In American politics, the term swing state refers to any state that could reasonably be won by either the Democratic or Republican presidential candidate. These states are usually targeted by both major-party campaigns, especially in competitive elections. Meanwhile, the states that regularly lean to a single party are known as safe states, as it is generally assumed that one candidate has a base of support from which they can draw a sufficient share of the electorate.
Due to the winner-take-all style of the Electoral College, candidates often campaign only in competitive states, which is why a select group of states frequently receives a majority of the advertisements and partisan media. The battlegrounds may change in certain election cycles, and may be reflected in overall polling, demographics, and the ideological appeal of the nominees. Election analytics website FiveThirtyEight identifies the states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin as "perennial" swing states that have regularly seen close contests over the last few presidential campaigns. Furthermore, FiveThirtyEight identifies a few more states that have recently emerged as more competitive battlegrounds over the last couple election cycles. These states are Arizona, Georgia, and Maine.
In American presidential elections, each state is free to decide the method by which its electors to the Electoral College will be chosen. To increase its voting power in the Electoral College system, every state, with the exceptions of Maine and Nebraska, has adopted a winner-take-all system, where the candidate who wins the most popular votes in a state wins all of that state's electoral votes. The expectation was that the candidates would look after the interests of the states with the most electoral votes. However, in practice, most voters tend not to change party allegiance from one election to the next, leading presidential candidates to concentrate their limited time and resources campaigning in those states that they believe they can swing towards them or stop states from swinging away from them, and not to spend time or resources in states they expect to win or lose. Because of the electoral system, the campaigns are less concerned with increasing a candidate's national popular vote, tending instead to concentrate on the popular vote only in those states which will provide the electoral votes it needs to win the election, and it is far from unheard of for a candidate to secure sufficient electoral votes while not having won the national popular vote, such as in the case of the 2016 presidential election.
From recent past electoral results, a Republican candidate can expect to easily win most of the mountain states and Great Plains, such as Idaho, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Montana, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, as well as most of the South, including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina. A Democrat usually takes the Mid-Atlantic states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, along with New England, particularly Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington.
However, states that consistently vote for one party at the presidential level occasionally elect a governor of the opposite party; this is currently the case in Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico and Vermont, which all have Republican governors, as well as in Louisiana and Montana, which currently have Democratic governors. Even in presidential election years, voters may split presidential and gubernatorial tickets. In 2016, this occurred in Vermont and New Hampshire, which elected Republican governors even as Hillary Clinton won both states, while Montana and North Carolina elected Democratic governors despite also voting for Donald Trump.
In Maine and Nebraska, the apportionment of electoral votes parallels that for Senators and Congressional Representatives. Two electoral votes go to the person who wins a plurality in the state, and a candidate gets one additional electoral vote for each Congressional District in which they receive a plurality. Both of these states have relatively few electoral votes – a total of 4 and 5, respectively. Neither Maine, which is generally considered a Democratic-leaning state, nor Nebraska, typically thought to be safely Republican, would become battlegrounds in the event of a close national race. Despite their rules, only once has each state 'split' its electoral votes – in 2008, when Nebraska gave 4 votes to Republican John McCain, and one to Democrat Barack Obama; and in 2016, when one of Maine's congressional districts was won by Donald Trump, and the other district and the state itself were won by Hillary Clinton.
States where the election has a close result become less meaningful in landslide elections. Instead, states which vote similarly to the national vote proportions are more likely to appear as the closest states. For example, the states in the 1984 election with the tightest results were Minnesota and Massachusetts. A campaign strategy centered on them, however, would not have been meaningful in the Electoral College, as Democratic nominee Walter Mondale required victories in many more states than Massachusetts, Republican Ronald Reagan still would have won by a large margin. Instead, the tipping point state that year was Michigan, as it gave Reagan the decisive electoral vote. The difference in Michigan was nineteen percentage points, quite similar to Reagan's national margin of eighteen percent. Michigan would have been more relevant to the election results had the election been closer.
