The Obama referendum will have to wait

THE OBAMA REFERENDUM WILL HAVE TO WAIT…. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) argued the other day that of all the various races this year, the Virginia gubernatorial contest will be a “referendum” on the Obama presidency.

Actual Virginians don’t seem to agree.

Republican Robert F. McDonnell carries a double-digit lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the final week of the campaign for Virginia governor, according to a new Washington Post poll. […]

Seven in 10 Virginia voters say their views of President Obama, who is scheduled to campaign Tuesday with Deeds in Norfolk, will not be a factor in their choice for governor. The rest are about evenly divided between those who say their vote will be motivated by their desire to express support for the president and those who want to voice opposition to him, suggesting that Obama might not be a decisive figure in the contest and that the race is not the early referendum on the Obama presidency many have suggested it would be.

Overall, the president’s approval rating in Virginia — a state he won last year with 52% of the vote — is 54%. Among just registered voters, it’s 57%.

And yet, Virginians in the poll prefer McDonnell to Deeds, 55% to 44%.

Assuming McDonnell hangs on to win — a scenario that now seems likely — Republicans will no doubt try to characterize the victory as a repudiation of the White House. But given Obama’s approval rating in the state, the argument isn’t exactly compelling.

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