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iowa swing state romney rally Flags fly for U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Le Claire Park & Bandshell in Davenport, Iowa, June 18, 2012. (Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters)

Election 2012: All Eyes on Iowa - Again

Candidates fighting for control of midwest swing state

By Adam Metivier | null null , null

On January 3, the world watched as six Republican hopefuls gathered in Iowa to compete for the GOP's nomination for President of the United States. Nearly 10 months and five Republican dropouts later, the spotlight is back on Iowa, a swing state that could change the dynamic of the race for both parties.

Both President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have been paying extra attention to the Hawkeye State. Since securing the Republican nomination, Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, have made numerous stops in the state and in the Quad Cities, a group of five cities surrounding the Mississippi River. Their goal has been to sway voters onto the Republican bandwagon. Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, have made similar stops over the past few months.

The result has left the two candidates in a tight contest. As of Sunday, Obama holds a slim 3.1-point lead in Iowa, according to the the New York Times' poll tracker blog Five Thirty Eight.

Then-Senator Barack Obama won Iowa in 2008 with 54 percent of the vote.

"The percentages do matter," says Mathew Onken of Donahue, Iowa, who attended a Romney rally in June. "Every vote counts."

That familiar saying is especially true in Iowa during the lead-up to the 2012 election.

"This year, Iowa's going to be a lot more important than other people might realize," said Dr. Stephen Klien, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Augustana College in Illinois. "Iowa's a smaller state population-wise. It's got six electoral votes and a President needs 270 to win. But Iowa in the past few years has become a bit of a swing state."

The importance of Iowa in this upcoming election is also benefitting the small towns and cities that host these political rallies. According to Mayor Mark Vulich of Clinton, Iowa, Joe Biden's visit in June, which took place shortly after Romney's, "puts Clinton on the map. People come to see our town and we get a lot of publicity. I've probably had more phone calls over this visit than even getting our TIGER grant last week."

With more campaign visits scheduled for the rest of the campaign, the Hawkeye State will surely keep bustling as the candidates look to pull away in the polls.

Read more about the swing states that could determine the winner of the 2012 presidential election in the 2012 Swing States Special Report.


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