Similarly, Barack Obama's narrow victory in Indiana in the 2008 election inaccurately portrays its status as a battleground. Obama lost Indiana by more than ten percentage points in the closer 2012 election, but triumphed despite losing fewer Republican states like North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, and Montana. In 2012, the states of North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia were decided by a margin of less than five percent. However, none of them were considered the tipping-point state, as Romney would not have been able to defeat Obama even if he had emerged victorious in all of them. Rather, Colorado was most in-step with the rest of the country. Coloradans voted for Obama by just over 5 points. Had the election come out closer, Romney's path to victory would probably have involved also winning Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, or Iowa, as these states had comparable margins to Colorado, and had been battlegrounds during the election.
As many mathematical analysts have noted, however, the state voting in a fashion most similar to that of the nation as a whole is not necessarily the tipping-point. For example, if a candidate wins only a few states but does so by a wide margin, while the other candidate's victories are much closer, the popular vote would likely favor the former. However, although the vast majority of the states leaned to the latter candidate in comparison to the entire country, many of them would end up having voted for the loser in greater numbers than did the tipping-point state. The presidential election in 2016 was a notable example, as it featured one of the largest historical disparities between the Electoral College and popular vote. As the election was quite close, the winner of the Electoral College did not capture the popular vote. Additionally, this "split" was a lot larger in both directions than in previous, tighter elections, such as the one that took place in the year of 2000. In that election, Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by less than 1 percent, while incoming president George W. Bush won the Electoral College by only 4 votes. In contrast, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2 percentage points. This meant that Donald Trump would have picked up New Hampshire, Nevada, and Minnesota if the popular vote had been tied, assuming a uniform shift among the battleground states. On the other hand, Clinton would have had to win the popular vote by at least 3 points in order to win the Electoral College, as Trump, the Republican nominee, won the tipping-point state of Wisconsin by less than 1 percent.
Swing states have generally changed over time. For instance, the swing states of Ohio, Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey and New York were key to the outcome of the 1888 election. Likewise, Illinois and Texas were key to the outcome of the 1960 election, Florida and New Hampshire were key in deciding the 2000 election, and Ohio was important during the 2004 election. Ohio has gained its reputation as a regular swing state after 1980, and last voted against the winner in 1960. If current trends from the 2012 and 2016 elections continue, the closest results in 2020 will occur in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska's second congressional district, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Other potential swing states include Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, all of which have voted for both a Republican candidate and a Democratic candidate within a five-point margin multiple times in the previous six presidential elections.
Professor Joel Bloom has mentioned opinion polls, previous election results, media attention, candidate campaign stops, and major advertising buys as crucial factors in identifying swing states. A 2004 article in the Oregon Daily Emerald also cites movie director Leighton Woodhouse opining that there is a general consensus among most groups regarding a majority of the states typically thought of as swing states. Additionally, the swing-state "map" may transform dramatically between election cycles, especially depending on the candidates and their policies. In addition, gradual shifts can occur within states due to changes in demography, geography, or population patterns. For example, many West-Coast or currently Republican states, like Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and West Virginia, had been battlegrounds as recently as 2004.
A broad pundit consensus regarding the status of future battleground states developed in the years following the 2012 presidential election. Contributors included Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, and other electoral analysts. From the results of recent presidential elections, a general conclusion was reached that the Democratic and Republican parties start with a default electoral vote count of 188 each. In this scenario, the twelve competitive states are Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Colorado, and North Carolina. However, this projection was not specific to any particular election cycle, and assumed similar levels of support for both parties.
Some commentators have observed that the electoral college system permits political campaigners to focus on swing states while neglecting the rest of the country. States in which polling shows no clear favorite are usually inundated with campaign visits, television advertising, get-out-the-vote efforts by party organizers and debates, while "four out of five" voters in the national election are "absolutely ignored," according to one assessment.
