As Barack Obama prepares to make his first campaign appearance with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds tomorrow, pollsters and analysts are digging around for any and all statistical clues to predict the president's effectiveness as a surrogate.
Deeds is trailing Republican candidate Bob McDonnell by double-digits in several recent polls, which "experts" interpret as some combination of Democratic activists' exhaustion after a brutal (but successful!) battleground showdown in 2008 and, more broadly, a traditionally red state reverting back to its old ways as "Obama's Washington" fails to bring about major change.
Something else is going on in Virginia, though -- something you may have heard about from your grandmother, or on the Lou Dobbs cable television program, or on most Internet websites. In yesterday's Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of the upcoming election, the most interesting figure wasn't McDonnell's 51 to 37 percent lead over Deeds.
Welcome to Virginia, President Obama!
The new survey of Virginia by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that only 53% of likely voters in the state think that President Obama was born in the United States, compared to 24% who say he was not and another 24% who are not sure.
(One last thing: why does this conspiratorial question now appear in every single political poll? We still don't even know what role the Clintons played in Vince Foster's death!)