Will declining unemployment in swing states push Obama over the top?

In seven of those 12 states — Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — the unemployment rate is below the June national average of 8.2 percent. In some, it is considerably less than the national average; the June rates in New Hampshire, Iowa and Virginia were below 6 percent. Even in Ohio, a state hit hard by the collapse of the manufacturing sector, the unemployment rate is a full percentage point below the U.S. average.

In the four swing states where the unemployment rate is above the national average — Florida, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina — the trend line is headed downward. Nevada’s June unemployment rate was an eye-popping 11.6 percent, but that was down from 13.8 percent in June 2011. Ditto Florida (10.7 percent in June 2011, 8.6 percent now), Michigan (10.6 percent in 2011, 8.6 percent now) and North Carolina (10.6 percent in 2011, 9.4 percent now).