October 23rd, 2012
04:57 PM ET
2 years ago

Battleground Blog: Dispatches from the swing states

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN has sent dozens of reporters, producers, contributors and correspondents to the key battleground states to cover the final days of the 2012 election. Here is a brief report from one team:

(CNN) - Get on board the CNN Express for the Battleground State Bus Tour – 1,800 miles across the key swing states of this presidential election: Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

This election will be decided by swing voters in swing counties of these swing states – and that's who Ali Velshi and I will be talking with in the two week run up to Election Day.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

We're kicking off the Battleground State Bus Tour in Florida – the most famous and electoral delegate rich of all the swing states, where Al Gore came within 537-votes of being president in 2000 instead of George W. Bush.

Last night's third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton between President Obama and Mitt Romney focused on foreign policy – but that's not what is driving most swing voter's decisions here.

Instead, it's the intersection of politics and the economy that will determine their vote – and therefore the next president of the United States.

The latest CNN/ORC poll of Florida has likely voters split 49 to 48 percent between the Romney-Ryan ticket and Obama-Biden. Voters under 50 give Obama a 20-point edge.

But in a state where 16% of the population is age 65 or older, Romney is leading Obama by 56 to 43% among senior citizens. That's why Medicare and healthcare debates have been particularly resonant here.

Most revealing is the exact 46 to 46 split among independents and 48 to 48 among pivotal suburban voters. Whichever candidate gets the edge with these groups will win the state and quite possibly the entire election.

The key swing district of Florida runs appropriately across the center of the state, tracing the line of the I-4 corridor, from Tampa Bay to the Space Coast. And that's where we'll be driving the first few days of the Battleground State Bus Tour, spending Tuesday and Wednesday in Polk County and Orange County.

While the national unemployment rate has declined, rural Polk County's unemployment rate remains over 10% – well over the national average. The party registration split in the county is 39% Democrat, 37% Republican and 20% independent.

These statistics determine the contours of the county – but people are more than percentages and we'll be listening to their stories and getting their take on the issues driving their decision in this election.

Follow our travels on Twitter – @AliVelshi and @JohnAvlon – as well as on-air and on this blog, which we'll be updating with new posts at least twice a day.


Filed under: Battleground Blog
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Name w.bullock

    Go vote support for Romney 2012

    October 23, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. DRAKE MALLARD

    This guy doesn't get the economy: Romney's campaign is based on the notion that because of what he did running investment firm Bain Capital, he understands the economy. So it's perfectly reasonable to examine what his experience at Bain really taught him. After all, Bain wasn't in the business of creating jobs; it was in the business of making money. The truth is, the high unemployment rate is due to people like Romney outsourcing jobs. That's why middle-class Americans are suffering so much. China didn't just steal our jobs all by themselves. Romney and other profit-driven executives like him wrapped up the jobs in a great big package, put a bow on it, and gave the jobs to the Chinese. Now, maybe the Chinese would have taken some of them on their own, but Romney didn't have to push the jobs out and happily give them away. Mitt was a pioneer in sending jobs out of the United States to China. This is the person you want to be president of the United States

    October 23, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. AB

    Ha ha ha! Romney is a PHONY!

    October 23, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Reggiedw

    When I look at the CNN polls they always show the race closer than what they really are.. CNN's polls are not true polls and I do not believe them when I see them. Romney is way ahead of Obama but the liberal media will not report the real numbers.

    October 23, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Florida: where democracy goes to die.

    October 23, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Malory Archer

    Right on Drake Mallard! mittens is to outsourcing what the reichwing cacophony says Al Gore claimed to be to the internet.

    October 23, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. EMERGENCY DISPATCH TO OBAMA SWING STATE HQs

    We are in deep doo doo. All is lost. Abandon ship.

    October 23, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Ricardo martinez

    This morning, I was trying to read something in foxnews and I could not handly anything with a common sense. The had accepted that Obama won the debate of last night, but in the same time, they were tourching and questioning everything that obama said. This kind of news does not make any sense to me. I can not give credit to for a job that has been done and in the same time i will be saying all the bad thing of the job.

    October 23, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. Jersey Girl

    Good ol' Morphin' Mitt. Go away already! People are on to you and so your polls numbers will soon change and you will get your comeuppance!!

    October 23, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Obama is leading the polls. True.

    October 23, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. sayer

    GObama!