Since most states use a winner-takes-all arrangement, in which the candidate with the most votes in that state receives all of the state's electoral votes, there is a clear incentive to focus almost exclusively on only a few undecided states. In contrast, many states with large populations such as California, Texas, and New York, have in recent elections been considered "safe" for a particular party, and therefore not a priority for campaign visits and money. Meanwhile, twelve of the thirteen smallest states are thought of as safe for either party – only New Hampshire is regularly a swing state, according to critic George Edwards. Additionally, campaigns stopped mounting nationwide electoral efforts in the last few months near/at the ends of the blowout 2008 election, but rather targeted only a handful of battlegrounds.
Proponents of the Electoral College claim that adoption of a national popular vote would shift the disproportionate focus to large cities while ignoring rural areas. Candidates might also be inclined to campaign hardest in their base areas to maximize turnout among core supporters. In some cases, they may also see greater opportunities in gaining votes from districts heavily supporting their opponent, the effects of which many feel would come at the expense of those in more closely divided parts of the country. Proponents of direct popular vote argue that the disproportionate influence the electoral college system affords swing states in determining the outcome of elections is unfair and essentially undemocratic.
Electoral college defenders offer a range of arguments, from the openly anti-democratic (direct election equals mob rule), to the nostalgic (we’ve always done it this way), to the opportunistic (your little state will get ignored! More vote-counting means more controversies! The Electoral College protects hurricane victims!). But none of those arguments overcome this one: One person, one vote.
The 1904 United States presidential election in Missouri took place on November 8, 1904. Voters chose 18 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Missouri voted for the Republican nominee, President Theodore Roosevelt, over the Democratic nominee, former Chief Judge of New York Court of Appeals Alton B. Parker. Roosevelt won the state by a narrow margin of 3.91%.
With his victory, Roosevelt became the second Republican presidential candidate to win Missouri as well as the first one since Ulysses S. Grant in 1868. In voting for the GOP, Missouri repositioned itself from being associated with the Solid South to being seen as a bellwether swing state throughout the 20th century.1984 United States presidential election in Vermont
The 1984 United States presidential election in Vermont took place on November 6, 1984, as part of the 1984 United States presidential election, which was held throughout all fifty states and D.C. Voters chose three representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Vermont voted for the Republican nominee, incumbent President Ronald Reagan, over the Democratic nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale, by a margin of 17.11%. Reagan took 57.92% of the vote to Mondale's 40.81%.
1984 would prove to be the last election in which Vermont was considered a safe Republican state, becoming a swing state four years later in 1988 and eventually one of the most liberal of blue states after 1992. While Reagan himself won the state comfortably, the Republican Party’s shift to the right he represented was already causing signs of weakness to develop in Vermont. Between 1856 and 1956 generally the most Republican state in the country, the scale of Reagan’s nationwide landslide concealed the fact that 1984 was the second election in a row in which Vermont was more Democratic than the nation as a whole: Reagan had carried the state by 17.11 percent versus his 18.22 percent national victory margin, making the state 1.11 percent more Democratic than the nation. Prior to Reagan, Vermont had been more Republican than the nation in every election from the founding of the Republican Party until 1980, except 1964, when another conservative, Barry Goldwater, was the Republican nominee. By contrast, as recently as 1976, moderate Republican Gerald Ford had performed 13.26 percent stronger in Vermont than he did nationally.
1984 would be the last time in which a Republican presidential nominee carried every county in Vermont, and the last when the GOP carried Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Windham Counties.1988 United States presidential election in Colorado
The 1988 United States presidential election in Colorado took place on November 8, 1988, as part of the 1988 United States presidential election, which was held throughout all 50 states and D.C. Voters chose 8 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Colorado voted for the Republican nominee, Vice President George H. W. Bush, over the Democratic nominee, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, by a margin of 7.78%. Bush took 53.06% of the vote to Dukakis's 45.28%.
While the Republicans held onto Colorado's 8 electoral votes, however, Bush's 53-45 win over Dukakis represented a vastly diminished margin compared to 1984, when Ronald Reagan had won the state in a 63-35 landslide over Walter Mondale.
