Swing States: What They Are and Why They Matter


Whitney Thomas, Student Life Co-Editor

As the election draws nearer, the swing states have been a significant topic of concern for the candidates. These very states might be the candidate’s means of winning as they rack-in final votes. Their campaigns have narrowed and become focused and tailored to persuade states that could make or break their chances to win. The central question that arises is, what are these swing states and why are they so important?

The definition of a swing state is a state in which the Democrat and Republican parties have relatively the same level of support, making them key states to win in the election. According to POLITICO, forty states have voted for the same party since 2000 and thirty-three states have voted for the same party in the past five elections. Initially in the 2016 election, there have been twelve states that acted as possible swing states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia. However, as the election progresses, the potential swing states have become more distinct. The current swing states are Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

According to the New York Times, Florida and Pennsylvania are likely the most influential and pivotal states for the nominees to win. If Clinton were to get the votes of Florida and Pennsylvania, Trump would have to win the votes of Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire to win. If Trump were to win Florida and Pennsylvania, Clinton would need the votes of Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Following the release of Trump’s tapes, Clinton took a significant lead in Pennsylvania. Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire also seem to favor Hillary. The states that are still battleground states and that Trump has the best chance of winning over are Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida (The Washington Post). Trump has events scheduled in Colorado and Wisconsin while his running mate, Mike Pence, has events scheduled in Ohio and North Carolina. Clinton currently has no public events scheduled until after the October 19th debate.