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States to Watch in Presidential Race

August 13, 2012
Plain English Version

The election for president is less than three months away. Only registered voters can vote. If you are 18 years old and a US citizen make sure you register.

In the United States, the candidate who gets the most votes may not win the office of President. The winning candidate has to have the most electoral votes. Each state has its own number of electoral voters. It is the number of representatives the state has in the US House of Representatives, plus the two US state Senators.

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Each side, Republicans and Democrats, count the number of states – and electoral votes – they are confident they will win. For example, California probably will elect Mr. Obama Texas will probably elect Mr. Romney.

How does a candidate know that he (or she) will win a state? The answer is they do not. They rely on polls conducted by survey organizations, the media and the political parties to tell them. Some polls are random. Some polls ask if a voter is likely to vote, and if so, for whom. Some polls focus on subgroups such as women, men, the young or the old.

They rely on polls because it tells them where to spend money to attract the voters in what are called “swing” or “battle ground”  states.

Currently, experts say voters in six states – Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania – will decide who will be the next president of the United States. In these six states, white working-class voters and women voters will make the difference.

The women voters are mostly single and nonwhite. Working-class voters usually do not have college degrees and have family incomes between thirty thousand and one hundred thousand dollars a year.

Many of these voters are not Democrats or Republicans. They are registered as Independents.

Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign is focusing on working-class voters. He says he can improve the economy faster than President Obama. He is trying to get the votes of unemployed workers and people with money problems.

Mr. Romney is leading President Obama with these voters in Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia.

President Obama is appealing to women on health care issues, such as abortion rights and childcare. He is also saying Governor Romney’s tax plan would take from the middle class and give to the rich.

In all six states, President Obama is leading Governor Romney among women and nonwhites.

In the other 44 states experts think they can predict the vote. In close elections, predictions are risky. Every vote counts.

Experts say, “Keep your eye on these six states on election night.”

The New York Times

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