The closeness of the race marked the beginning of Colorado's transition from a reliably Republican state into a competitive swing state in presidential elections, as just four years later, in 1992, Bill Clinton would win the state for the Democrats for the first time since the nationwide Democratic landslide of Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Beginning in 1988, Colorado's popular vote in presidential elections has always been decided by a single-digit margin, and in the seven elections that followed 1988, the state would vote Republican three times and vote Democratic four times.1988 United States presidential election in New York
The 1988 United States presidential election in New York took place on November 8, 1988, as part of the 1988 United States presidential election. Voters chose thirty-six representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
New York was won by Democratic Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts with 51.62% of the popular vote over Republican Vice President George H.W. Bush of Texas, who took 47.52%, a victory margin of 4.10%.1988 would mark the end of an era in New York's political history. Since the 1940s, New York had been a Democratic-leaning swing state, usually voting Democratic in close elections, but often by small margins. Republicans would dominate much of upstate New York and populated suburban counties like Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester County. However they would be narrowly outvoted statewide by the fiercely Democratic and massively populated New York City area, along with some upstate cities like Buffalo, Albany, and the college town of Ithaca. This pattern would endure in 1988 for the final time, allowing Bush to keep the race fairly close, only losing the state to Dukakis by 4 percentage points. As a result, 1988 was the last time in the states history that New York was considered a swing state.
Dukakis’ statewide victory is largely attributable to winning the five boroughs of New York City overall with 66.2 percent of the vote. However even though losing the city in a landslide, Bush’s 32.8% of the vote was a relatively respectable showing for a Republican in NYC, particularly in retrospect. In the six elections that have followed 1988, Republican presidential candidates have received only seventeen to twenty-four percent of the vote in New York City.
This was the last election in which a Republican presidential nominee won heavily populated Nassau and Westchester Counties, as well as Monroe, Onondaga, and Ulster Counties, and also the last election in which New York was decided by a single-digit margin. Beginning in 1992, the Democrats would make substantial inroads in the suburbs around New York City as well as parts of upstate, making New York a solid blue state that has gone Democratic by double-digit margins in every election since.1988 United States presidential election in Washington (state)
The 1988 United States presidential election in Washington took place on November 8, 1988. All fifty states and the District of Columbia, were part of the 1988 United States presidential election. Washington voters chose ten electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.
Washington State was won by Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, who was running against incumbent Republican Vice President George H. W. Bush of Texas. Dukakis ran with Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, and Bush ran with Indiana Senator Dan Quayle.
Dukakis carried Washington state with 50.05 percent of the vote to Bush’s 48.46 percent, a margin of 1.59%. This made Washington one of ten states (along with the District of Columbia) to vote for Dukakis, even as Bush won a convincing victory nationally.
Washington weighed in for this election as over 9 percent more Democratic than the national average.
For decades prior to 1988, Washington had been a swing state, and it had gone Republican in the four preceding elections, even voting for losing Republican candidate Gerald Ford in 1976. But the state’s strong Democratic tilt in 1988 portended the political direction the state would take in the modern era. Dukakis’ 1988 victory began a Democratic winning streak in Washington state that has never been broken since. Washington's Democratic trend was largely driven by the dramatic shift toward the Democrats among urban and suburban voters that began in the 1980s. While Bush won many rural counties, Dukakis won the two most heavily populated counties in Washington state: King County and Pierce County.
