With Mitt Romney and Barack Obama out campaigning in crucial swing states like Iowa and Colorado, both candidates aiming their messages at the same group of voters: women and the working class.
In Iowa, Romney has been hammering on Obama on welfare, claiming the president is working around welfare reforms passed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 by offering waivers to states. Attacking Obama on health care appears to be an attempt to appeal to blue-collar workers in the state.
Iowa is a tricky state for both candidates to navigate. Obama managed to carry the state in 2008, but that was with a 105,000-voter registration advantage. Since then, that advantage has turned towards the Republicans, who have a 21,589 voter advantage. Romney, however, had his initial win in the Iowa caucuses given to Rick Santorum, although he did eventually win the Republican presidential nomination.
In turn, Obama is planning to hit on issues he feels are near and dear to women voters when he visits Colorado. He has attacked Romney’s push to repeal Obamacare by saying such a move would take away women’s health insurance benefits created by the law. He will be introduced by Sandra Fluke at one event, whose congressional testimony about contraception earned her condemnation by Rush Limbaugh and strong support from the Democratic party.
Colorado is also a tough state to figure out for both candidates. Obama and Romney are tied among voters making between $30,000 and $50,000 a year. Voters making less than that favor Obama, while voters making more than that favor Romney. Both candidates are also seeking to target women between the ages of 30 and 50 in the state, particularly those living in Colorado suburbs. Obama won Colorado in 2008.
Obama does have plans to return to Iowa soon, but his trip there will focus more on green energy than the working class and women. Wind energy has become popular in Iowa, with turbines located across the state and wind energy companies employing thousands of Iowans. Obama has been an enthusiastic supporter of green energy, while Romney has attacked Obama on his support. Many Iowan Republicans, though, do support green energy initiatives.
It will be interesting to see whose campaigning strategy will bear more fruit in the weeks and months to come, particularly in these important swing states.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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