US Presidential Election Swing States

Post length: 1,081 words, almost 5 minutes.

As political observation goes I am nothing more than casual when it comes to politics in the United States of America. However I have been keeping an eye on this election and have, over the years, kept tabs on previous elections. I also know enough to understand the way in which the electoral college works to elect a president. With this in mind I have taken a look at the 13 so-called swing states — the states in which the presidency will be won or lost — in order to understand how the electoral college may look once the popular vote has been counted.

In opening I have assumed that 37 states will vote the way they traditionally have, giving Clinton the upper-hand from the start. Our opening vote tally is Clinton 201, Trump 164. I will address the remaining states in Alphabetical order where I am willing to call them, leaving the others to the end. I have not taken into account polling data for any of the states when making my call (POLITICO has a good overview), preferring to look at the demographic make-up and voting history of the states.

Swing States

Arizona (11 votes)

Arizona is a border state which traditionally votes Republican. Immigration and the US / Mexico border are high on voter concerns and these are issues Trump has addressed head on. This is likely to win him this state’s 11 votes. Trump.

Georgia (16 votes)

Georgia also traditionally votes Republican. I don’t see much debate here (indeed POLITICO don’t count it as a swing state). Trump.

Iowa (6 votes)

Iowa is demographically very white and I would expect that to play into Trump’s hands, however it voted Democat in 2008 and 2012. The state is largely farm land, but does have a high population in Iowa City, a college town. While I expect this state to be close I expect it to call for Clinton, swung by the young, educated city population. Clinton.

Michigan (16 votes)

Historically Democratic, indeed not returning a Republican result since 1988, this Rust Belt state suffers from high unemployment and higher than average levels of poverty. While Trump has run with the line that America’s cities are in a mess, it seems unlikely that this state will swing the Republican’s way. Clinton.

New Hampshire (4 votes)

A traditional Republican state some have questioned if the majority of Bernie Sanders – backing young liberals have been able to get behind the eventual Republican nominee Hilary Clinton. However, despite their misgivings, I find it hard to believe that Sanders supporters would vote for Trump in protest of Clinton — they’ll pick the best of a bad bunch. Clinton.

North Carolina (15 Votes)

North Carolina is a tricky state to call. Prosperous and fast-growing the state has a high percentage of college-educated workers which should favour Clinton, but the state has traditionally voted Republican with Obama only claiming a 0.3% victory in 2008. That said, I’m not going to class this as too close to call: I feel somewhat confident that Trump has done enough to alienate the educated younger population to ensure that North Carolina stays Republican. Clinton.

Pennsylvania (20 votes)

This state has returned a Democrat victory since 1992 and Obama won the state by 10.4% in 2008 and 5.4% in 2012. The state’s liberal-leaning cities and only a handful of conservative rural areas makes me call this one for Clinton. Clinton.

Wisconsin (10 votes)

The population of Wisconsin have voted in favour of the Democrats solidly since 1988 despite Paul Ryan, who represents Wisconsin’s 1st District in the House, being on the presidential ticket in 2012. I see no reason why this pattern would change in 2016, albeit with a potentially reduced majority. Clinton.

Too Close To Call

With these 8 states Clinton comes over the 270 line required to take the presidency: 272 vs Trump’s at 191. However of the 13 swing states I’m looking at we still have 5 remaining. These fall into two categories — too close to call and bellwether.

Colorado (9 votes)

Colorado is traditionally Republic but Obama managed to win the state in both 2008 and 2012. While traditionally the state would have been easier to predict due to it’s strong religious conservatism recent damaging news stories about Donald Trump may had damaged his chances. Likewise the deprived inner city population may swing the state Hillary Clinton’s way. Too close to call.

Nevada (6 votes)

A bellwether state since 1980, but for my analysis too close to call. While the state returned a good result for the Democrats in 2008 and 2012 immigration is an important issue in Nevada and the largely white lower educated population are exactly the kind of voter who generally indicate they will vote for Trump. While I don’t imagine it will break it’s bellwether status, a good Trump turnout might swing it. Too close to call.

Virginia (13 votes)

Through the criteria I’m assessing the states on Virginia is hard to call. The state has been Republican since the 1960s but went to Obama in both 2008 and 2012. Polling tells a convincing story, but in my assessment alone I’m not calling this one. Too close to call.

Belwether States

Assuming each of the too close to call states swings to the overall winner — in this case Clinton — Hillary has now extended her lead to 109: 300 plays 191. Which leaves two states which have long been bellwether states: Ohio with 18 votes and Florida with a massive 29 votes.

Ohio (18 votes)

A bellwether since 1960, the state with the longest perfect streak, the key to Ohio is the economy. This state is likely to be very close and the question is who do residents of Ohio trust more on their economic stand: Clinton or businessman Trump? Something tells me Ohio might end it’s streak in 2016.

Florida (29 votes)

Florida has a more recent history of misses in it’s belwether status: 1992 being the most recent. The large number of votes makes it an important battleground for the candidates although my feeling is it will not break its streak in 2016 and will come down on Clinton’s side.

If Ohio ends it’s perfect streak but that Florida maintains its belwether status the final result looks something like this:

Clinton: 329 (elected)
Trump: 209

As a footnote: if you look at the POLITICO’s polling data, linked above, then the states fall out as follows: Colorado, Clinton; Florida, Clinton; Iowa, Trump; Michigan, Clinton; Nevada, Clinton; New Hampshire, Clinton; North Carolina, Clinton; Ohio, Trump; Pennsylvania, Clinton; Virginia, Clinton; Wisconsin, Clinton. Allowing for the two I have assessed which they didn’t consider swing states (Arizona and Georgia) that puts the final result at Clinton 323; Trump 215. A slightly better showing for Trump, but still President Clinton.

Posted on Monday 31st October, 2016 at 8:52 am in Obiter dicta.
It was tagged with , , , , , , , .


Well, you got that wrong.

Posted on 6th Mar 2017 at 8:15 pm by Jeremy.

I certainly did!

Posted on 11th Mar 2017 at 8:03 am by Jonathon.

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