King County, home to the city of Seattle and its surrounding suburbs, was and is by far the most heavily populated county in the state, and a bellwether county for the state as a whole. In every presidential election since Washington achieved statehood, the candidate who won King County also won Washington state as a whole. While the city of Seattle had long leaned Democratic, the surrounding suburbs had long leaned Republican, making King County a swing county, and thus Washington state a swing state. In 1976, moderate Republican Gerald Ford had carried Washington state 50–46, while winning King County 51–45. In the 1984 Republican landslide, Ronald Reagan won King County by a 52–47 margin. However Michael Dukakis in 1988 won King County by a 54–45 margin, a raw vote difference of 59,089 votes, providing more than the entire 29,681 raw vote difference by which he carried Washington state as a whole. The 1988 result started a yet-unbroken Democratic winning streak in King County, and would prove to be the start of a long-term dramatic shift toward the Democratic Party in the county and thus in the state as a whole. As the city of Seattle grew, and the suburbs continued abandoning the GOP and increasingly trended Democratic in the 1990s and 2000s, King County would be transformed from a swing county prior to 1988 into a Democratic stronghold; twenty years later, in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama would receive over 70% of the vote in King County. The Democratic dominance in King County that began in 1988 would solidify Washington as a strong blue state in the modern era.
As of the 2016 presidential election this is the last election when Kitsap County and Snohomish County have supported the Republican presidential nominee.1992 United States presidential election in Colorado
The 1992 United States presidential election in Colorado took place on November 3, 1992, as part of the 1992 United States presidential election. Voters chose eight representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Colorado was won by the Democratic nominees, Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas and his running mate Senator Al Gore of Tennessee. Clinton and Gore defeated the Republican nominees, incumbent President George H.W. Bush of Texas and Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. Independent businessman Ross Perot of Texas, and his running mate Navy Vice Admiral James Stockdale, finished in a relatively strong third in the state.
Clinton received 40.13% of the vote to Bush's 35.87%, a Democratic victory margin of 4.26%.Ross Perot performed relatively well for a third party candidate in the state, receiving 23.32% of the vote in Colorado, exceeding his nationwide 18.91% vote share. Perot also won pluralities of the vote in Moffat County and San Juan County, the state providing Perot two county victories out of only fifteen county equivalents which Perot won nationwide.
Clinton ultimately won the national vote, defeating incumbent President Bush.
Clinton's victory marked the first time since the nationwide Democratic landslide of 1964 that Colorado had voted Democratic, and his win signified Colorado's transition from a traditionally Republican state into a competitive swing state in modern elections. Colorado had not previously voted Democratic in a close national election since 1948.
Clinton would then very narrowly lose the state in the 1996 election to Bob Dole. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Mesa County, Garfield County, and Sedgwick County voted for the Democratic candidate, as well as the last time that Moffat County did not support the Republican candidate. Conversely, this is the last election in which Summit County voted for the Republican candidate.1992 United States presidential election in Connecticut
The 1992 United States presidential election in Connecticut took place on November 3, 1992, as part of the 1992 United States presidential election. Voters chose eight representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Connecticut was won by Governor Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas) with 42.21% of the popular vote over incumbent President George H.W. Bush (R-Texas) with 35.78%. Businessman Ross Perot (I-Texas) finished in third, with 21.58% of the popular vote. Clinton won Connecticut by a margin of 6.43%, ending the state's status as a swing state, as it has voted Democratic in every election since. Clinton ultimately won the national vote, defeating incumbent President Bush. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Fairfield County voted for the Republican candidate.2000 United States presidential election in Ohio
The 2000 United States presidential election in Ohio took place on November 7, 2000, and was part of the 2000 United States presidential election. Voters chose 21 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Ohio was won by Governor George W. Bush by a 3.51% margin of victory. Prior to the election, most news organizations considered Ohio a swing state.2000 United States presidential election in Washington (state)
The 2000 United States presidential election in Washington took place on November 7, 2000, and was part of the 2000 United States presidential election. Voters chose 11 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Washington was considered a competitive swing state in 2000, and both campaigns sent advertisements into the state. On election day, Gore won the state with a margin of 5%. Gore's best performance in the state was in King County, also the largest populated county, which he won with 60% of the vote. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Whatcom County voted for the Republican candidate.2004 United States presidential election in Maine
The 2004 United States presidential election in Maine took place on November 2, 2004, and was part of the 2004 United States presidential election. Starting which, Maine is one of two states in the U.S. that instead of all of the state's 4 electors of the Electoral College to vote based upon the statewide results of the voters, two of the individual electors vote based on their congressional district because Maine has two congressional districts. The other two electors vote based upon the statewide results.
