Beyond Ohio: Swing State Snapshots

The election is closer in some states than others, so fewer than a dozen of the 50 states carry importance to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Ohio has emerged as the lynchpin to both men's paths to victory. But their strategies run through large prizes like Florida and Pennsylvania, newly competitive Western areas like Colorado and Nevada, and old Southern strongholds like Virginia and North Carolina. Scroll through for a guide to the specific issues in the battleground states.

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The most-contested swing state

Ohio

No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, and the campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have paid more attention to Ohio than any other state in 2012.

Ohio is so important to both candidates largely because its 18 Electoral College votes make it the second largest battleground state to Florida and because the race is so close there. Pennsylvania is another large prize where Republicans have been airing TV ads and concentrating efforts in an attempt to expand Mitt Romney's map. But the focus on Ohio has been constant for months.

Ohio has been Ground Zero for the Obama and Romney campaigns' manufacturing-driven economic messages. President Obama has touted his auto bailout, while Mitt Romney has launched a series of TV ads promoting his tough stance on China and questioning Obama's; the president has responded with China ads of his own, insinuating that Romney supported sweatshop labor while considering investments for Bain Capital.

The campaigns have also battled for Ohio's handful of coal-producing counties, airing TV ads the Charleston, W.Va., media market covering counties on Ohio's eastern border. Romney ads have featured miners complaining that Obama's coal policies endanger their livelihood; Obama has hit back with ads that allege Romney is "not one of us" and replay Romney's criticism of a coal plant as governor of Massachusetts. Miners featured in one of Romney's ads were required to attend the rally where they were filmed, the LA Times reported, and Obama has aired an ad accusing Romney of using them as "props." Ohio is home to 11,500 miners and loggers, according to BLS.

The economy has been improving in Ohio -its unemployment rate is lower than it was when President Obama took office - and like Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich has touted his state's recovery, including in his Tampa convention speech. "We've made real progress in Ohio," Kasich said during that speech. "But we need a new partner in Washington -- this relationship is just not working."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman made it to Romney's final three VP choices, but the GOP candidate eschewed him for Paul Ryan, who went to college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 7 percent, as of September

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: Ohio's unemployment rate is currently lower than it was when President Obama took office, when it sat at 8.6 percent. It held the same rate a year ago and has dropped by 1.6 percentage points since last September.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME 2011: $45,749 2008: $49,793

POPULATION: 11,544,951, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 estimates

POPULATION BY RACE White: 83.6 percent Black: 12.4 percent Asian persons: 1.7 percent Hispanic persons: 3.2 percent

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A key to Romney's electoral map

Florida

Winning Florida is essential for Mitt Romney. Without its 29 Electoral College votes - Florida is the largest electoral college prize of any swing state - Romney would have to win nearly every other battleground. If Obama wins only Florida, New Hampshire, and Nevada (along with Michigan and Pennsylvania, where he is expected to win) the president will be re-elected. Despite Obama's solid win in Florida in 2008, Republicans may have an advantage in the Sunshine State, which hasn't had a Democratic governor since 1999.

The bad economy and the housing bust hit Florida hard. In September, Florida ranked first among state foreclosure rates with one in every 318 households, and second in total foreclosures with 28,235. The state's unemployment rate has dropped from its peak in 2009, but it remains above the national average.

Florida has made headlines with three recent disputes over voting rights: a law passed by the GOP legislature that would have required voter-registration groups to submit registration forms within 48 hours of collecting them (a federal court blocked this provision in May); a change to early voting that eliminated voting on the Sunday before Election Day; and a purge of non-citizens from voter rolls (using a federal database), which is ongoing despite a lawsuit by civil-rights groups. Over the weekend, Democrats filed a lawsuit against the state to extend early voting after long lines were reported in South Florida.

Florida ranked 6th in Hispanic population by percent, according to the 2010 Census. In 2008, exit polls showed Hispanic voters breaking 57 percent for Obama and 42 percent for John McCain. In 2012, both candidates have aired a string of Spanish-language TV ads in Florida focusing on education and the economy.

