Swing States of America: Candidate Tracker and News, August 17

by Devin McCarthy // Published August 17, 2012

Swing State Economics: Unemployment / Miami Herald


Candidate Tracker:

Barack Obama: President Obama spent most of this week campaigning in Iowa. He hosted campaign events in the battleground state from Monday through Wednesday, before returning to Washington, DC on Thursday.

Mitt Romney: Romney completed his four-day swing state bus tour early this week with rallies and fundraisers in Florida and Ohio. On Wednesday, Romney held a fundraiser in Alabama, and was in South Carolina on Thursday for a press conference.

See our tracker summary for Barack Obama since he became president and Mitt Romney since he effectively earned the Republican nomination.

Recent Stories on the Candidates' State Strategies:

Election 2012 battleground shrinks as states fall in line

Los Angeles Times / August 6, 2012

The number of states that are likely to be competitive has shrunk over the course of the summer. States like Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have dropped out of the swing state category. Both candidates recently pulled tv ads out of Pennsylvania, for instance. In the eight swing states that remain, meanwhile, advertising has reached "near saturation levels."

Romney's 'Wind Tax' Position Thrills Tea Party; Draws Ire Of Swing-State GOP Lawmakers 

Jackson Free Press / August 7, 2012

Republicans in swing states such as Iowa and Colorado are concerned with Romney's position against tax credits for green energy sources, as those states have a particularly high number of jobs in green sectors. He is facing pressure to moderate his position on energy in order to win votes in those states, though Tea Party organizations are encouraging him to maintain his current stance.

Party poopers: Conventions rarely woo voters in host states 

The Tampa Bay Tribune  / August 12, 2012

Republicans hope that holding their convention in Florida could give Mitt Romney a small boost in the state, potentially making the difference in what promises to be a very close race. The historical evidence that this might occur is scant, however. Though Obama may have received a small boon in Colorado from his 2008 Denver convention, studies show that there is generally little benefit to holding a convention in a swing state.

Could Ryan Tip Wisconsin Toward Romney?

FiveThirtyEight / August 13, 2012

Paul Ryan is likely to provide a 2% boost to Romney in Wisconsin, based on the average amount that vice presidential candidates have helped the ticket in their home state since 1920. Such a shift could put a state that was previously leaning heavily towards Obama in play. 

Most swing state economies faring better than U.S.

Miami Herald / August 15, 2012

The Electoral College system is benefiting President Obama because the economy in swing states like Virginia and Iowa is relatively better than the economy nationwide. Of the 14 states where polls are closest, 10 have unemployment rates lower than the national average. The major exceptions are Florida and Nevada, which are lagging behind the national recovery in most indicators.

Voter-Rules Fights Unfold in Presidential Battleground States

Bloomberg / August 16, 2012

Voting rights issues have been salient in several swing states. In Ohio, the Democratic Party successfully convinced the secretary of state to institute uniform early voting hours throughout the state. In Pennsylvania, a court upheld strict voting ID laws in the face of an American Civil Liberties Union suit. The judge disagreed with the contention that the law "unfairly burdens minorities."