Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell saw his chances of being chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate get a massive boost on Wednesday with a poll that showed just how popular he is in his home state.
The Old Dominion is seen as one of the key swing states in November’s presidential election and the governor’s figures could help Romney win the state.
The Quinnipiac University poll showed McDonnell has 52 percent approval rating for his job in the state. Just 29 percent disapprove of him.
The poll results could not have come at a better time for McDonnell, who is due to join Romney on a bus tour this week. He is considered in the second tier of possible running mates, behind Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Virginia is the only state in the nation where governors are limited to a single term, so he will be out of a job after elections in 2013.
The Quinnipiac poll — conducted for the New York Times and CBS News — looked at three swing states, Virginia, Colorado and Wisconsin. Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper also got a hugely favorable rating of 66 percent, compared to 18 percent who were dissatisfied in his performance.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker was also on the plus side with a favorability rating of 52 percent to 44 percent who disapprove of him.
Quinnipiac found President Barack Obama leading Romney by six points in Wisconsin and two points in Virginia, but Romney ahead by five points in Colorado.
On other issues:
• Voters in all three states firmly believe presidential candidates should release multiple years of tax returns;
• Wisconsin and Colorado voters are happy with their current gun laws, however those in Virginia are evenly divided as to whether to keep them as they are or to have them tightened. Respondents in all three states said there should be a nationwide ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines;
• The Virginia Senate race is too close to call with Democrat Tim Kaine holding a narrow 2 percent lead over Republican George Allen;
• In Wisconsin, former Gov. Tommy Thompson would have a slightly better chance of defeating Democrat Tammy Baldwin in the Senate race than two other GOP challengers.
The poll was taken between July 31 and August 6 — before this weekend’s shooting in a Wisconsin Sikh temple. Between 1,400 and 1,500 likely voters were polled in each state.
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