POSTED: Friday, May 4, 2012 - 3:00am
UPDATED: Sunday, May 6, 2012 - 6:45pm
CNN — As President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaign in Virginia this week, a new poll shows the president with a seven point advantage over his likely opponent in the Commonwealth.
Fifty-one percent of voters said they would vote for the president if the election were held today, while 44% said Romney, according to the Washington Post poll released Thursday.
Virginia will be crucial battleground territory this fall, as Obama attempts to capture the state as he did in 2008, with 53% of the vote. He was the first Democrat to win Virginia in a presidential election since 1964.
In the last four years, however, the state has elected a Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, and the GOP picked up the state's House of Delegates and three U.S. House seats. Some of the traditionally Democratic districts in the state especially turned out for McDonnell in 2009.
A major Senate race is also underway in Virginia between two former governors--Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen. Despite the two candidates actively campaigning for months, recent polls show the race in a dead heat.
Romney has been courting votes and money in Virginia this week, making campaign stops with McDonnell and touting an endorsement from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann in Portsmouth on Thursday.
"Now politics is underway, it's underway again. You're going to hear it all right here in Virginia," Romney said at the Portsmouth event. "This may well be the state who decides who the next president is."
Meanwhile, Obama will officially kick off his re-election campaign with rallies in Virginia and Ohio on Saturday, with the Virginia event scheduled to be at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
The Washington Post interviewed 1,101 adults in Virginia by telephone, including 964 registered voters, between April 28 and May 2. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.