Through Saturday, 4.4 million Floridians had already voted, either early in person or absentee by mail. Registered Democrats enjoyed an advantage of about 159,000 in early/absentee turnout.

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 8.7 percent, as of September

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: Unemployment is now what it was in January 2009 (8.7 percent), and it peaked at 11.4 percent in January and February 2010, but it has decreased dramatically since then. In Sept. 2010, a year before the latest state report before Election Day, the rate was 10.4 percent.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME 2011: $44,299 2008: $49,765

PARTY REGISTRATION Democrats: 4,715,684 Republicans: 4,214,241 No Party: 2,516,757

POPULATION: 19,057,542, according to the Census Bureau's 2011 estimate

POPULATION BY RACE White: 78.5 percent Black: 16.5 percent Asian persons: 2.6 percent Hispanic persons: 57.5 percent

Tune in to ABCNews.com on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for livestreaming coverage of Election 2012. Our Election Day show kicks off at noon, and the Election Night event begins at 7 p.m.

Join ABC News and Google+ for Election Night Hangouts – let us know who you are HERE.

The swing state the launched Obama in 2008

Iowa

Iowa was the site of President Obama's sudden rise into the political spotlight, and in 2012 he'll look to recapture that energy.

If the main issue of this election is the economy, Iowa offers a notable exception to the recession's doldrums: It has the best economy of any swing state by far, reporting the nation's fourth-lowest unemployment rate in September (tied with Oklahoma) and has been relatively untroubled by foreclosures.

It's the economic opposite of another battleground state -- Nevada, the national foreclosure epicenter suffering the worst jobless rate in the nation.

Check out the Electoral States of America Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE

Lest those factors paint Iowa as a lock for the president, the Hawkeye state saw some of the closest presidential contests in the nation in 2000 and 2004, when Al Gore won it by 4,144 votes and George W. Bush won it by 10,059.

(The state wasn't close in 2008: Obama defeated John McCain in Iowa by nine percentage points.)

Mitt Romney didn't win this year's Iowa caucuses -- the state party infamously reversed its decision to award Rick Santorum a narrow win, announcing that some caucus ballots had been lost forever -- but in hosting the nation's first GOP primary-season voting contest, the Iowa Republicans generated excitement within their ranks.

Piggybacking on the caucuses, Iowa Republicans used that energy to wrest the lead in party registration from Democrats, who held it in 2008. More of Iowa's voters are independent than partisan, but Republicans lead Democrats by nearly 11,000 after trailing by nearly 115,000 in 2008.

The campaigns have flooded Iowa's airwaves, airing ad after ad in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines media market -- two of the most heavily trafficked TV markets in the nation, according to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads nationwide.

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 5.2 percent, as of September

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: Iowa's unemployment rate has fallen since President Obama took office: In Jan. 2009, the Hawkeye State reported 6.1 percent unemployment. The rate peaked at 6.3 percent, where it hovered for 10 consecutive months in 2009. The rate fell steadily before a spike from 5.1 percent in June 2012 to 5.5 percent in August.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: 2011: $49,427
2008: $50,921

PARTY REGISTRATION Republicans: 622,176
Democrats: 611,284
Independents: 675,171
Other: 2,072
1,910,703 -- TOTAL

POPULATION: 3,062,309, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 estimates

POPULATION BY RACE: White: 93 percent
Black: 3.1 percent
Asian: 1.9 percent
Hispanic: 5.2 percent

An economic ground zero

Nevada

Nevada has the worst economy of any state, let alone battlegrounds.

Its unemployment rate is the highest in the nation. Hit harder by the housing crisis than any other state in the country, Nevada has ranked first nationally in foreclosures per housing unit in every quarter since at least the beginning of 2007.

Further tipping the scales in Mitt Romney's favor were the state's early GOP caucuses, which presumably generated some enthusiasm for Romney as their winner, and the nation's third largest concentration of Mormons.

See all of ABC News battleground states in our Electoral States of America map HERE

And yet polls have shown President Obama with a narrow lead there. Why?

