By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the first presidential debate just hours away, Eyewitness News spoke with local political analysts who will be closely watching the debate. Political analysts are certainly expecting a very spirited debate Tuesday night between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

They both will be appealing their case to voters, especially here in the critically important state of Pennsylvania.

“I would expect there to be fisticuffs, verbal fisticuffs I hope, but I would expect fireworks, I would expect it to be crazy and pugilistic,” said Brian Rosenwald, an author and political analyst with the University of Pennsylvania.

Rosenwald is expecting Biden to attack the president’s response to COVID-19. He also expects Trump to tout a strong economy.

“I think he’s going focus on the pandemic because it’s trump’s Achilles heel to say, ‘Look, everything is still bad, it’s six months later, kids are not in school, we don’t have enough PPE still for doctors and hospitals we’re starting to see more outbreaks,’” Rosenwald said. “For Trump’s campaign, that the argument is going to be that he’s going to make the economic argument. He’s going to say, ‘I built the economy, I can do it again.’”

Both candidates have been crisscrossing Pennsylvania in the weeks leading up to the election, knowing a win here likely leads to the White House.

“It’s one of the three or four states which is most likely to determine the outcome,” Rosenwald said.” From Biden’s perspective, it’s going to be hard, though not impossible, to win the presidency without winning Pennsylvania.”

Political analysts are also saying that they are certainly expecting Trump and Biden to continue many more trips here to the state of Pennsylvania, especially to the Philadelphia region and its suburbs in the weeks to come up until the election.

You can watch the first presidential debate on CBS3 starting at 9 p.m.