Why does Iowa matter?
It's hard to believe that Iowa is a major deciding factor in who becomes president in this next election. I'm not saying this because I love my Hawkeye state. Did you know that of 50 states Iowa ranks third in how much money the candidates have spent on a state? You may think it's normal that the Obama or Romney seem to always be in town but it's not. So why Iowa? To answer that question we first need to discuss the electoral college.
The electoral college is set up to pick our next president. If you are thinking what is the electoral college, you aren't alone. Imagine the United States is sliced up into a pie, 538 slices to be exact. This represents the electoral college. Each state gets so many votes (slices of the pie based on their population.) Iowa gets 6 slices. Iowa, like 48 of the other states, votes all are nothing. So if 1,000,000 people vote for Obama and 1,000,0001 for Romney. Romney gets all 6 slices of the pie in Iowa. Whoever gets the majority of the votes wins the state electoral vote. Watch the following video as it tries to explain more about the electoral college.
So why Iowa? We only have 6 electoral votes. In the grand scheme of things that's not very much of the pie. Iowa is considered a swing state. What a swing state means is we can't make up our mind. We may vote republican or vote democrat in any given election. If you look at the picture above all the yellow states are swing states. Politicians tend to focus their time at these states. If a state is going to vote Republican then Obama or Romney don't want to spend their time or money there. instead the candidates focus their time on states that don't have their minds made up. Making the election a big deal in relatively few states. Seems kind-of sad all the states don't have to deal with annoying political commercials!
To see the how much candidates are spending on swing states go here: http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/ad-spending-in-presidential-battleground-states-20120620
To see the break down of votes for electroal college go here: http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/electoral-map
Now that we know a little bit about the Electoral College and why Iowa is so important, lets figure out what the issues are. You will be researching a in your English classes and you will go to "What are the Issues?" to help you with this.