Latest Virginia polls trending toward … McCain? (Update)

The old dominion of Virginia is, perhaps, one of the key states this year Obama is counting on turning from red to blue. Clearly, by all assessments, McCain absolutely needs Virginia for most any method of reaching the magic 270 electoral votes. Polls in recent weeks showed Obama up by as many as 11 points in a VCU poll.

The recent trend, along with a new poll out this morning shows that Virginia may be back in play for McCain, or perhaps hasn’t gotten as blue as it might seem.

Take a look at the most recent graph from RCP:

Now I wouldn’t put much stock in it except that I read the Mason-Dixon poll discussed this morning in the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The presidential contest in Virginia is heading toward a photo finish.

The final Richmond Times-Dispatch Poll of the campaign shows Sen. Barack Obama at 47 percent and Sen. John McCain at 44 percent. Nine percent are undecided — an unusually large slice of the electorate. The profile of undecided voters suggests that some are potentially opposed to Obama.

Because Obama’s advantage over McCain is within the poll’s margin of error — plus or minus 4 percentage points — the contest in Virginia can be considered about even.

The battle for Virginia’s 13 electoral votes is raging in the countdown hours to the election — a dramatic contrast with the state’s long history as a Republican stronghold.

The candidates and their stand-ins are swarming across Virginia, attempting to pump up votes in friendly turf and hold down margins in inhospitable territory.

As you know, I do not put stock in single polls, however, the RCP Virginia average has also been slowly trending for McCain, so coupled with this poll, I believe it speaks to what might continue to happen in the last 48 hours. Note the emphasis on might. We’ll see on Monday perhaps how this all squares up.

The latest polls which are currently being averaged by RCP. Note that the Richmond Times Dispatch poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon and is included here:

Those poll numbers with an unusually large undecided voter block really could mean anything.

Sound off, is this a trend or just a blip?

Update

Minutes after I posted this, another poll was released confirming my speculation. Virginia has been moved from the “Leaning Obama” column back to the “Toss-up” column on RealClearPolitics.

Here’s the new data as of around 3pm eastern time, 11/2:

The new graph:

The new RCP average shows Obama leading 3.8 on average, with a margin of error between 3 and 4 percent. Call me crazy, but does it appear some of Obama’s support in Virginia is eroding a bit? Just days ago the RCP average was around 6 to 7% in favor of Obama.