Maine was considered by some as a swing state, because of how polls were very close. However, polls were consistently won by Kerry and neither campaign took the state too seriously. On election day, Democrat John Kerry won the popular vote with 53.57% over George W. Bush with 44.58%.2004 United States presidential election in Minnesota
The 2004 United States presidential election in Minnesota took place on November 2, 2004. Voters chose 10 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Minnesota was won by Democrat nominee John Kerry by a 3.5% margin of victory. Prior to the election, most news organizations considered it as a major swing state in 2004 based on pre-election polling. The state is historically a blue state, as the last Republican to carry the state in a presidential election was Richard Nixon in 1972. However, in 2000 Al Gore carried the state with just 48% of the vote, by a margin of just 2.5%. In 2004, Minnesota was the only state to split its electoral votes, as a faithless elector pledged to Kerry cast a ballot for John Edwards (written as John Ewards), his running mate.2004 United States presidential election in Ohio
The 2004 United States presidential election in Ohio took place on November 2, 2004, and was part of the 2004 United States presidential election. Voters chose 20 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president, the record lowest from Ohio at the time since 1828.
Ohio was won by incumbent President George W. Bush by a 2.1% margin of victory. Prior to the election, most news organizations considered the Buckeye state as a swing state. The state's economic situation gave hope for Senator Kerry. In the end, the state became the deciding factor of the entire election. Kerry conceded the state, as well as the entire election the morning following election night, as Bush won the state and its 20 electoral votes. The close contest was the subject of the documentary film ...So Goes the Nation, the title of which is a reference to Ohio's 2004 status as a crucial swing state.
As of the 2016 election, this is the last time Hamilton County has voted for a Republican presidential candidate.2008 United States presidential election in Nevada
The 2008 United States presidential election in Nevada was part of the 2008 United States presidential election, which took place on November 4, 2008, throughout all 50 states and D.C.. Voters chose 5 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Nevada was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama with a 12.5% margin of victory. Both campaigns heavily campaigned here in 2008, as although Obama held a lead in the polls, it was not unreasonable to think that John McCain, a nationally prominent Senator from neighboring Arizona had a legitimate chance of having Nevada swing to his corner. Most news organization considered the state as Obama would win, or a blue state, but some still considered it as a swing state during the last week of the election. In the past four presidential elections, the margin of victory has always been below 5 percentage points. George W. Bush carried Nevada twice in 2000 and 2004 while Bill Clinton won the Silver State both times as well in 1992 and 1996. With the anti-Republican sentiment growing nationwide and the fact that personally, McCain barely campaigned in Nevada, Nevada swung wildly into the Democratic column in 2008 as Barack Obama carried the state by 12.50 points over John McCain, receiving 55.15% of the total statewide vote to McCain's 42.65%. It was the first time since 1988 that the margin of victory was in double digits, and the first and so far only time since 1964 when the margin was Democratic.Elections in New Jersey
Elections in New Jersey are authorized under Article II of the New Jersey State Constitution, which establishes elections for the governor, the lieutenant governor, and members of the New Jersey Legislature. Elections are regulated under state law, Title 19. The office of the New Jersey Secretary of State has a Division of Elections that oversees the execution of elections under state law (This used to be the New Jersey Attorney General). In addition, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) is responsible for administering campaign financing and lobbying disclosure.
Historically, it has voted about half the time, nationally, for each of the two major parties since 1860. Traditionally a swing state, It has voted Democratic in recent decades. The governorship has alternated between the two major parties since the election of Democrat Richard J. Hughes in 1961, with a succession of Republicans and Democrats serving as governor. The New Jersey Legislature has also switched hands over the years, and one house was evenly divided from 1999–2001, when the Democrats took control. Three of the last four gubernatorial elections have been close. New Jersey leans Democratic in national elections. The Congressional seats have been as evenly divided over the decades, with little change due to political trends in the state. New Jersey currently has a Democratic governor, Phil Murphy and recently elected their second lieutenant governor, Democrat Sheila Oliver.At the national level, the state favors the Democratic Party: Both of its Senators have been Democrats since 1982, and George H.W. Bush was the last Republican candidate for President to carry the state, in 1988. However, previous governor Chris Christie was a Republican serving from 2010 to 2018, as was Christine Todd Whitman, who served from 1994 to 2001.
