(WASHINGTON) — Within the next few days both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will take their turn courting voters in Virginia—a state that is already emerging as one of the most intensively contested battleground states in the country.
Why is Virginia so important this year?
One simple reason: No campaign can afford to lose it. Obama can lose Florida and Ohio and still win re-election as long as he carries Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Romney can lose Pennsylvania, but if Obama carries Colorado and Nevada, he’ll need to win Virginia as well as Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio.
That’s why Romney is in the state for the second day in a row, campaigning near Norfolk with Gov. Bob McDonnell, a potential vice presidential pick and picking up the belated endorsement of a former rival, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Yesterday, the former Massachusetts governor spoke at a women-run company in the Washington, D.C. suburbs telling an audience that, if elected, he would do the “opposite” of President Obama.
“What he’s done over the last three and a half years is install a series of policies that have made it back-breaking for many small businesses, and made it harder for our economy to reboot and put people back to work,” Romney said. “What I would do, people ask me what would you to get the economy going and I say, well look at what the president’s done, and do the opposite.”
But the Obama campaign knows the stakes in Virginia too. They already have a growing infrastructure of satellite offices dotting the state, and the president will pay a visit to Richmond on Saturday—the day he officially kicks off his re-election campaign.
And beyond Virginia, we’re seeing early campaign numbers from other important battlegrounds. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, Romney leads Obama in Florida, slightly, 44 percent to 43 percent, but trails in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, Obama is up 47 percent to 39 percent.
The key takeaway, according to Quinnipiac, “voters in Florida and Ohio say Romney would do a better job on the economy.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio