LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — How Virginia goes in the presidential election may come down to voters who live amid the small wineries, affluent subdivisions and Civil War battlegrounds of Loudon County.
Voters in the tony Hamilton County suburbs around the humming riverside economic engine of Cincinnati may tip the balance in Ohio.
To win Florida, either President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney probably will have carried Hillsborough County, where the urban seaport town of Tampa bleeds into communities of Spanish-speaking voters and retired Midwesterners.
Those areas are vastly different, yet each is full of fickle voters and bound by a proclivity to swing between Republican and Democrat every four years. All are main targets as the president and his Republican challenger look for enough victories in enough states to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House.
The race may come down to an even narrower slice of the electorate than the nine most contested states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The outcome probably will depend on what happens in the 106 counties that Republican George W. Bush won in 2004 and that voted Democrat Obama in 2008, according to an Associated Press analysis.