A woman supports Obama at a Romney rally in Florida. (Photo : Reuters)
With new polls showing the president's lead in his race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney either shrinking or disappearing altogether, both campaigns are pulling out their electoral maps and renewing their focus on the crucial swing states.
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Even more than previous years, this election will hinge on the outcomes in just a few states. Only nine states have voting populations evenly-split along party lines: Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Since the Electoral College assigns all votes from a single state to the candidate that wins in that state, votes that could potentially decide the outcome of the race in a state are the most important, especially in a tight race.
As seen in 2000, even if a candidate wins the popular vote--the raw tally of all votes cast in the country--they can still lose the election, if the quirky math behind the allotment of votes to each state doesn't work out in their favor.
Though Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, he lost in the Electoral College and therefore lost the election.
While President Obama has been suffering in these recent polls, there is some good news for him, as he is still leading in most swing states. But Mitt Romney is making headway.
Rasmussen polls conducted the day after the first debate show Obama with a 1-point lead in Ohio but one point behind in Virginia, and two points behind in Florida.
More Democrats are requesting and casting absentee ballots in Iowa and Ohio, a good sign for the Obama campaign, but there is similar news for the Republicans from North Carolina and Florida.
Obama's lead is down to two points in Wisconsin. He is leading in New Hampshire and is doing well in Colorado and Nevada, due in part to large Hispanic populations that support him by a wide margin over Romney.
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