Umi Caldwell
Map with Swing States

Swing states will be crucial to this election

On Nov. 3, one of the most historical presidential elections in U.S. history will take place. It is crucial to acknowledge swing states and how they will determine the election. Swing or battleground states are where presidential candidates of either major party have close to equal chances of winning. The election analytics website FiveThirtyEight recognizes Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The swing state voter demographic typically has a fair amount of both Republican and Democratic voters. For example, Florida is a swing state with a large demographic of both senior and younger voters. In 2000, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush won Florida, but in 2008 and 2012, the state turned blue for Barack Obama.

Let us rewind to 2016. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. However, the Electoral College’s winner-take-all system did not grant Clinton the presidency. Donald Trump most notably won the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida. Before the 2016 election, most polls favored a Clinton win while few anticipated a Trump victory. 

FiveThirtyEight’s model shows that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has an 87 in 100 chance of winning the presidential election. The expected tipping-point state is Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes. The tipping-point state gives the winning candidate most of the electoral votes to win. Currently, Biden has an 86 in 100 chance of winning Pennsylvania. Keep in mind, FiveThirtyEight predicted Clinton having a 77% chance of winning Pennsylvania but she lost the state by 44,000 votes. Current national projections show anything from a landslide Biden win to a narrow Trump win. Currently, both campaigns and political action committees (PACs) swarm the swing states’ air time with advertising. For Trump’s campaign, money is tight. The campaign has cut at least $2 million from ads in Michigan and Wisconsin, $5 million from Minnesota and is suspending all ads in Ohio and Iowa. Biden has received funds of $100 million dollars from Former New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg to advertise in Florida. 

You are probably wondering why I fixate on the swing states. With so much at stake, why should I not? They can make or break this election as they are the tipping point of who wins the electoral college and, eventually, the presidency. While Oregon, California and Washington are not swing states, I can only encourage Lewis & Clark students who come from swing states to vote and make the impact they want in this election. Students should encourage friends and family who live in swing states to vote, too. With the time left till election day, you can still write letters to voters in swing states. Maybe consider phone banking in swing states for your candidate. On election night, focus on these states because they essentially determine what candidate gets the minimum 270 electoral votes to win. 

Regardless of living in a swing state or not, it is essential to a functioning democracy to vote and, if possible, vote early. Let us learn from 2016 that we can look at polls all we want, but the people vote, not the polls. On Nov. 4, we may not know who wins. But on Jan. 20, next year, we do not want to wish we did more before the election.

This article presents opinions held by the author, not those of The Pioneer Log and its editorial board.

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