As many wait for the US election cycle, President Obama and Mitt Romney are weighing strategies in the swing states.
The polls are too early to decide a clear favourite, but the data will be crucial for Democrat and Republican strategists shaping their respective campaigns for the next few months.
The latest CBS News/New York Times and Quinnipiac University polls presented good news for Obama, with a majority of voters backing him in three critical battleground states. Obama led Romney by 51% to 45% in Florida, 50%-44% in Ohio and 53%-42% in Pennsylvania.
Kevin Liptak from CNN, and other influential pollsters, have noted that Florida and Ohio are considered toss-ups in November’s general election. CNN believes Pennsylvania will be more favourable to Obama.
“If today were November 6, Obama would sweep the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and, if history is any guide, into a second term in the Oval Office,” Peter Brown, who is assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, wrote in a statement.
Both sides have also campaigned hard to win independents. Among identified independents, Obama edges Romney in Florida 47%-46%, and Ohio 47%-44%.
The president has a more robust lead among independents in Pennsylvania, by 58%-36%.
The economy will likely play an important role in determining campaign strategies, but voters are split between Obama and Romney. In Florida, 47% said Romney would do a better job handling economic issues, while 45% named Obama.
In Ohio, 46% of voters said Obama would better handle the economy, and 45% picked Romney. Pennsylvanians gave Obama higher marks on the economy, where 48% named the President as better on the economy and 44% favoured Romney.
How the economic data projects recovery in key battleground states will be interesting in the coming few months.
The Obama administration will hope for improvements to the unemployment rate, while closely monitoring the crisis in Europe and a possible slowdown in the Chinese economy.
Romney’s team have attacked Obama’s record on the economy, particularly in regards to employment opportunities and supporting small businesses. The economy, unemployment, taxes and how to manage the federal government’s $14 trillion debt will be leading issues in 2012.
Other issues, such as the healthcare debate and immigration, are also expected to feature heavily in this campaign. Foreign policy is beginning to mark its presence, with Mitt Romney recently making trips to Britain, Poland and Israel.
With US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scheduled to retire at the end of year, Obama’s administration is playing an active role in dialogue with the ASEAN nations and China about the situation in the South China Sea.
Similar steps are being taken in relation to Egypt and Syria.
Over the next few months, Woroni will focus more specifically on these issues and talk about the key decisions that will arise, including Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential nomination and how both sides are galvanising their campaigns in the battleground states.