Nevada is one of the eight most hotly contest battleground states of the 2012 election. President Obama carried it by a wide margin four years ago. But since he took office, the Nevada unemployment rate has gotten significantly worse and is now at 12.1 percent. Still, polls continue to show the race is very close there, with Mr. Obama holding a narrow lead, while Mitt Romney has so far been unable to capitalize on the state's deep economic woes.
And now to Wisconsin, where people are still livid. It's been two days since a blown call by the NFL's replacement referees cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks. Wisconsinites of opposing political persuasions were briefly united in their anger. But in a state with a Republican governor best known for attacking unions, even the issue of replacement refs is becoming a political football.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are spending a lot of time in Ohio this week. The battleground state is being pounded with TV ads. Many of the pro-Romney spots come from the outside groups that sprang up after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. But that decision isn't just benefiting conservative causes.
NPR's Peter Overby reports from Ohio on what Citizens United has done for organized labor.
Early voting is now an option in most of the country, and roughly a third of all Americans casting a ballot in the 2012 presidential race are expected to do so before Nov. 6, Election Day. For an early voting calendar and state deadlines for voter registration, visit http://apps.npr.org/early-voting-2012/
Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.
Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, it's been nearly 60 years since public schools were legally desegregated, but new research shows schools are still divided. That's in just a few minutes.
If you don't think a third party candidate can play a role in a presidential election, just ask George HW Bush about Ross Perot or ask Al Gore about Ralph Nader.
This fall, the Libertarian Party will have a candidate on the ballot in at least 47 states. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson probably won't be invited to the debates and pollsters don't usually even bother asking about him. But he could influence the outcome of a close election, as NPR Joel Rose reports.