Poll shows a lead for Obama, but promise for McDonnell

The numbers from a new Quinnipiac CBS News/New York Times poll are hard to argue with. At first glance it appears to be all good news for Barack Obama and his friend Tim Kaine.

Obama leads republican Mitt Romney 49- 45.

Kaine leads George Allen 48-46, a number that keeps the race too close to call.

But also polled in this report is Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell whose approval rating has slipped, but remains above 50%. He still ranks among the most popular governors in America.

Wednesday following a press conference on college tuition McDonnell played the role of attack dog, going after a new Obama welfare policy.

"It could be because of this Obama economy and an 8.3% unemployment rate," McDonnell said of the plan. "People can't find work."

McDonnell continues to be a go-to surrogate and this poll could provide more proof that he would be a quality running mate for Romney.

Among independent voters, Quinnipiac found that McDonnell enjoys a 36 point net positive approval rating.  Female voters in Virginia, which is considered to be a weakness for the governor, approve of him 8 points more than then even President Obama.

And the poll revealed that 44% of republicans are more excited to vote than in 2008, while only 33% of democrats are looking forward to getting to the polls.

An analysis of McDonnell's poll numbers by the respected New York Times pollster Nate Silver revealed that McDonnell has the second best chance of any V.P. prospect to improve Romney's chances of winning.

But despite these interesting tid-bits few people rank McDonnell in the top tier of potential Romney running mates. In fact NBC's politics division declared the race is between three people and McDonnell is not one of them. Instead they say the race is between Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan all made the list.

So we want to know what you think. Take part in our Decision Virginia Veepstakes challenge.

Pick you think Romney's running mate will be and when it will happen. The winner takes home a special NBC12 prize.  Go to DecisionVirginia.com to see how to play.