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Top 10 Swing States in U.S. Elections

Name the 10 states with the smallest vote differential between Democratic and Republican candidates over the last 4 Presidential elections.
Last updated: August 30, 2017
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Difference
Electoral Votes
State
0.6% R
29
Florida
0.7% R
18
Ohio
1.3% D
6
Iowa
1.8% D
13
Virginia
3.6% D
9
Colorado
Difference
Electoral Votes
State
4.2% D
4
New Hampshire
4.4% D
20
Pennsylvania
4.5% R
15
North Carolina
4.7% D
6
Nevada
5.1% D
10
Wisconsin
+2
level ∞
Nov 7, 2016
If we count the other states as "safe", Clinton needs 44 electoral votes from this group to win. Trump needs 90.
+1
level 52
Nov 7, 2016
Crazy.
+9
level 35
Nov 7, 2016
I believe Donald Trump can win
+1
level 58
Nov 8, 2016
Good for you, Chocolate Moose!
+4
level 75
Nov 8, 2016
But I hope he doesn't.
+1
level 57
Nov 8, 2016
There's a good chance he may win, but the odds are in Hillary Clinton's favour now that her emails have been confirmed not to have anything of importance in them. Will be very interesting to see who wins today, and as a citizen of Canada, I do not have to worry too much about the results! (Although being neighbours with Donald Trump isn't exactly fine, as I'd prefer not to see a Canadian wall along the border).
+4
level 70
Nov 8, 2016
If Trump wins I think you'll have some new neighbors, because I'll be moving to Canada.
+13
level 80
Nov 8, 2016
@Walacama, and others on either side who make similar statements: Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

