One is a state that every successful Republican presidential candidate has won since 1856. The other was considered a “safe” stronghold for modern GOP White House hopefuls as recently as 2004.
But of the eight states that likely will decide the presidential race, Ohio and Virginia are the ones most frequently cited by Republican strategists (in private conversations) as worrisome for Mitt Romney heading into the campaign’s final dash.
“Their biggest concern right now is: How do they win Ohio and Virginia?” one GOP strategist said, echoing comments made by several other national Republicans outside of the Romney campaign. “They’ve got an issue with those two states.”
There are many reasons why Romney’s climb looks steeper in these two states than it does in other battlegrounds, but at the heart of the matter is a perception that the economies in both are rebounding faster than is the case elsewhere.