The Rust Belt's revival could save Obama's campaign

In the last two years the nation has added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs, led by states in the upper Midwest. Between 2010 and 2011, Michigan led the nation by creating 25,000 new industrial jobs with a heady 5 percent growth rate second only to Oklahoma. Wisconsin came in second with 15,000 new positions, and a growth rate of more than 3 percent. …

Much of what generated the heartland recovery—and much of what could slow or even reverse it—lies outside of the president’s control. But if the momentum holds through November, the political winds there will be at Obama’s back, helping him sell Great Lakes voters on the idea that the nation is moving in the right direction under his leadership. The key here lies with the revived auto industry.

Obama’s “decision to rescue GM and Chrysler was exceedingly popular in auto manufacturing dependent states like Michigan and Ohio,” says former Michigan Democratic Party chair Morley Winograd. “The rise in manufacturing employment since has buoyed housing prices, boosted workers’ morale, and allowed Obama, in these states anyway, to be able to claim he delivered on the campaign’s promise of hope and change. “