The political battle has already begun on the state's airwaves.
While Romney has yet to buy any ads directly, the pro-Romney group, Restore Our Future, has spent $354,000 in Virginia on a television advertising campaign that began running statewide Thursday. The ad highlights Romney's role in helping to find his business partner's lost daughter.
The Obama campaign spent $270,000 for a new ad — its third so far in Virginia — that began running statewide this week and accuses Romney of sending jobs overseas during his business career, reminding voters that the former Massachusetts governor had a Swiss bank account.
Virginia-based Republican strategist Chris LaCivita suggests that Obama is likely worried about his chances in Virginia if he's already using attack ads. But like others here, he says it's too early to make any predictions.
"To assume Virginia is going to go Republican is a dangerous thing to do," he said.
Women's issues, especially the recent debate over birth-control coverage by health insurance, play a disproportionate role in the northern part of the state, with its bustling suburbs. The rural economy, social issues and military policy are a problem for Obama in the more traditionally conservative parts of Virginia, such as the southeast, in places like Hampton Roads, where Romney campaigned this week.
Obama's team says it expects disproportionate turnout among the state's black voters. However, neither campaign is expecting the same record turnout that helped elect Obama the nation's first African American president.
Romney is banking on Virginia's recent Republican momentum to continue.
Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has endorsed Romney, won election in 2009. The following year, Virginia Republicans made gains in the U.S. House, and last year in the state legislature.
Romney aides are bracing for resistance in crucial northern Virginia to the candidate's proposed 10-percent cut in the federal workforce. Virginia, and especially northern Virginia, is home to the nation's highest concentration of federal workers.
Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie, a former Virginia GOP chairman, joined Romney Thursday as he campaigned in Portsmouth, a port town with a significant industrial base and a large military presence. "This is going to be a hard-fought state," Gillespie said, dismissing polls that show Obama slightly ahead of his Republican challenger.
New polling, however, suggests that Obama is ahead of Romney. The Washington Post released results Thursday giving Obama a 7-point lead, 51 percent to 44 percent, among registered voters.
The winner in Virginia, however, could win a much larger prize.
"If Obama wins Virginia, I think he wins the election," said Elleithee, the Democratic strategist.
Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont contributed to this report.