Historically, up until the 2008 election, Virginia was a stronghold for the Republican Party. From 1980- 2004 the Republican presidential nominee won rather decisively in Virginia. In 2008, however, Obama took 52.7% of the vote, winning Virginia; a first for a Democratic Presidential nominee since Lyndon Johnson. As the state of Virginia maintains a solid array of diversity and legitimate concerns about the economy, the state currently continues to create election waves as a decisive battleground state.
As of right now Obama and Romney are running a very tight race. According to the Rasmussen Report, as of September 14th, the current poll shows Obama leading at 49% Obama and Romney at 48%. This has changed slightly after the conventions as in early August; on August 8ththe poll sat at 48% Obama and 46% Romney.
Key voting groups in Virginia include women, particularly in Northern Virginia. Independent voters are also a key group for both Obama and Romney to appeal to as each campaign seeks to break away with a lead within the next few weeks.
In order to gain more traction in the state, the Obama campaign is currently targeting the votes of women, especially in Northern Virginia, as well as African Americans along the coast in cities like Hampton, Virginia Beach, and Newport News. Currently Obama leads both groups by significant margins.
The last three election cycles have seen major gains for the state Republican Party. The GOP has swept the state recently and controls most of Virginia politics, aside from both senate seats.However, to win Virginia, Romney will have to gain more solid footing amongst women and independents. He will also have to make a stronger case to conservatives as he currently polls at a lower rate with them than McCain did in 2008.
Virginia has a relatively strong economy and is doing better than many states; however, the unemployment rate has remained at the same rate since Obama assumed office. Taxes, jobs, and the economy are key issues to Virginians and each candidate will have to make a convincing case in the state to prove they have the solutions to these issues in order to win this crucial battleground and increase their chances at winning the 2012 presidential election.
Keep checking Destination 270 to see how this key state influences the election process!