Kerry's battleground strategy focuses on jobs

Economic research outfit Informa Global Markets reports that a series of 16 state polls conducted July 19-23 by Zogby have Kerry leading Bush in electoral votes by a margin of 275 to 220. Three states--Florida, Missouri, and Nevada--were excluded as too close to call. (All three were won by Bush in the 2000 election.) In Thursday's acceptance speech, says Informa, Kerry is apt to address subpar job growth in battleground states with large electoral votes at stake, like Ohio and Michigan. Those are states where factory jobs have been lost to offshoring and protectionist sentiment against foreign competition runs high. Among the toss-up states, Informa says Florida is the only one where employment is above the prior cycle peak. Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Wisconsin have seen job growth, but remain below the prior peaks, while labor markets are still depressed in Michigan and Ohio. And yet the Massachusetts senator may be keeping one eye on the financial markets: Informa says he may steer away from overt protectionist rhetoric in the speech, instead pushing the removal of incentives for offshoring and suggesting incremental trade restrictions.

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