at this point, that seems very likely -- and add Iowa to his column, something polls have consistently predicted, then a win in Virginia would give him 272 Electoral College votes, two more than the magic number needed for victory.
CNN also has some interesting numbers from other battlegrounds.
In Colorado, Obama leads among likely voters, 51-47 -- within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Interestingly, though, when respondents were given the option of backing a third-party candidate, it was McCain who took the biggest hit; Obama's lead widened to 50-43. It seems as if Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, who polled at 3 percent, may be taking some support from McCain in the state. (Ralph Nader also got 3 percent; the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney got 1 percent.)
In Florida, Obama leads 51-46 -- again, that's within the poll's margin of error. And in Missouri, the two candidates are neck-and-neck, with McCain leading by just 1 percentage point.