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June 28, 2016

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Oldgulph

With the end of the primaries, the political relevance of three-quarters of all Americans is now finished for the presidential election.

Issues of importance to non-battleground states are of so little interest to presidential candidates that they don’t even bother to poll them.

Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
“Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [the then] 18 battleground states.”

More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested in the 10 swing states in the 2012 general-election campaign.

Two-thirds (176 of 253) of the general-election campaign events, and a similar fraction of campaign expenditures, were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa).

Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the then 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

Since World War II, a shift of only a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections.

Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

“Battleground” states receive 7% more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.

Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a "safe" state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a "swing" state) under Presidents of both parties. President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida's shores, after it had first reached Louisiana. Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, steel tariffs, and Medicare Part D. Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states - like water issues in the west.

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