U.S. Battleground States are at Record Low

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
States have dug in, with only two (in pink) having budged in 2012 (graphic Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Once Republicans and Democrats figure out who their candidates will be for next year’s presidential contest, the campaign teams will likely be looking at a small map of the U.S. to figure out how to win the White House.


Getting enough electoral votes to win has really come down to besting the other party in so-called battleground states, where voters have a tendency to swing from Republican to Democrat, or vice versa, from one election to the next. The number of those states, however, is at an all-time low.


In the last four presidential elections (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), 40 states plus the District of Columbia have voted for the same party’s candidate in every one of those contests. Only four states—Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada—have moved from solidly one party to the other. All four went Republican in 2000 and 2004 but were solidly Democratic in 2008 and 2012.


Dr. Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics, after reviewing nearly 2,000 statewide votes for president across the last 46 elections since 1832, found “that the nation’s electoral maps are the most static they have been in history.”


Ostermeier noted that in 2012, only two states switched their support from the previous presidential election: North Carolina and Indiana, which went from backing Obama in 2008 to voting for Mitt Romney four years later.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Stasis: Presidential Electoral Maps Are in a Historic Holding Pattern (by Eric Ostermeier, Smart Politics)

List of United States Presidential Election Results by State (Wikipedia)


otto 9 years ago
Presidential elections don't have to continue to be dominated by and determined by a handful of swing states besieged with attention, while most of the country is politically irrelevant. More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested on voters in just the then ten competitive states in 2012 “Battleground” states receive 7% more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter equally in every presidential election. The bill has passed a total of 33 legislative chambers in 22 states. The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes—61% of the 270 electoral votes necessary to activate it, including 4 small jurisdictions, 3 medium-size states, and 4 big states. http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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