President Obama currently holds an impressive eight point lead over Mitt Romney in Virginia, and he is effectively tied with Romney in North Carolina, according to new polling by PPP.

In 2008 Barack Obama put North Carolina and Virginia in the Democratic column for the first time in decades. PPP’s newest poll in those two states finds him running very close to his performance four years ago. In Virginia he leads Mitt Romney by 8 points, 50-42, and in North Carolina he has a single point advantage at 47-46.

Our polling in both of these states has been pretty steady over the last year and a half. Obama has consistently fared very well in Virginia, leading by 6 points, 8 points, and now 8 points again on our last three polls. This is looking like it could be something of a firewall state for him. We have now polled North Carolina 22 times since late November of 2010. 21 out of those 22 times Obama and Romney have been within 3 points of each other. The state’s about as much of a toss up as it could possibly be.

One of the more important developments in recent presidential politicians has been the rise of the new Southern swing states of Virginia and North Carolina. As recently as 2004 Virginia and North Carolina were solid Red states. Bush won both by huge margins in 2004, even though John Kerry choose North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his running mate.

Yet in less than a decade Virginia has moved strongly towards the Democratic party on the presidential level. In polling averages Obama is actually performing better in Virginia than he is nationally. It is easy to picture how in a close election, Obama winning Virginia’s 13 electoral votes could prove to be decisive.