President Barack Obama isn't up for re-election for another three years, but governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey Nov. 3 could be an indicator of the president's approval.
It's also an indicator of what Republicans can expect in next year's congressional races.
Too Little, Too Late?
In front of several thousand people at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., President Obama worked to play "Rescuer-in-Chief."
Democrat candidate for governor, Creigh Deeds is trailing Republican Bob Mcdonnell by double digits with less than a week to go before Election Day.
"I don't believe in giving in," Obama told the crowd at Old Dominion University.
But it may be too little too late. A Washington Post poll shows McDonnell leading deeds 55-44.
Deeds has run a mostly negative campaign as he tried to concentrate on a socially conservative thesis paper McDonnell wrote 20 years ago. It didn't work.
Meanwhile, McDonnell has stayed focused on the issues - specifically the economy.
"Virginia's governor needs to make the top priority creating jobs and opportunities for Virginians," a McDonnell campaign ad said.
The other problem for Deeds may be internal. The Washington Post reports that White House officials are frustrated with Deeds and are blaming him for not enlisting the president's help earlier.
It has left the president in a position to lay the groundwork for a potential loss.
"Let's just be straight here. Let's be honest. This is going to be a tough race. We've got a tough economy and even if it wasn't a tough economy it's always tough in Virginia," Obama said.
Political Winds Shifting?
It's not an exact science as to whether the potential loss in Virginia is really a reflection on the president. The Washington Post poll also shows that seven out of 10 voters say their views of Obama will not be a factor in who they choose for governor.
However, political analysts say a loss in Virginia could indeed signal an emerging, slow shift in the electorate which could spell trouble for Democrats in mid-term elections next year.
Meanwhile, in the New Jersey governor's race, the president has been stumping for Democrat Jon Corzine.
Still, an appearance last week by Obama has not translated into better poll numbers for Corzine. In fact, the Republican challenger Chris Christie is slightly ahead in some polls - but the race may still be too close to call.
In this race, money is a huge factor. Corzine is outspending Christie 3 to 1 and has used $22 million of his own money to get re-elected.
But, with Nov. 3, right around the corner, it may not be enough.