    October 23, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. kayla

    i guess the polls are correct now, hah? since the supposedly twitt is ahead lol

    October 23, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. linda hardge

    Go ahead and continue to believe that god will put mitt romney on the throne of the us. your polls are flawed. they reflect one race of america. you will see minorities come out i record numbers to defeat a morman who believe that jesus christ was a mere prophet and not our savior. god took care of the poor and down trodden and will always do so but will not allow satan on the throne.

    October 23, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Reggie, look at poll tracker.com or real clear politics. Electorally, Obama has the upper hand. Nice try.

    October 23, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. swingstater

    "Reggiedw", the GOP isn't way ahead. In fact, if anything, they are far behind in what most Americans think and believe. The polls are a snapshot of "likely voters." That is, the group that is disproportionate in the numbers of right-wing religious, the wealthy and older voters. Those people ALWAYS vote and they are more likely to vote for conservatives.

    The number of "other" who are more likely NOT to vote for the GOP is more disenfranchised from the process and do not reliably show up every election are actually the majority. This is also why the GOP always works so hard to try to limit voting–especially minority voting–in every election. Larger turnout favors the Democrats.

    If everyone got out to vote, we probably wouldn't be talking about what the GOP or the religious right thought–they'd be a non-issue.

    October 23, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. NameKeith

    Given Rom$$ney's lack of veracity, the choice is simple. President Obama does not flip-flop on the issues like Gov 'Romnesia'. What is most incredulous is that lower middle-class voters in most Southern states continue to support a GOP agenda that will harm them in more ways than one. The ability to think critically is crucial not only to their survival, but to the survival of all hard working Citizens. Above all, exercise Your Right to vote. God Bless

    October 23, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. Craig RB

    Let's hope that for the safety, security, sanity and the future of our great country that people come to their senses and don't vote for the phony Romney. He's a dangerous man.

    October 23, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. DENNA

    Heck, since Romney agrees with the president's handling on so many issues, why do we need to change? We already have what we need. Sigh, I fear that Romney will win and that will be the end of the middle class in this country. We suffered enough under Bush and now the suffering will continue. I don't mind that the fools who vote for him suffer, it's the rest of us I feel bad for.

    October 23, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  19. Renae

    I'm I watching CNN or FOX? Cannot tell the difference anymore.

    October 23, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  20. Beverly - NYC

    Reggiedw: What maps are you looking at in that alternate universe where Romney is winning. Obama has 253 electoral votes in states leaning or solid Blue, plus he's leading in 8 of the swing states including Ohio. Romney's has an uphill battle carring a piano to get 270. Continue to lie to yourself Reggie, Mitt is.

    October 23, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. g

    thet should get a blood sample from romney to see if he is of this planet

    October 23, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  22. Katja

    Drake Mallard ,

    With all due respect , you don't know what you are talking about .

    October 23, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. J.V.Hodgson

    If I look at polling of RCP andNBC news/ WSJ /Marist 10/21/2012 they predict the electoral college vote at 294 Obama 244 Ronmey or NBC etc say is 243 Obama 192 Romney and 104 toss up. Obama only needs to take Michigan and Pensylvania where he has the largest lead, 5% he is also more than 2% up also in Nevada, Iowa,Wisconsin,Ohio, he gets all those and its a slam dunk!!
    Will look for updated data after the Last debate which Obama won hands down. Debate wise CNN its 3 to 1 Democrats 2/1 Presidential and 1/0 VP.
    By the way a poll with a more than 3.5 % margin of error isn't statistically worth publishing, I use statistical sampling techniques in my job in the past and you have to better otherwise its not worth reading.
    Finally in the foreign policy debate the romney Tumult argument is meaningless gosing from dictatorship to democratically elected is a slow painful process but has to be left to Tunisians ( the start of the so called Arab spring) Libya and Egypt. face the fact these nations will never be Christian democracies and will have varying degrees of sharia law. Left to thier own devices they will long term help us win the war on terror internally in thier countries. The US electorate as a big majority has had enough of war and nation building ( being Israels protector is a separate cause celeb for Jewish votes in the US) and on balance I think most voters believe Romney would be quicker to press the war button in both Syria and Iran. Romney loses votes on this.
    His 47 % will also play a big part when people put an Tick or X on the voting form.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    October 24, 2012 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  24. NameUnsubg nj

    Wake up Floriida, you already have a crooked Govenor whose taking everything from you, why would you knowingly put a BIGGER CROOK in the White House, you've all been running around this country screaming for the govmnt to get their hands off your Medicare, but, then turn around and hand it right over to them, that' not democracy!!!!!!

    October 24, 2012 04:58 am at 4:58 am |