Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012, at 10:56 AM
The president's path to re-election includes a win in New Mexico (where he won in 2008 by a landslide) and Virginia (where he won solidly). No polls this year have showed him losing either state.
Two new polls show him getting closer to losing.
Public Policy Polling, which has found good Obama numbers all year, captures a slide into single digits in New Mexico. Quinnipiac, which has shown huge Obama leads in Virginia, has him tied with Romney 44-44, down from an 8-point lead, while (people keep forgetting this) George Allen leads in the race for U.S. Senate.
What explains it? Virginia and New Mexico have been buffeted by third-party ads against Obama, like a new Americans for Prosperity commercial talking up the health care tax. But Virginia's been seeing Obama ads, too. No, it looks like policy is affecting the race. In New Mexico:
Virginia voters are split 47 - 47 percent on whether they agree with the Supreme Court's decision upholding the president's health care plan. But by 50 - 43 percent they want Congress to repeal the law.
Lots of possible theories here, but it can't help that Obama's only popular policy at the moment is the (currently in limbo) tax hike on the $250,000 marginal rate.