The state's demographics give Obama a structural advantage. In 2008, more than 25 percent of the vote was cast by non-whites, and Obama carried 94 percent of the African-American vote and a whopping 76 percent of the Latino vote. While turnout could drop off from 2008, Obama figures to perform well among these groups again in 2012--and Latinos account for 27 percent of Nevada's population, making it fifth among states in Latino concentration.

In 2010, Democrats narrowly avoided a demoralizing loss in Nevada, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid staved off a competitive challenge from tea partier Sharron Angle.

This year, Rep. Shelley Berkley is challenging Republican Sen. Dean Heller. Democrats thought Nevada to be a strong pickup opportunity in a presidential year, but Berkley has faced a congressional ethics investigation over advocacy for a kidney clinic that benefited her husband, but the race remains close, and polls have showed Heller leading.

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 11.8 percent in September

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: Nevada currently ranks first in state unemployment--with a higher rate than the 9.6 percent it reported when Obama took office--and things have been getting worse. After dipping to 11.6 percent in May and June, the rate climbed to 12 percent in July and now sits at 11.8 percent. Nevada's unemployment peaked at 14 percent in Oct. 2010.

CURRENT FORECLOSURE RATE: One in every 496 housing units in September, according to RealtyTrac

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME

2011: $48,927 2008: $58,833

PARTY REGISTRATION

Democrats: 520,638 Republicans: 434,313 Independents: 216,722 Independent American Party: 57,578 Libertarian: 8,358 Green: 1,181 Other: 6,760

POPULATION

2,723,322 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate

POPULATION BY RACE

White: 77.7 percent Black: 8.6 percent Asian: 7.7 percent Hispanic: 27.1 percent

See other battleground state profiles here: NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA

The western prize and an edge for Romney

Colorado

A growing Hispanic population and a slate of recent Democratic successes bode well for President Obama in this westward battleground, but a high unemployment rate presents a significant challenge.

In 2008, Obama became only the third Democratic presidential candidate to carry Colorado since 1952; Lyndon Johnson won in 1964 and Bill Clinton won in 1992 (though it bears noting that Independent candidate Ross Perot captured 23 percent of the vote in Colorado in 1992.)

Trends indicate that Obama's victory in the state wasn't a fluke. In recent years, Democrats have had a lot of success in the state. In 2004, Democrats won control of the state legislature, and in 2006 the party expanded its majorities to the state House and the state Senate.

Democrats also had a relatively good year in 2010. Incumbent Senator Michael Bennett won a tough re-election against tea party-er Ken Buck, and Democrats held onto the governor's mansion when former Denver mayor John Hickenlooper won.

One of the major reasons for the Democrats' success appears to be the growing Hispanic population. Today, roughly 14 percent of all eligible voters in Colorado are Hispanic, according to the Pew Research Center. Obama carried the Hispanic vote by a large margin in 2008 and polling in this cycle has consistently shown him with double digit leads over Mitt Romney.

Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE

But Colorado is far from a sure thing for Democrats. The state boasts a strong Republican presence, and, perhaps more importantly, the unemployment rate has been sizable- 8 percent, slightly higher than the national average, as of Sept. 2012.

The question mark in Colorado is the Independent vote. Voters registered as "unaffiliated" are numerous in Colorado, equal to the total number of registered Democrats and Republicans in the state. And there's some question as to whether they will break for either candidate or if they'll split their votes among Romney, Obama and third party candidate Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who is also on the ballot. Like Perot in 1992, the Johnson factor could have a real impact on the final results.

Here are some key statistics about Colorado.

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

8 percent as of September 2012

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE.

