For some time now, we have known that presidential candidates focus their attention and energy on swing states. They do this because under the winner-take-all method of allocating Electoral College votes, the only states that matter are the ones that could go for either the Democrat or the Republican, while the ones that are squarely for one party or the other do not matter. For example, in 2012, the presidential candidates focused on only ten states. Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire were the only states in which Barack Obama and Mitt Romney held public campaign events after the Democratic National Convention, and those same ten states received 99.6% of all the Obama and Romney campaigns’ television advertising money spent nationwide between April 11 and Election Day. But where within the swing states did the candidates travel? Did they travel everywhere within these swing states, or just to the largest cities? How did geography and demography within swing states affect their campaign strategy? Now, we have the answers.
FairVote has published a new map charting in detail when and where the presidential and vice presidential candidates campaigned after the 2012 Democratic National Convention in early September. Overall, the candidates attended 253 events in 168 different cities and towns, 59% of which were held in just three states (Ohio, Florida, and Virginia).
As we can see from our map, while the candidates did spent a lot of time in the largest swing state cities and their suburbs, they also traveled to more remote areas in search of votes as well. For example, in Ohio, the candidates traveled to 49 different cities and towns over the course of 73 different events. 37 of those events (50%), were in the three largest metropolitan statistical areas (urban cores and their surrounding suburbs), or MSAs, in Ohio. However, 48% of all Ohio residents live in these three metro areas, so the candidates’ attention to voters there is not surprising. Conversely, Iowa’s five largest MSAs contained only 37% of its population, and therefore the candidates held only 44% of their events there.
via FairVote.org | FairVote Maps the 2012 Presidential Campaign.