Mitt Romney campaigns in Fairfax County, Virginia on Thursday with a 0.8 point lead in RealClearPolitics average of Virginia polls. A Gravis Marketing poll of likely Virginia voters has Romney defeating President Barack Obama, 49% to 44%.
Romney may get even more momentum as military and national security issues will be front and center after Islamists on stormed the U.S. embassy in Egypt and the U.S. consulate in Libya, murdering the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Romney arrives as two-Norfolk based ships head off to Libya and the White House decides what military cuts it intends to make as part of the sequestration agreement it struck with Congress.
Fairfax County’s economy is dependent on the defense industry, and the county may be the hardest hit by the sequestration. Romney this week strongly opposed the proposed defense cuts, which may allow the many Virginia voters whose livelihoods are dependent on the industry to give Romney’s candidacy a look.
One in seven Virginia voters lives in vote-rich Fairfax County, making it one of the most important swing counties in one of the most important swing states. Obama won the county in 2008 with 60% of the vote. In 2009, though, Republican Bob McDonnell won the county with 50.7 percent of the vote. And these military and national security issues may give Romney a chance to win the county. If Romney cannot win the county, Romney may be able to hold down Obama’s margins, which would give Romney a better chance of winning the state by taking some of Virginia’s less Obama-friendly counties.