4 States Where Barack Obama Can Boost Hillary Clinton's Campaign
Democrats are fired up and ready to unleash President Barack Obama.
Obama will hit the campaign trail on Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina — his first joint-appearance with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton since he endorsed her earlier this month.
With his approval rating averaging more than 50% for the first time since early 2013, Democrats say Obama will be an asset to their party in the fall. And they are planning to lean on him to help Clinton win in November and cement his presidential legacy.
Yet while Democrats say Obama's popularity will be a boon in November, they add that there are certain places he's most likely to appear as Election Day draws near.
Look for Obama and Clinton to hit suburban areas in swing states. While places such as Arizona and Georgia — traditionally Red states where polls show Clinton within striking distance — might not benefit from a visit from Obama.
"I think that the president can and will be an asset pretty much anywhere, but particularly with young people, particularly in swing states he's done well in, and particularly in some of the more suburban areas of these swing states," Shripal Shah, communications director for Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC working to flip the Senate back to Democratic control in November, said. "Those are the people that pretty much built his coalition in '08 and '12, and those are the people who are still persuadable. and he's the the best messenger to persuade them"
Here are the four places where Obama can help Clinton the most.
North Carolina is a firmly purple state, thanks to a growing number of northerners moving to the Tar Heel State due to its thriving economy.
Obama won here in 2008 by less than a one-point margin, and lost four years later by two points.
In 2016, polling in the state shows Clinton and Trump in a virtual tie, with Clinton leading in the New York Times polling average by a mere 0.4%.
Democrats say Obama will be an asset to Clinton in areas such as Charlotte, where he remains immensely popular with the sizable minority populations.
Moreover, Obama can help Clinton in the Raleigh-Durham area, which is filled with younger, educated white voters that might need prodding to back Clinton after a contentious primary with Sen. Bernie Sanders.
And winning North Carolina would be a good omen for Clinton in November. If she carries the state, there's almost no path for Trump to secure the 270 Electoral College votes necessary for victory.
The Sunshine State is perpetual swing territory.
Obama carried it twice — by a nearly three-point margin in 2008 and by a slim one-point margin in 2012.
Florida's growing Hispanic population makes the state fertile territory in Clinton's race against Trump, who has attacked Mexican immigrants and promised to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democrats say minority-heavy areas in south and central Florida are ripe for Obama to campaign in.
Populous cities such as Orlando, Miami and Tampa are where Democrats build their margins of victory in the state, and where Obama is most likely to campaign in with Clinton.
"I anticipate that he will be really helpful in central Florida, whether it's Tampa or Orlando," said Ana Cruz, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. "Remember, back in '08, shortly after Hillary conceded, [one of their first appearances] together was in Orlando, Florida, and it drew huge crowd because of the ... diverse demographics that central Florida has."
Both Sanders and Trump have stoked working-class white voters' anger over trade agreements, which they say have led to job losses in Rust Belt states such as Ohio.
It's a message that could help Trump in Ohio — a must-win state in any of his potential paths to 270 Electoral Votes.
Democrats say Obama, who has focused in his final year on a re-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, will likely head to the Buckeye State to defend that trade agenda and try to keep those working-class white voters in the Democratic camp.
Places where Obama will likely campaign alongside Clinton in the state to deliver that message include Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — Democratic strongholds where Clinton will look to build her statewide margin.
Pennsylvania hasn't gone Republican in a presidential election since 1988.
Yet polling shows the race is neck-in-neck, with Clinton leading Trump by just 1.9 points, according to the New York Times polling average.
As in Ohio, that close margin is likely thanks to working-class white voters in western Pennsylvania, an area that was once a draw for manufacturing, but has seen jobs dry up in the past few decades.
Democrats will likely look to Philadelphia and its outlying suburbs to counteract any losses among that demographic bloc. It's an area where Obama remains popular, and where Democrats could likely dispatch him if polling stays as lose as it is.
"He remains an immensely popular president in a number of different areas of this state," said Pennsylvania-based Democratic strategist Michael Bronstein, mentioning Philadelphia and its suburbs as places where Obama remains particularly popular. "And as a campaigner, he is an asset for Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign, and will be treated like the rock star that he is if he comes to Pennsylvania."