In Jan. 2009, the unemployment rate in Colorado was 6.6 percent. The number climbed for roughly the first two years. It hovered at a high of 9 percent for September, October, November of 2010 and then it started to climb back down. As of Sept. 2012, the unemployment rate was about on-par with the national average at the time.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME

2011: $55,387

2008: $59,720

POLITICAL PARTY REGISTRATION

Among active voters:

Dem: 871,712

GOP: 912,456

Unaffiliated: 882,063

STATEWIDE POPULATION (as of the 2011 Census Bureau report)

5,116,796

RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS

White persons: 69.7 percent

Hispanic: 20.9 percent

Black: 4.3 percent

Asian: 2.9 percent

A government spending paradox

Virginia

Virginia is a new swing state. In the last 40 years, going back to 1972 it has only gone blue once -- and that was in 2008. Prior to Barack Obama's victory in the commonwealth, no Democratic presidential candidate had won Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

The state's changing demographics -- an increase in the minority population, plus the increase in young white college graduates living in the state -- has contributed to the state becoming more friendly to Democrats in recent years. Plus, the state's low unemployment rate -- 5.9 percent in September -- helps boost Obama and the Democrats.

Democrats had a good year in Virginia in 2008. In addition to Obama's victory, the state also elected a second Democratic senator, Mark Warner. But Republicans have made gains since then. The GOP took back the governor's mansion in 2009 when Bob McDonnell was elected governor, and in the 2010 midterms they picked up three Democratically held House seats in the 2nd, 5th and 9th congressional districts.

One of the major employers in the state is the defense industry, and federal dollars are key to Virginia's economic health. The stimulus is certainly one of the reasons for Virginia's lower than average unemployment rate, a selling point for Obama.

But this means that the threat of sequestration resonates very heavily in the state, in a way that it arguably does not anywhere else in the country -- and although Congress may bear the brunt of the blame for the fact that sequestration is a real threat, it has come to pass under the Obama administration and arguably hurts him more than it does his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

Check out the Electoral States of America Battleground states map with latest polls and info.

Below are several key statistics about Virginia.

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 5.9 percent in September 2012.

UNEMPLOYMENT TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: When Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent and while it climbed up for the first year of his term -- peaking at 7.3 percent in January 2010 -- the state was always somewhat shielded from the recession because of the large number of government jobs. The unemployment rate has been on a downward trend since January 2010.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME
2011: $61,882
2008: $63,956

POLITICAL PARTY REGISTRATION: Virginia doesn't have party registration in its voter registration process.

STATEWIDE POPULATION (As of 2011): 8,096,604.

RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS

White: 71.3 percent
Black: 19.8 percent (noticeably higher than national which is 13.1percent)
Asian: 5.8 percent
Hispanic: 8.2 percent

Obama has struggled in the South

North Carolina

In 2008, President Obama did what no other Democrat had done since Jimmy Carter in 1976: He won North Carolina.

Many analysts took that narrow victory of 14,177 votes as a sign of possible tectonic shifts in American politics, with Democrats expanding their map of competitiveness into two key Southern states, North Carolina and Virginia, and Republicans marginalized as a regional party of the South -- destined for years, if not decades, out of the White House and in congressional minorities.

ABC News rates North Carolina as lean Republican. (See all of ABC's race ratings and create your own electoral map.)

Mitt Romney's campaign has seen North Carolina as a ripe opportunity to pick up one of Obama's 2008 states, but polls there have shown a competitive race despite a bad state economy. Among battleground states, North Carolina's unemployment rate is second only to Nevada's.

Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE.

After his convention surge but before the first debate, Obama led Romney in North Carolina by two percentage points in a Sept. 23-35 NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Since then, no surveys considered reliable by ABC News have been conducted in the state.

On May 8, North Carolina became the 30th state to adopt a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, with 61 percent support in a statewide vote. The next day, Obama completed his "evolution" on the issue, telling ABC's Robin Roberts in an interview that he supports same-sex marriage but thinks policy should be set by states.

Democrats held their convention in Charlotte (Mecklenburg County). Al Gore lost Mecklenburg County in 2000, and John Kerry won it by just more than 12,000 votes in 2004.

But Obama won North Carolina in large part by winning Mecklenburg County by more than 100,000 votes in a close statewide race. The Obama campaign likes to point to an extensive effort they have put into the state in registering new voters, and Democrats enjoy a party-registration advantage of nearly 800,000.

