SARASOTA - Florida's 29 electoral votes make it one of the biggest prizes of the presidential election. And with polls indicating a close race between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, they must pay a lot of attention to the biggest of the swing states, and pay a lot of money trying to sway voters here.
Romney accepted the GOP nomination for president at the RNC convention in Tampa. He and Obama had one of their three debates in Boca Raton. Does this focus on Florida translate into benefits to our economy?
"Overall, can you see an upswing in terms of GDP," asks ABC7's political analyst Frank Alcock. "It's not clear but probably not."
When the president led a rally in Tampa Thursday, he had flown in overnight from California. And by early afternoon, he had already gone on to Virginia. So while Obama has visited Florida at least five times since September first for campaign events, and Romney has stopped here on a dozen days in the last two months to campaign or riase money, most of these events are "drive-throughs," according to the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau. Candidates come and go, and the time they spend does not equate to money spent here.
"Both campaigns are down here quite often with their entire entourage," says Alcock. "But relative to what you would see as far as fluxes in tourism, it's probably pretty small."
One impact we do say, almost inevitably when we turn on our televisions, is the money spent on TV and radio ads. They are the fastest way to reach the widest audience, and it's where campaigns get the most bang for their buck.
"I'm sure there's a discernible impact of a tightly contested swing-state race for media companies," says Alcock.