As the East Coast recoils from Hurricane Sandy, the political news is of new states suddenly inundated with presidential campaign ads. First Wisconsin, then Pennsylvania, more recently Minnesota. Ann Romney is campaigning in Michigan, Bill Clinton in Minnesota.
All these are states Barack Obama carried by 10 points or more in 2008. Why is the electoral map scrambled this year?
One reason, which I wrote about last week, is that Mitt Romney seems to be running better in affluent suburbs than other recent Republican nominees. That’s one reason he made big gains after the first debate in Florida and Virginia, target states where most votes are cast in relatively affluent suburban counties.
The tightening race in Michigan and Pennsylvania, which Obama carried by 16 and 10 points in 2008, seems to reflect a move toward Romney in the affluent suburbs surrounding Detroit and Philadelphia.
In contrast, Romney has been struggling in Ohio, where the Rasmussen poll released Monday is the first survey in three months that shows him ahead there.
Only one-eighth of Ohio’s votes are cast in affluent suburbs. Traditional Republican strength there comes from small industrial counties where the barrage of Obama ads castigating Romney for opposing the auto bailout clearly had some impact.