We believe in democracy, except of course when the other side wins.
+2
level 70
Nov 8, 2016
I believe in Democracy, doesn't mean I have to stay when the people are stupid enough to vote for a stupid person. That's why the Framers invented the electoral college, to save the people from their own stupidity.
+1
level 35
Nov 8, 2016
I'm with Walacama. Praying Trump dosent win. (The sAd thing is that my state is on this list)
+1
level 71
Nov 9, 2016
Looks like the other winner is the Electoral College system, because Clinton won more votes than Trump, even though she lost the Electoral College by 305 to 232. She lost because she won her states by large margins, whereas Trump won several states (Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) by wafer-thin margins of between 0.3% and 1.4%.
+2
level 70
Nov 9, 2016
I'll need a lot of Faithless Electors to change those results. I hope he does a great job for our country. I would never wish for the president to fail. I'll be moving to Ireland, so I'm hopeful the country will be in good shape if I ever decide to move back.
+1
level 69
Mar 18, 2017
She won her states by large margins? Did you see the results in New Hampshire, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Minnesota? On average, he won his states by larger margins than she did.
+2
level 43
Nov 13, 2017
I believe Jerry meant Hillary won states by more people (California for example), not by more percentage.
+8
level 77
Mar 11, 2018
* Spoiler Alert * Trump won... ;)
+1
level 74
Mar 12, 2018
I didn't think a Trump win was possible until about 8:30 pm Central time on election night. P.S. I got seven out of ten - good quiz!
+1
level 72
Nov 8, 2016
This has to be one of the most lopsided elections in the modern history of the USA, besides the Reagan ones and the George H.W. Bush one. Andybody has some data about that? I mean, Trump is even at risk of losing Utah to McMullin...
+1
level 72
Nov 8, 2016
@MetopeTriglyph: Thank you for your great data. Actually, this one seems to be far less lopsided about the popular vote compared to the Reagan, Bush, Johnson, and FDR elections, at least in popular vote. Following Election Night from France on CNN, it seems that Clinton could make a roll if she can win Florida, Virginia and North Carolina (but I'm not sold about Ohio), but it's not comparable with the elections I talked about. Right now, Clinton fate in Florida seems to be bound to Broward County, and I can only imagine a blowout in this very urban county. Election Night is a very funny thing to witness as a French guy becuase of the differences between our respective systems of voting.
+1
level 72
Nov 9, 2016
And he won all the swing states except Virginia, plus Michigan and Wisconsin... What a tremendous upset...
+1
level 74
Nov 10, 2016
It's funny how short people's memories are. The phenomenon of presidential elections being SO close and so hotly contested, with each party crunching numbers over and over and over again to eke out 51% of the vote is quite recent. 2000 Bush v. Gore was one of the closest presidential elections in US history and since it seems like people almost expect that to be the norm. They called Obamas 365-163 victory over McCain a "landslide." But you don't have to go far back to find true landslides that make this one seem like a nail-biter. Just in 1996 Clinton beat Dole 379 - 159. Going further back, George Washington carried 100% of the states in both 1789 and 1792. James Monroe won 231 to 1 in 1820. and then those others that Metope mentioned.
+1
level 37
Aug 30, 2017
Hey Quizmaster, what's number 11? Also, you can do a quiz for the closest states in 2016: Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, Maine, Nebraska's second congressional district, and Michigan would make the list, while Iowa, Ohio, and Maine's second district would become safe Republican.
+1
level ∞
Aug 30, 2017
Minnesota is #11 at 5.5% towards Democrats.
+1
level 37
Aug 30, 2017
Even if you counted Trump states like Michigan and Maine's second district as Democratic holds, Clinton would've needed 53 more electoral votes, while Trump still has to get 79.
+1
level 39
Mar 12, 2018
Oops
+1
level 48
Oct 27, 2018
Not enough time. U should have atleast enough time to type 50 states so we get he all right.
+1
level 64
Nov 7, 2016
Would've never thought of Missouri.
+2
level 74
Nov 8, 2016
We're a flyover state. Nobody ever thinks of us.
+1
level ∞
Aug 29, 2017
The last election removed Missouri from the "swing state" category. Trump beat Clinton by almost 20 points.
+1
level 74
Mar 20, 2018
Which explains why I hate the whole "red state/blue state" thing. These days it seems that liberals think everyone in a red state is ignorant and conservatives think everyone in a blue state is elitist. Historically I would guess that most states have changed back and forth over the years. Changes in population or social or economic issues which tip the balance don't mean that every resident of the state suddenly changes affiliation, and some are always independent. My son once volunteered for a presidential candidate in our state and was dismayed to learn that the national party wouldn't give any funds to the state organization because they had determined in their formula our state wasn't needed to win. That is why who wins the popular vote doesn't matter. If the system was different, money would be distributed differently, and the results would probably be about the same. It's called politics.
+1
level 73
Nov 7, 2016
That's an exorbitant amount of time. I'm pretty sure a quick typist could type all 50 states twice in that amount of time. That's what I did to get New Hampshire. Started at Alabama and worked my way down alphabetically.
+1
level ∞
Nov 7, 2016
You're right. I forgot to change the default. It's now 90 seconds.
+2
level 66
Nov 8, 2016
How about all quizzes being so short that only the top 2% typists can actually finish it on time, that way those of us in pursuit of knowledge can relax and take up gardening instead?
+1
level 60
Jul 20, 2018
I finished it with 14 seconds remaining, and my average typing speed is 38 wpm. Probably 96% of people could easily finish this quiz.
+1
level 70
Nov 7, 2016
This group is changing steadily. Missouri is pretty safe for the GOP - even in Trump's worst polling periods it never looked like going blue. Virginia is increasingly behaving as a blue state, not a swing state. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, could become more of a swing state and North Carolina looks to be following Virginia's trajectory. Meanwhile I think Iowa could follow Missouri and move towards becoming a more GOP-leaning state.
+1
level 69
Mar 18, 2017
