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Date published: 11/16/2012
AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va.--Mitt Romney had a little trouble with women voters in Virginia, but a poll released Thursday shows Gov. Bob McDonnell is one Republican with no gender gap problem.
Quinnipiac University's survey of 1,469 registered Virginia voters show that by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio, women hold a favorable opinion of the governor who's already included in the buzz about potential 2016 GOP presidential prospects.
Exit polls from last week's election showed women voters narrowly favored President Barack Obama in Virginia over the Republican.
Quinnipiac's poll, conducted Nov. 8-12, found that among women respondents, 48 percent approved of McDonnell to 26 percent who disapproved. Fifty-nine percent of men had a positive view of McDonnell to 27 percent who did not. Overall, the governor's approval rating stood at 53 percent.
McDonnell fared well among young voters 18 years old to 34, too. Forty-eight percent approved, and 24 percent disapproved.
Among black voters, who broke overwhelmingly for Obama last week, 41 percent approved of McDonnell, and 34 percent did not.
McDonnell's results are uncommon among Republicans, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling institute.
"He is the only Republican officeholder in seven states surveyed by Quinnipiac University who get positive ratings from women--almost 2-to-1 in this case--and a plus score from black voters. A 2-to-1 approval rating among young voters doesn't hurt," Brown said.
The results also indicate that McDonnell does not share the disapproval many female voters felt toward Republicans in Virginia's General Assembly after last winter's divisive debate over a new law mandating pre-abortion ultrasound exams.
The law, which initially would have required vaginally invasive ultrasonic examinations, sparked several Capitol Square demonstrations involving thousands of people, most of them women. After television comedy shows, including NBC's "Saturday Night Live," made Virginia a laughingstock over the legislation, McDonnell persuaded House and Senate Republicans to require only an external abdominal ultrasound exam, not an internal one.
Other findings from the poll: