Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Obama is in a virtual dead heat with projected GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Real Clear Politics averaged the major tracking polls over the last 10 days and found the President leads Romney nationally by almost four percentage points. The same web site shows Minnesota is considered to be “leaning towards” Obama’s re-election.
Nothing, of course, is guaranteed until election night. That’s why presidential candidates are looking closely at Minnesota.
The President’s Senior Advisor, David Axelrod, was in town Tuesday for a fundraiser and to meet with reporters.
With falling home prices and rising gas prices, many Minnesotans are feeling these are still tough times, and that is a tough platform for any incumbent President to run on. Axelrod said Tuesday that in 2008 things were worse than they are now.
“We do have to look back four years ago when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod insists on the pocket book issues Barack Obama has delivered for middle class Americans.
“There are hundreds of thousands of kids all over this state who have health care who didn’t before because they can go on their parents’ health care,” Axelrod said.
But polls show the President is struggling, an average of polls done on his approval rating over the past few weeks show him at less than 50 percent.
It was Axelrod who is credited with helping engineer the 2008 campaign victory with its themes of hope and change. This time, Axelrod says the election will be very close and that Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes are critical.
“The reason we are in this state is that we take nothing for granted,” said Axelrod.
Hamline Professor David Schultz, a political expert, says Minnesota is a must-win for Obama in November.
“Yes they have to win this state to win the Presidency but ultimately this is probably not going to be one of the major battle ground states across the country,” Schultz said.
The only polling that has been done in MInnesota is a few months old and showed President Obama leading Romney by 10 percentage points. That was before Romney had solidified his lead for the Republican nomination.