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Ohio, Virginia key in 2012 electoral battleground map

May 07, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Pick the winner in 2012 battleground states and see who has the upper hand in the November election.
Pick the winner in 2012 battleground states and see who has the upper hand…

It is of course no coincidence that President Obama's first two campaign rallies were in Ohio and Virginia this past weekend.

In Ohio, you have the quadrennial bellwether, one of the most fiercely contested states in recent presidential history, and one that has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 1964.

And in Virginia, you have what could be the decisive state in 2012, one that had been a traditional Republican stronghold until Obama turned it blue in 2008.

Predict a winner: Battleground states

Ohio is accustomed to its role in the presidential spotlight, but for Virginia, this is all new. As one Democratic strategist put it last week, Ohio has been on a pendulum — swinging from one party to the other — but Virginia is now solidly purple and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future. A senior Obama campaign official believes Virginia will be the epicenter of presidential campaigning possibly for the next two decades.

It's been noted often of late that since 1960, no presidential candidate has won the White House without winning two of the following three – Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Which is why the race in Virginia could be pivotal. Senior Romney campaign aides told the Washington Post last week that their path to victory relies on winning three traditional red states that Obama turned blue last election – Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia. Of those three, Virginia seems most favorable to Obama this time around.

Should the president indeed carry Virginia again while losing those other two, it leaves open a number of paths to victory for him elsewhere while significantly narrowing Romney’s. It allows him to lose Florida and Pennsylvania, for instance, while otherwise holding on to his other 2008 pickups. If Ohio stays in the fold, too, Romney has to win back western states such as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico to have a chance.

Want to test these theories out? Take a look at the Los Angeles Times’ new interactive electoral map, which lets you forecast the result based on calling winners in what are for the moment the nine states most likely to decide the race.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in these 2012 battlegrounds has a tight race overall. Obama leads Romney 47% to 45%, with 7% undecided.

Original source: Ohio, Virginia key in 2012 electoral battleground map

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