The presidential contest essentially boils down to eight key swing states, and the two candidates are largely ignoring the bulk of the country to focus on those plums.
The eight battlegrounds include Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire. That list excludes six of the 10 states with the most electoral votes.
Since June 5, the last major primary, both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have campaigned in only 10 states, National Journal
The candidates aren’t worrying so much about the other states because most of them are solidly in either the Romney or Obama camp already. The number of truly competitive states has been shrinking over the years.
Since 1996, no more than 11 states have been decided by margins of less than 5 percentage points in any election. In 2008, only six states were that close. But in 1960 this narrow margin prevailed in 20 states.
That largely reflects the growing gulf between liberals and conservatives and the fade-away of moderates.
As for the elite eight states, Real Clear Politics’ average of the latest three to seven polls in the biggest four states shows Romney ahead by 2.5 percentage points in Florida, Obama ahead by 2.4 points in Ohio, Romney ahead by 4.7 percentage points in North Carolina, and Obama ahead by 0.4 point in Virginia.
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