Defining the swing states for 2012
The importance of Ohio and Florida in the past two presidential elections has folks looking ahead to the big swing states in November—and it could be a bigger crop than in past years.
This election cycle, there are somewhere between nine and 12 swing states— depending on who is counting.
This week, the New York Times accounted for nine swing states, and a USA Today/Gallup poll provided a breakdown of 12 swing states. In addition, Politico issued its own swing state list with 11 states.
Real Clear Politics has a much deeper pool of undecided states based on an average of current polls about the 2012 presidential election. It has nine states that are definitely battleground states and another 12 which aren’t firmly in the Obama or Romney camp.
Why swing states matter so much
It’s all because of the electoral college, America’s unique way of picking a president and vice president, and an integral part of the Constitution.
If you need a primer, a presidential candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the election. For 48 states, it is a winner-take-all election within each state, with the winner getting every electoral vote. (Nebraska and Maine use a proportional vote system.)
Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, of the Constitution first spelled out the electoral college system and while there have been some tweaks over the years, it remains in place.
The electoral college isn’t going anywhere in the near future, so the Obama and Romney camps must decide which states to target in what will likely be a very expensive campaign.
Back in 2008, there were just six swing states in play at the end of the election, while the 2004 campaign featured 11 swing states.
The New York Times list for 2012 includes Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The USA Today/Gallup list has the same nine states as the New York Times, with the addition of New Mexico, North Carolina, and Michigan.
The Politico list excludes Michigan and
You can read the rest of this article at:: http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/defining-the-swing-states-for-2012/
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