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"Coming to a TV near you" Continued...

But Romney will need more than just Indiana to swing back to the Republican side. He is even looking to pull out upset wins in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Those three states haven’t gone Republican in the last five presidential elections (six for Wisconsin). Throw in Ohio and these form part of the industrial Rust Belt states, and these states may be in play due to the struggling manufacturing sector of the economy. What gives the Romney campaign hope is the fact that the GOP swept the governor and Senate races in these states in 2010. A Romney win in any of them may signal a good night on Nov. 6 for Republicans.

An X-factor for the swing-state battle is the nation’s growing Hispanic population. Twenty percent of the increase in the U.S. Latino population over the last decade has occurred in five battleground states: Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia. While all those states went Republican in most presidential contests since 1980, they all voted for Obama four years ago.

And those aren’t the only battleground states undergoing a changing demographic. According to U.S. Census data, the Hispanic population between 2000 and 2010 grew in Pennsylvania by 83 percent, in Iowa by 84 percent, in Ohio by 63 percent, and in New Hampshire by 79 percent. Republicans must improve their outreach to Hispanic voters who continue to vote for Democrats in heavy numbers or these states may be blue for some time.

Despite the millions already spent on advertising, voters in the battleground states should brace for more campaign commercials. The Center for Responsive Politics notes that in 2010, the final month of spending made up 56 percent of the total reported spending for that election cycle.

Republicans began October with $191.2 million in cash on hand. Granted, Obama and the Democratic committees affiliated with his campaign raised $181 million in September, a record for an incumbent president. That bested Romney and Republicans committees that month by $11 million.

But such comparisons do not count the non-party spending that tilts heavily this year toward Romney and the GOP. Presidential campaign advertising numbers from April through Oct. 12 found that pro-Romney ad spending exceeded pro-Obama spending by about $65 million across these nine battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

The bottom line: If you live in one of these states you will be able to recite numerous campaign ads from memory whether you like it or not. Some of you probably already can.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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