Obama gets a boost from fall in unemployment
Washington: Unemployment declined in 41 states in September, seven of which are key battlegrounds in the election, giving President Barack Obama a boost in the crucial two weeks before one of the closest races for the White House.
Ohio, which has 18 electoral votes up for grabs, saw its unemployment rate decline to 7 percent in September, down from 7.2 percent just a month earlier. It takes 270 electoral votes in the 538 delegate Electoral College to win the White House.
While hiring has picked up slightly in the state, unemployment is partly falling for the wrong reasons, CNN reported noting that while Ohio added about 51,000 jobs in the last year, more than 40,000 people also dropped out of the state's labour force.
Meanwhile in Florida, which has 29 electoral votes, the job market has made more steady progress. While at 8.7 percent in September, Ohio has a higher unemployment rate than the national average of 7.8 percent, its labour force is growing.
Nevada, which has six electoral votes, continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 11.8 percent in September, an improvement from August when its rate was 12.1 percent.
Swing states Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina also had declining unemployment rates in September, while the unemployment rate remain unchanged in the battleground states of Virginia and New Hampshire, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, ahead of Monday's final presidential debate, a new survey conducted Wednesday and Thursday entirely after the second presidential debate in the biggest of the battleground states indicates the race for the White House is basically tied.
According to a CNN/ORC International poll, 49 percent of likely voters in Florida say they support Republican nominee Mitt Romney, with 48 percent backing President Barack Obama. Romney's one point margin is well within the survey's sampling error.
The final president debate, which will focus on international issues, will be held Monday in Boca Raton, Florida.
"Generational and income difference are the two main factors in the Sunshine State, with President Obama holding double-digit leads among younger and less affluent voters and Mitt Romney piling up big margins among older and higher-income voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.