In exactly eight weeks, voters will head to the polls to decide whether to give President Obama another four years in office, or to replace him with Mitt Romney. As Election Day draws near, where the presidential candidates and their top surrogates decide to spend their time will provide clues about the states upon which each side is most heavily focused.
Since late May, Obama and Romney (and their top surrogates) have appeared most often in the swing states of Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Iowa, a handy new Washington Post chart shows. The chart tracks the state-by-state travels of Obama, Romney, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and Vice President Biden, as well as each of their spouses.
Ohio has been the top destination since the early summer, drawing appearances at 46 events, including 16 by Romney, the most in any state for the Republican presidential nominee. Obama's top destination has been Florida, where he has appeared 16 times.
A state's projected competitiveness in November hasn't been the only factor in determining travel, the chart also illustrates. California and New York, two safe Democratic states that won't be contested in the fall, have been top draws for the Romney and Obama camps. Why? Fundraising. Obama and Romney have made a total of 40 stops in California and New York since late May, most of which were to raise money.
A couple of other interesting finds: Romney has made more stops in Illinois (5) than Obama has in his home state. (Though Romney's stops have mostly been for fundraisers, since the state, like California and New York, is not expected to be competitive in November.)
And when it comes to Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor, the Obamas and the Bidens have made more stops than the Romneys and Ryans. Again, this is mainly because of fundraising, since Obama is expected to carry the state with ease in November.