North Carolina was won by Obama in 08, but since then has mainly gone GOP in national and local races. It seems like it was more of a fluke than anything.
+1
level 71
Nov 7, 2016
The reverse quizzes, for Republican and Democratic states, are here.
+1
level 36
Nov 8, 2016
Where is the source Trump is up in Iowa, Ohio and is closer in New Hampshire in Real Clear Politics
+1
level 47
Nov 9, 2016
Arizona, Michigan, and New Hampshire not officially counted as of 4:15 today
+1
level 53
Nov 9, 2016
Not that it matters
+1
level 47
Nov 9, 2016
This is the fifth election in which the Democrat won the popular vote but a different candidate won the presidency. (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and now 2016. 1824 Republicans weren't around but the other elections the Republican won)
+2
level 74
Nov 10, 2016
Before 1964 the Democratic and Republican parties were very different, with completely different platforms and constituencies. I'd be careful drawing any broad conclusions going back to the 1800s. But the fact that this has happened twice in the last two decades is troubling.
+3
level 30
Nov 11, 2016
It's not troubling at all. The electoral college protects small states and keeps them in the participation process. Otherwise we'd have the 2-3 biggest states picking all the winners in every election.
+3
level 74
Nov 14, 2016
No we'd get the citizens of the USA picking the winner. There's no reason why voters in WY should havemore say than voters in CA, and if we used a popular vote states wouldn't decide anything. The 10 million people of GA would count exactly the same as the 10 million people of OK+CT+IA. Also this would eliminate the way the minority in each state is subsumed by the majority, rendering their votes meaningless. That applies as much to Republicans voting in CA as it does to Democrats voting in TX. Finally, the main purpose of the EC as devised by the founding fathers was to protect against dangerous but popular demagogues (like Trump) coming to power. The founders were very wary of direct democracy for this reason. They knew such villains could appeal to the plebes before betraying them. If the EC decides to vote against Trump this year it'll have done what it was designed to do. But it probably won't, and if it doesn't, then it is useless.
+2
level 30
Nov 22, 2016
LOL what a silly argument. Voters in WY already do not have more say than voters in CA. WY has 3 electoral votes, CA has 55 which is about a 1700% increase over WY. States are assigned a number of votes based on their population. The higher the population, the more electoral votes. The presidential election is NOT a popularity contest, and the founders didn't want it to be. They formed a republic, and they knew that direct democracy (which is what the popular vote is, not the EC) always leads to fascism. The founders were brilliant when they created the Electoral College. The election gives States the right to send delegates to the Electoral College. Otherwise we wouldn't be the United STATES, and also, the Electoral College protects the minority, not the majority as you say, by giving power to ALL the states and giving a voice to the people who don't live in the 5 biggest cities.
+1
level 30
Nov 22, 2016
So if the Electoral College votes against Trump, it's doing what it is "supposed to do?" No. The electoral college is supposed to vote the way the citizens voted according to their respective state. Yes they could go and vote the other way if they wanted to, but they'd disgrace themselves and trash their careers in the process. But you're right, it probably won't happen. Just getting one to switch will be problematic. They need how many to overturn Trump, about 46? That'd be like winning the lottery 46 times. Not gonna happen.
+3
level 30
Nov 22, 2016
So Trump is a "demagogue?" Demagogues don't use rational arguments. I watched all the debates. Trump had nothing but rational arguments, unlike his opponent, who basically had no message at all, other than "vote for me because I am a woman" and "I will continue Obama's policies" which are proven disasters. Trump laid out specifics and she didn't have an answer for anything. She thought if she smiled and laughed a lot, that would be enough. The laugh is on her.
+2
level 52
Aug 30, 2017
Here's my two cents: the electoral college is stupid (see CGP Grey video), Trump didn't win the popular vote but won the electoral college (see different CGP Grey video) because he played his cards well (there'll probably be a CGP Grey video on that soon). He may not have won fairly, but that's not a problem with him, it's a problem with the country, and the way we elect our leaders.
+1
level 64
Aug 30, 2017
Everybody has campaigned how they've campaigned because of the EC. If candidates really wanted to win the popular vote, they'd campaign in population-rich areas, not in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Maine, etc. The EC makes candidates campaign in those states.
+1
level 37
Oct 10, 2017
Well you can make an argument that the states in the United States are like small countries. Similar to how the UN security council gives 1 vote per member. Now, i'm not saying this is a strong argument, but it was an incentive for some states to join the United States following independence.
+2
level 47
Jan 12, 2018
The Electoral College votes are unevenly distributed, and the bigger states like California and Texas don't get the representation they deserve, while tiny states like Wyoming, Vermont, and Alaska all get 3 votes. It also gives the majorities in each state an advantage, so in safely Democratic states like California and solidly Republican ones like Alabama the minor party really has no shot at winning, rendering their votes essentially useless for the purpose of electing the candidate they voted for. It's only in the swing states that people's votes really count since that is what can tip the election in favor of either candidate. This can barely be called democratic, as in a democracy all votes count equally. I find this system absurd, and don't see any reason as to why the US doesn't go by popular vote, since that is after all what determines what the majority of people want. Also, in the Electoral College, a candidate can technically win with only 21.91% of the vote.
+1
level 47
Jan 12, 2018
Also, the Electoral College doesn't actually benefit the small states, since presidential candidates don't really care about them unless it's an insanely close election. This means that the EC doesn't really benefit anyone and should be abolished altogether. Popular vote benefits everyone equally, no matter if you live in a big city of in the countryside.
+2
level 74
Mar 11, 2018
Roxy: not so good at math, are we?