State Democrats are in disarray. In November, a grand jury indicted a top aide to Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue for allegedly scheming to pay a staff member off the books in violation of state election laws. The state Democratic Party chairman came under criticism for the handling of a sexual harassment allegation involving a financial settlement; he submitted his resignation to the party, which rejected it, and he remains chairman.

Thanks in part to a GOP-drawn congressional map, Democrats could lose as many as three House seats. Perdue is not seeking reelection, and her Republican opponent from 2008, Pat McRory, is expected to win and replace her.

Some key facts about North Carolina:

CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 9.6 percent, as of September

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE: North Carolina's current unemployment is worse than its 9.0 percent rate when President Obama took office. Unemployment peaked at 11.4 percent in January and February 2010 and declined steadily after that. Over the last year, North Carolina's unemployment rate has droped by one percentage point, from 10.7 percent in Sept. 2011, but the state's recovery has stalled in recent months, sitting at the same rate it reported in March, after dipping to 9.4 percent for three months, April through June.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME

2011: $43,916
2008: $48,474

PARTY REGISTRATION

Democrats: 2,803,323
Republicans: 2,019,294
Independents: 1,668,493
Libertarians: 17,212

POPULATION

9,656,401 as of 2011, per U.S. Census Bureau

POPULATION BY RACE

White: 72.1 percent
Black: 22 percent
Asian: 2.3 percent
Hispanic: 8.6 percent

Romney hopes to break Democrats' streak

Pennsylvania

Polling has consistently shown President Obama with a lead in Pennsylvania, but in recent weeks the size of that lead has narrowed, suggesting that Pennsylvania may be more of a question mark than had previously been thought.

ABC News currently rates the state as leaning Democrat. If it were to turn toward Romney in the last week of the election, that would suggest major cracks in the president's electoral firewall. The state has voted Democratic in the past five presidential elections. It hasn't gone Republican since 1988, and Democrats boast a huge advantage in terms of party registration. A little more than 4.2 million Democrats are registered in the state as compared to a little more than 3.1 million Republicans.

See all of ABC's race ratings and make your own electoral map.

However, Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is slightly above the national average ? 8.2 percent as of September 2012 -- and Republicans have had success there in recent years. In the 2010 midterm elections Republican Tom Corbett picked up the governor's mansion and Pat Toomey, als a Republican, won a Senate seat.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is also running for reelection in 2012 and had thought to be in a strong position, but Republican Tom Casey, a former coal plant owner, has poured nearly $17 million of his own money into the Senate race. A tight Senate contest could energize conservatives to the polls.

Bob Casey was first elected to the Senate in 2006 when he unseated Republican Rick Santorum. Santorum was Romney's stiffest competition in the Republican primary earlier this year.

Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and information HERE.

The Romney campaign made a buy of over $600,000 in the Philly and Pittsburgh markets late in the game.

The state's 20 electoral college votes are a big prize, and if Romney can pull off a last minute upset in the Keystone state, it will change the electoral map entirely.

Some key statistics about Pennsylvania: CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (source: BLS) 8.2 percent as of September 2012.

TREND SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE. When Obama took office in January 2009 the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 6.8 percent. The rate peaked at 8.7 percent in February and March 2010, and it has slowly dropped down over the course of the past two years, hovering between 7 and 8 percent.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: 2011: $50,228 2008: $52,617

FORECLOSURES: One in every 1,513 housing units as of September 2012. 29th in the U.S., where the average foreclosure rate is 1 in 730 housing units.

PARTY REGISTRATION: Republicans: 3,130,250 Democrats: 4,250,771 No Affiliation: 615,035 Other: 491,037

Population (as of 2011, courtesy of the U.S. Census bureau): 12,742,886

Population by race:

White persons- 83.8 percent Black persons- 11.3 percent Asian persons- 2.9 percent Hispanic persons- 5.9 percent

Paul Ryan makes play for home state

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has generally been a fairly reliable blue state. No Republican presidential candidate has carried Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. But the GOP is hoping that 2012 will be the year that reverses the trend, and a recent wave of Republican success in the Badger State has given them hope.

