Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney started a six-state bus tour in New Hampshire yesterday that will also include visits in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. What is most important about these states, and the fact that Romney is visiting them this early in the general election campaign, is the fact that Barack Obama won all of them in 2008. This bus tour indicates a degree of confidence, and the Romney campaign is clearly operating in a position of strength at this juncture in the campaign process.
Traditionally a Republican-leaning state, New Hampshire elected Democrats to control their state house and senate in 2006 and 2008 and voted for Obama for president in 2008. New Hampshire even elected a Democrat as governor during those years. But in 2010, the state swung back strongly to the GOP column. Republicans won about three-quarters of the seats in both houses of the state legislature and all the seats on the governor's council. Additionally, both congressional seats were won by Republicans Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta, and the U.S. Senate seat was won by Republican state attorney general Kelly Ayotte. While the state is only worth four electoral votes, Al Gore would have been president after the 2000 election if he had won New Hampshire. The Romney campaign knows the state is in play, and with some visits in New Hampshire, it should go red for Romney in November.
Pennsylvania is a key state and it's worth 20 electoral votes. It is also one of the states most believe that President Obama can not be reelected without winning this state. The state elected a Republican governor in 2010 and is likely to be in play this coming November in the presidential race. Knowing that Obama can't win without Pennsylvania, I suspect Romney will make several stops there between now and November. Even if Romney doesn't ultimately win the state, by forcing Obama's campaign to put campaign resources into the state and not in other swing states, it will help Romney compete in the other swing states as well.
Ohio elected John Kasich as governor in 2010 and is the state that decided the 2004 election in favor of George W. Bush. But Obama won it in 2008 and likely can't win the presidency this year without carrying this state. The latest Rasmussen Reports and Purple Strategies polls shows Romney with a narrow lead, and I suspect Ohio will go red for Romney in November.
Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa and all states that Obama can win the election without carrying them, he won them in 2008, and they all elected Republican governors in 2010. Michigan is in play because the economy is so bad there and because Mitt Romney has family ties there, his father was once governor of the state. Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker just beat back the recall attempt, is now favoring Romney 47 percent to 44 percent in the latest Rasmussen Reports survey of the state. Iowa favors Romney by one percent from the last numbers by the same polling firm.
The selection of these six states by the Romney campaign shows strength and confidence because they are campaigning on Obama's territory, six states he won in 2008. If Romney wins any of these states he has a very good chance of being our next president. If he wins most or even all of these states, it might indicate a solid Romney victory in November.
If we see Romney spending a lot of time campaigning in New York and California, that will indicate the possibility of a Romney landslide in November.
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