WASHINGTON - A new WTOP Beltway Poll provides more evidence that Virginia could be a key battleground in the presidential race, and shows neither former governor has pulled ahead in the state's U.S. Senate contest.
The poll shows President Barack Obama favored by 47 percent of the voters in Northern Virginia compared to 42 percent for likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
The gap widens to 55 percent for Obama and 35 percent for Romney when the entire Washington region is added.
The poll, conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies on May 18, also shows the U.S. Senate race between former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen remains very close.
Kaine, a Democrat, is favored by 47 percent of those polled while Allen -- who still faces a GOP primary next month -- is favored by 43 percent with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, meaning the race is a statistical dead heat.
The poll also looked at the issue of gay marriage. In the presidential race, 40 percent of those polled said Obama's position on gay marriage made them more likely to vote for him, while 26 percent said it makes no difference in their choice.
More than half of voters polled in the Washington area (55 percent) favor Maryland's gay marriage legislation, which could be on the ballot in November.
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