The year 2010 was a huge year for Republicans in Wisconsin. They won the governorship, a Senate seat and picked up two House seats from Democrats in the midterms. Their success held in June when Gov. Scott Walker became the first governor in history to survive a recall election. Republicans hope that Walker's victory is another sign that the state is in play.

Although exit polls from the recall showed Obama with a lead, 51 percent to Romney's 45 percent, subsequent polling in recent weeks and months has shown a much closer race.

The presence of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on the ticket is also believed to have boosted the Republicans' chance of carrying the state. Ryan has represented Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District for 14 years.

Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE

While Wisconsin has stayed pretty blue in presidential races since 1984, Democrats haven't always run away with the state. George W. Bush was defeated by a very close margin in 2000 and 2004. And before Reagan's win in 1984, results were mixed. Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976, but Nixon prevailed in both 1972 and 1968.

But again, the GOP believes it has reasons to hope this year.

Here's a look at some key statistics in the Wisconsin battleground.

Current Unemployment Rate:

7.3 percent in September 2012

Trend Since Obama Took Office:

In January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent. However, over the course of the next year it spiked, hitting a peak of 9.2 percent in January 2010. Since then, the rate has steadily dropped.

Median Household Income:

2011: $50.395

2008: $54,424

Party ID Breakdown:

Wisconsin does not register voters by party affiliation.

Statewide Population, Per 2011 Census:

5,711,767

Racial Demographics:

White: 88.4 percent

Black: 6.5 percent

Asian: 2.4 percent

Hispanic: 6.1 percent

Mitt Romney's summertime home state

New Hampshire

Live Free or Die isn't just a saying on the Granite State's license plate--it's a way of life, and the political behaviors of New Hampshire are no exception.

New Hampshire is an independent state; unlike many of its fellow New England neighbors which tilt towards various shades of blue, New Hampshire is purple in its nature. The state's Senators are split, one Republican, one Democrat; the two House members are both Republicans and the governor is a Democrat.

The state has a history of generally swinging towards the winner in presidential election. In the 10 contests stretching back to 1972, New Hampshire has voted for the winning candidate 8 times. The two exceptions? In 2004 John Kerry won the state, and in 1976 Gerald Ford won the state.

President Obama and Mitt Romney boast their own advantages in the state. Republicans have had success picking up seats in the state in recent years. The GOP picked up one seat from Democrats in New Hampshire in 2010: Republican House Rep. Frank Guinta defeated Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st congressional district. Although freshmen Sen. Kelly Ayotte won a seat previously held by another Republican- Judd Gregg- she's considered a rising star in her party, and is becoming a recognizable face of the New Hampshire Republican. She's also been a Romney supporter for a long time and has frequently appeared with him in the state. Although the Romney's have never been full-time residents of New Hampshire they do own property there--their summer home is on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE.

But Obama didn't just eke out a win in New Hampshire in 2008--he dominated. Obama carried every county in the state, besting McCain by roughly 10 points- 54 percent to 44 percent. The state's relatively low unemployment rate, 5.7 percent in September, 2012, might prove a challenge for Republicans.

Below is a look at some of the key statistics in New Hampshire.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

5.7 percent in September, 2012.

UNEMPLOYMENT TREND

The unemployment rate in New Hampshire is higher now than when Obama took office. In January, 2009, it was 5.2 percent, now it's 5.7 percent. However, the number is down from a four month peak of 6.7 percent from Oct. 2009- Jan. 2010. Since then the number has trended downward, although July and August are seeing a bit of an uptick. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in June, it's ticked up to 5.4 percent in July, 5.7 percent in August and continuing through September.

MEDIAN INCOME

2011: $62,647

2008: $66,553

POLITICAL PARTY REGISTRATION

Republican: 260,138

Democrat: 224,814

Undeclared: 308,541

STATE POPULATION – (As of the 2011 Census Bureau report)

1,318,194

RACIAL DEMOGRAPHICS

White persons- 94.6 percent

Black persons- 1.3 percent

Asian persons- 2.3 percent

Hispanic persons- 2.9 percent

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