Obama's Extended Stay in Iowa a Sign of State's Importance On Electoral Map
The President will spend three days in Iowa next week, reportedly the longest consecutive time he's spent in one state during this campaign.
When the sitting president of the United States decides to spend three days in your state, far from Washington D.C., you know something has to be up.
What's up - up in the air, that is - are Iowa's six electoral votes. Six may not seem like a lot in the 270 electoral votes scheme of things, but in this race, six votes may be enough to decide the election.
And, as President Barack Obama gears up to devote three days to Iowa this week - Council Bluffs and Boone on Monday; Oskaloosa, Marshalltown and Waterloo on Tuesday; and Dubuque and Davenport on Wednesday - it is clear he wants Iowa.
Iowa is one of less than 10 states that are considered undecided in the presidential race. With less than three months of campaigning to go, both Obama and Republican opponent Mitt Romney are bombarding the state with ads (who knew politics would be such a huge part of watching the Olympics?).
But the ads haven't been enough to shift opinion in the state in favor of either candidate, said University of Northern Iowa professor Christopher Larimer. Polls seem to show Obama and Romney evenly split in Iowa voter's affection.
Larimer said in a state where voters are used to the Caucus cycle, during which they get to personally meet and greet the candidates, a personal touch may go farther than dozens of adds.
"We know Iowa voters expect that personal touch," he said. "Iowa has been saturated with political ads, and an extended personal stay is an attempt to break the stalemate."
He said Romney has the advantage in voter perception when it comes to the economy. But Obama has the advantage when it comes to voter perception of his relatability and personal appeal. Obama's long visit could be an attempt to play up that part of his image, he said.
"Romney still has the vice president pick coming up, and he'll get some momentum from that," he said Friday, before Romney announced Paul Ryan as his vice president pick. "This could be Obama trying to gain some momentum of his own."