The Washington Times - July 10, 2012, 02:01PM

President Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 8 percentage points, 50 percent to 42 percent, in the all-important swing state of Virginia, a poll released Tuesday shows.

Mr. Obama, who won Virginia by 6 points in 2008, led 51 percent to 43 percent when the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling surveyed Virginia in April. Mr. Romney led 46 percent to 44 percent among the coveted independent voting bloc back then, but Mr. Obama led 47 percent to 36 percent among independents in PPP’s poll released Tuesday.

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Adding Gov. Bob McDonnell to the Republican ticket barely changed the results — the Democratic ticket of Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden still led by 50 percent to 43 percent.

But should Virgil H. Goode Jr., a former Virginia congressman and current Constitution Party candidate, qualify for the Virginia ballot, he would pull 9 percent of the vote, giving Mr. Obama a 49 percent to 35 percent lead over Mr. Romney, the poll said.

PPP also showed Mr. Obama with a 1-point lead — 47 percent to 46 percent — in North Carolina, a state he won by less than a point over Republican Sen. John McCain in 2008.

“For now, Barack Obama’s as strong as he was in … 2008 in the upper South states that he flipped to the Democratic column for the first time in decades in 2008,” said Dean Debnam, PPP president. “He’s the favorite in Virginia and he looks to be about even money in North Carolina.”

PPP, which conducts polls via automated telephone interviews, polled 775 North Carolina voters and 647 Virginia voters from July 5 to 8. The margin of error for the North Carolina survey is 3.5 percentage points, and 3.9 percentage points for the Virginia survey.

Those polled were split nearly evenly between Democrats, Republicans and independents.