New Jersey is split almost down the middle between the New York City and Philadelphia television markets, respectively the largest and fourth-largest markets in the nation. As a result, campaign budgets are among the largest in the country.Missouri bellwether
The Missouri bellwether is a political phenomenon that notes that the state of Missouri voted for the winner in all but three U.S. Presidential elections from 1904 to 2016 (the exceptions are 1956, 2008 and 2012). While states like Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, Florida and New Mexico have been arguably stronger indicators of political trends in recent years, Missouri was a consistent swing state throughout the 20th century. Prior to the 2008 elections, Lincoln County, Missouri was said to be the only bellwether county in a bellwether state. Missouri is also considered a bellwether of U.S. views on hot-button social issues such as stem cell research, gay rights, and school vouchers. Some economists also consider the state a bellwether for economic trends such as consumer confidence and unemployment.Politics of Illinois
The US state of Illinois is a Democratic stronghold and one of the "big three" Democratic states alongside California and New York. It is considered one of the most Democratic states in the nation and following the 2018 elections, all six statewide elected offices are held by a Democrat.
Historically, Illinois was a critical swing state leaning marginally towards the Republican Party. Following Bill Clinton's election in 1992, and his victory in Illinois, the state has been realigned in favor of Democratic candidates for president, with six consecutive wins by that party, regardless of the national outcome. Traditionally, Chicago, East Saint Louis, and the Quad Cities region have tended to vote heavily Democratic, along with the Central Illinois population centers of Peoria, Champaign-Urbana and Decatur. In recent years, Chicago's suburban collar counties continue to trend Democratic as well.Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat, was elected as Illinois' Governor in 2002, replacing George H. Ryan. Blagojevich was re-elected in 2006, defeating Republican State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. However, in 2009, Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office due to charges that he abused his power while in office. Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn succeeded him. Following Quinn's election to a full term outright in 2010, the state elected Bruce Rauner, the first Republican chief executive in twelve years. Following the 2018 elections, J.B. Pritzker will become the state's current Democratic governor.Politics of New Hampshire
New Hampshire is often noted for its moderate politics and its status as a prominent swing state. Voters predominantly selected Republicans for national office during the 19th and 20th centuries until 1992. Since then, the state has been considered as a swing state, and the Cook Political Report now classifies New Hampshire as "Even" after the 2016 election, reflecting that neither party has an advantage. Since 2006, control of the state legislature and New Hampshire's congressional seats have switched back and forth between Republicans and Democrats in a series of wave elections.
Due to its large State House, the annual town meetings in most communities, and the prominence of the New Hampshire Primary every four years, New Hampshire has been noted for its high level of political participation and retail politics. Some have called politics the "state sport."Swing (politics)
An electoral swing analysis (or swing) shows the extent of change in voter support, typically from one election to another, expressed as a positive or negative percentage. A multi-party swing is an indicator of a change in the electorate's preference between candidates or parties (mainly from conservative/centre-right to social democratic/centre-left or vice versa). A swing can be calculated for the electorate as a whole, for a given electoral district or for a particular demographic.
A swing is particularly useful for analysing change in voter support over time, or as a tool for predicting the outcome of elections in constituency-based systems. Swing is also usefully deployed when analysing the shift in voter intentions revealed by (political) opinion polls or to compare polls concisely which may rely on differing samples and on markedly different swings and therefore predict extraneous results.Vote pairing in the 2016 United States presidential election
Vote pairing in the 2016 United States presidential election refers to vote pairing that occurred between United States citizens domiciled in different states during the 2016 United States presidential election.