U.S. President Barack Obama is returning to the campaign trail, after spending several days heading the federal government's response to the massive Atlantic storm named Sandy.
Obama travels Thursday to Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado, three so-called "battleground states" that could determine whether he or Republican challenger Mitt Romney wins the 270 electoral votes needed for victory in next Tuesday's election.
Romney is making a series of stops in Virginia, another crucial state in the November 6 election.
He told supporters in Roanoke, Virginia, that middle income Americans had been "squeezed" financially during Obama's first term in office.
"The median income in America has dropped by $4,300 over the last four years. So now, you're earning $4,300 a year less than you were four years ago. And gasoline prices, they've gone up $2,000 per family. And health insurance costs, they've gone up $2,500 a family," said Romney.
With the election five days away, polls indicate the race is too close to call. A weekly compilation of polling data released Thursday by RealClearPolitics shows a virtual tie.
Public opinion polls are showing a tight race both nationally and in key swing states. A Quinnipiac-New York Times-CBS News poll released Wednesday showed a close race in Florida and Virginia. It also indicated the president is clinging to a lead in Ohio, a state both campaigns desperately want to win.
The president suspended his campaigning Monday as Sandy devastated the coastal area of New Jersey and caused massive damage to New York City. Romney also spent several days soliciting donations for Sandy's victims.