Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Monday a bus tour that will canvas six states in just five days, according to the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets. The tour is slated to begin in New Hampshire on Friday, and will also make stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
The tour marks the beginning of the Romney campaign's renewed efforts in swing states like Ohio, where recent polling by Rasmussen Reports suggests he and President Barack Obama are statistically tied. Romney's bus tour is dubbed "Every Town Counts."
Here are some of the key details regarding Ohio's economy and Romney's emphasis on the state.
Lower unemployment in Buckeye State, but slower growth: Ohio's current unemployment rate of 7.4 percent is lower than the national average of 8.1 percent. It is at its lowest point in the state since October 2008, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
However, manufacturing in the state has slowed some in recent months, causing concern as Ohio's overall economic growth rate of 0.9 percent lags behind the already-low national average of 1.3 percent. Manufacturing jobs accounted for almost half of the job losses in Ohio in April.
Federal data released last week showed that Ohio's growth rate for 2011 lagged behind the national average as well, at 1.1 percent versus the nation's 1.5 percent growth rate, according to the Springfield News-Sun.
Romney victorious in March, tied now: Romney barely carried the state in March's Republican primary. He bested fellow candidate Rick Santorum by less than a full percentage point, at 37.9 percent to Santorum's 37.1 percent. That margin translated into a little over 10,000 votes.
Polling conducted late last week by Purple Strategies found that Romney has edged into a lead in Ohio over Obama of 48 percent to 45 percent. However, that spread falls within the poll's margin of error of 4 percent, meaning that the two men are statistically tied, with 8 percent of voters remaining undecided.
The Purple Strategies polling found other trends in Ohio voter sentiment. A full 62 percent of voters said that the country is on the wrong track, compared to 31 percent who think things are moving in a positive direction. Obama's job performance ratings are in the negative as well, with 52 percent of those surveyed saying that they disapprove of the job he's doing, versus 47 percent that view his job performance favorably.
A preview of "Every Town Counts": Romney has been previewing some of his likely message on the campaign trail already. On Monday, he said in a statement to the press that during his time in office, Obama has "paid little attention to the everyday concerns of the American people," as quoted by the Detroit News.
Ohio campaign officials, including spokesman Christopher Maloney, have been issuing statements in advance of Romney's scheduled appearances on June 17 as well. Maloney told local news station WTAP on Monday that Obama "has adopted a strategy that is fundamentally hostile to coal workers, businesses, and communities," and said that Ohio's economic recovery has been the result of decisions made by Gov. John Kasich, not Obama's national policies.