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Swing State Update: Many Polls Tightening, But Dems Are Ahead In Early Voting

Democrats appear to have the upper hand in more key states.

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Iowa and New Hampshire

You would think that voters in the states that made the presidential election a pillar of their economy with its first-in-the-nation caucus and primary would not be on the fence. Apparently not.

The Times has Obama with a 0.9 percent lead in Iowa, which is tied. But as George Mason University’s McDonald and this Iowa blog following the state’s Democrats notes, the Democrats are ahead of the GOP so fare this fall with turning in absentee ballots. A Washington Post blog also noted that the state’s Democrats were doing far better in 2012 than in past cycles.

There is another factor that separates Iowa from the other deadlocked swing states. Iowa has Election Day registration—as does New Hampshire and Wisconsin—so voters can make up their minds at the last minute and actually vote.

In New Hampshire, Romney has closed the gap with Obama and is now said to be trailing by a percentage point, according to Real Clear Politics on Tuesday. But what’s not taken into account in those polls is that a New Hampshire court recently overturned a new law that would have made it harder for college students to vote. Similarly, in Wisconsin, where the state’s GOP establishment is fighting in court to reinstate a tough new voter ID law that would discriminate against students, the board overseeing that state’s elections will allow people to present digital documents to poll workers—from phones, laptops and tablets—if they are registering to vote on Election Day. That too, could help college students and younger voters.

But all of these trends—the polls and election law landscape—will not mean much unless the candidates can motivate their base. And that’s why tonight’s second presidential debate, and next week’s final debate, will be critical in determining who turns out, who votes, and who occupies the White House in 2013.         





Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

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