While the GOP prepares to officially embrace Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee next week, President Obama is focusing his attention on courting young voters that the campaign believes can help push him over the top in three battleground states.
Obama will campaign at three college campuses on Tuesday and Wednesday -- the second and third days of the Republican National Convention -- as he looks to energize youth voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.
He'll kick off his tour Tuesday with a stop at Iowa State University in Ames. Obama won Iowa by 9 percentage points in 2008 and took 57% of the vote in Story County with the help of Iowa State students.
Team Obama has already spent plenty of energy on college voters in the state with the president making stops at the University of Northern Iowa in Waterloo last week and the University of Iowa earlier this year.
Vice President Biden visited Iowa State University in March. Obama will be back in Iowa on Saturday for more campaigning.
"He spent three days here last week, and then to come back again Either they think they can take Iowa out of the race by this intense campaigning or they're finding the polling results as problematic," said James McCormick, a political scientist at Iowa State.
Later Tuesday, Obama heads to Fort Collins, Colo., for a rally at Colorado State University. Obama won Colorado in 2008, the first Democrat to take the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Larimer County, which includes the Colorado State campus, is crucial for Obama, said John Straayer, a political scientist at Colorado State. The politically divided Larimer and nearby Arapahoe and Jefferson counties are the battlegrounds within the swing state that analysts predict will ultimately decide the winner in what is expected to be a close contest. "Getting the youth vote out will be pivotal," Straayer said.
Obama wraps up his college tour Wednesday at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, one day before Romney is to deliver his acceptance speech in Tampa.
Obama won 79% of the vote in Charlottesville in 2008; he became the first Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson to take the state.
Obama holds a 64%-31% lead among under-35 voters nationally, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll released Thursday. In 2008, the under-35 crowd favored Obama 55%-42%, according to a pre-conventions poll. The increase in Obama's lead from 2008 to the current poll is within the margin of error.
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