WASHINGTON -- Campaign officials say President Barack Obama will focus more on direct engagement with voters and less on ritzy fundraisers when his road trip kicks off July 5.
It will be the president's first bus tour of the 2012 campaign.
Ohio and Pennsylvania, with 38 electoral votes between them, are crucial to the president's re-election bid.
Obama won both states in 2008, but Republican rival Mitt Romney is expected to make a strong play for each.
Just over four months from Election Day, Obama aides consider Ohio a toss-up but believe Pennsylvania is leaning in the president's favor. Romney took a bus tour of his own through Ohio and Pennsylvania earlier this month.
The Obama bus trip also will coincide with the release of the monthly nationwide jobs report, a key economic indicator that could directly affect the president's re-election prospects.
Further underscoring his strategy shift was his campaign's announcement this week that Jennifer Psaki, a former senior White House aide, was joining the president's re-election team as traveling press secretary.
The new poll by Quinnipiac University shows Obama holding a 9-percentage-point lead over Romney in Ohio, and a 6-point lead in Pennsylvania.
Related story: Poll: Obama, Brown lead in Ohio
Between his scheduled events, the president is sure to make surprise visits to restaurants and small businesses or stop to greet voters gathered on the side of the road to watch his motorcade.
Obama's itinerary for the bus trip was still being finalized, but the official said the president probably would hold events in northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss details of the trip before an official announcement from the campaign.