Critical Time In Presidential Campaign

Americans will choose their next president in less than two months and the race is a statistical dead heat as it enters the season that matters most: The one where Americans who are not political geeks start paying attention.

The race will turn on how voters feel about the economy. Should President Obama be re-elected because it is headed in the right direction - 30 consecutive months of private sector job growth after precipitous losses during the George W. Bush presidency - or should GOP nominee Mitt Romney take the wheel because unemployment has been above 8 percent for more than three years, the longest stretch since the Great Depression?

"The Democrats are rolling the dice that they can win a base-on-base election," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who worked for the 2008 GOP presidential ticket.

As the electoral map stands now, O'Connell said, Obama could be re-elected if he wins only one of three tightly contested battleground states where the race is tied: Florida, Virginia and Ohio. The race is also tight in Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa and North Carolina.

Read more from Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle


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Analysis & Political Strategy