The Washington Times - August 21, 2012, 05:18PM

President Obama leads presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 5 points in Virginia, 50 percent to 45 percent — down from an 8-point lead he held in early July, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

While Republicans in the state are skeptical about the impact former Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate, would have on the race, the poll shows Mr. Goode would pull 4 percent of the vote if he ends up on the ballot, extending Mr. Obama’s lead back to the 50 percent to 42 percent advantage he enjoyed last month.

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The RealClearPolitics average of polls through Aug. 14 in the key battleground state is much closer, with Mr. Obama holding a slim 1-point lead.

Like other recent presidential polls, however, more Democrats were surveyed than Republicans. While voters do not register by party in Virginia, 37 percent of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 30 percent Republicans, and 33 percent independent/other.

Perhaps counteracting that, however, were the number of self-identified conservatives versus liberals. Forty percent of voters identified themselves as “somewhat conservative” or “very conservative,” compared to 28 percent who identified themselves as “somewhat liberal” or “very liberal.” Thirty-two percent said they were “moderate.”

“President Obama has consistently led by five or more points in Virginia, and it may prove to be his firewall,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Romney essentially cannot win without it.”

Mr. Romney used the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Va. as the backdrop to roll out Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, and Mr. Ryan is scheduled to campaign in Roanoke on Wednesday.

The survey of 855 likely Virginia voters was conducted from August 16 to 19, and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.