(Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
A key question in the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney: Will Virginia go Democratic for a second straight election?
Public Policy Polling has a new survey showing Obama leading Romney by 5 points in the Old Dominion, 51%-46%.
The president also led by 5 points in a PPP poll a month ago.
"Virginia continues to look like it may be something of a firewall state for Obama," Public Policy Polling reports.
Four years ago, Obama became the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 to win Virginia in a presidential race.
Romney probably has to sweep the Southern states to win the White House, and he faces tough battles in Virginia and Florida.
One bit of good news for Romney in this poll: PPP discounts the impact of Virgil Goode, a former Republican congressman who made the presidential ballot in Virginia.
According to PPP:
"There has been a lot of talk about the possibility of Virgil Goode tipping the election to Obama in Virginia but our new poll finds that his support has mostly faded. When third party candidates are included on this poll Obama leads Romney 49-45 with Gary Johnson at 2% and Goode and Jill Stein both at just 1%. Goode's net favorability with Republican voters has dropped a net 15 points in the last month from +3 (19/16) to -12 (14/26), suggesting that many of the party faithful are not happy about the possibility of him having a spoiler effect."