PPP’s new polling in Virginia includes an interesting detail:
One Virginia figure who could hurt Romney is former Rep. Virgil Goode. On the ballot as the Constitution Party candidate, Goode is pulling 9% of the vote, bringing Romney down seven points to 35% and hardly moving Obama to 49%.
As the pollster cautions elsewhere, Goode will almost certainly not receive 9% in November, but he could make the difference in a close race if he gets on the ballot. That’s why “Goode staying off the ballot may be vital to Romney’s prospects there.” Goode’s polling in Virginia is similar to Gary Johnson’s polling in New Mexico and New Hampshire. While it’s true that 2012 seems to be a bad year for third-party candidates nationally, both Goode and Johnson have some significant support in a few states. Support for Johnson in New Hampshire will probably be more important than it is in New Mexico, since New Mexico is already likely to go to Obama. Whatever the candidates’ respective flaws, libertarians and conservatives unwilling to vote for Romney do have two natural protest candidates to support, and it’s possible that between the two of them they could affect the outcome in at least two states.
Even when Goode isn’t included as an option, Romney is trailing by eight in Virginia. When Obama carried Virginia in 2008, it was the first time the state voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1964. Romney shouldn’t be trailing Obama in Virginia, but according to the current RCP average for Virginia he is. Romney might be able to win without Virginia, but it would be unlikely for him to lose Virginia and still win enough of the other toss-up states.