Gamer: why is that a good thing? Why should Iowa get visited by presidential candidates 1000x more often than Los Angeles? That makes zero sense at all.

Aqua: that's the way it was 200 years ago. But it's not the way it is today and it's harmful to think of things in that way.

Tim: exactly
+1
level 64
Mar 11, 2018
@Kal my comment on the EC wasn't trying to make it seem as though it's a good thing. I was just pointing out that the system makes candidates campaign how they do now. Instead of campaigning by trying to get a majority of the people's votes.
+5
level 69
Feb 3, 2018
I love going back and reading comments before the election and then those since trying to justify how Clinton should be President even though she lost the popular without California by 1.4 million votes. Lets face it, California is NOT a good gauge for the country as a whole. As for those not happy about the electoral college (and making excuses about it because Hillary lost), the candidates enter into it knowing how the system works and they accept it. It is the most fair, giving every state a total number based on the percentage of their population of that state. It is how the system has always been. The infants love it only when their candidate wins and throw temper tantrums when they don't. Us grown ups accept when we don't like who won and hope for something else in the next election.
+4
level 58
Mar 11, 2018
For a "grown up," it's pretty weird to make an argument by casually removing millions of voters from California from consideration because that state isn't, you know, a "good gauge" for the country as a whole.
+2
level 74
Mar 11, 2018
You know that California is part of the United States, right?
+2
level 74
Mar 11, 2018
and you accuse other people of being infants...
+2
level 64
Mar 11, 2018
You know that whether or not you like California's political atmosphere, it's still a state, right. So as far as I'm aware, you can't just remove the votes of any state. If not, time to remove the votes the Republicans get in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.
+1
level 67
Mar 11, 2018
Some people were saying California allowed illegal immigrants to register to vote and that cost Trump the popular vote. Whilst that would have made zero difference to California's outcome alone, are there any legs in that claim?
+1
level 65
Mar 11, 2018
Donald, is that you?
+1
level 74
Mar 12, 2018
zero. The only people who believe this, including the commander in chief, are detached from reality. Also why on Earth would Democrats be committing massive voter fraud in states where they were already guaranteed to win? The DNC made some catastrophic errors but they're not quite *that* dumb. If there really was voter fraud they could have stolen the election with just a few thousands well placed votes in certain key swing states. But instead they chose to cast 3 million fraudulent votes in states that were solidly Democratic? If that makes sense to you I'd like to sell you a degree from Trump University...
+1
level 67
Mar 12, 2018
Yes. There is verified proof that criminal illegals voted in the election. Obviously this had the largest affect in California, but democratic cheating also likely costed Trump New Hampshire. Many democrats from the Northeast voted twice. People from Massachusetts voted in their own state and then crossed the border and voted in New Hampshire because they knew it would be an extremely close race.

That's why democrats are calling for felons to be able to vote and fighting against voter ID with such vigor. They realize that they've alienated law-abiding American citizens with their hatred and identity politics. Their party now relies completely on the votes of criminal illegal aliens and felons.

Trump tried to fix the system by creating a national voter database that would only allow people to vote once. Democratic states refused to comply and provide voter rolls because they knew that if the election was conducted fairly they would lose.
+3
level 60
Mar 12, 2018
There's no proof of any of this beyond posts on cancerous fever swamps sites like Breitbart. Democrats are calling for felons to be able to vote because they believe voting is an inalienable right that a (potentially wrongful) conviction (that may be for a nonviolent crime) shouldn't rob one of rights after a prison sentence is completed. Voter ID laws have been specifically designed to disenfranchise minority citizens (see North Carolina). Trump tried to launch a commission to validate his hurt feelings and BS claims over losing the popular vote, not because he has any interest in "fixing the system." You should know by this point that the only things that hold his interest are things he can make money off of or things that will get people talking about him.
+1
level 74
Mar 18, 2018
Pork, please seek professional help. I'm worried about you.
+1
level 52
Mar 12, 2018
It seems like the U.S. is, on the whole, trending more liberally in the swing states. Not a bad thing, but it's interesting.
+1
level 74
Mar 18, 2018
The world and history trends liberal. Change and progress is inevitable. The question in a two party liberal/conservative democracy is whether the conservatives can update their platform quickly enough to stay relevant. The past many years Republicans have been dragging on this and lagging further and further behind the mood of the country, in some ways even moving backward. The only way they can win elections, and they *know* this, is by disenfranchising as many voters as possible (see Pork's phony concerns above about voter ID and votes cast by illegal immigrants) and depending on cynical and undemocratic systems like the Electoral College and the system of gerrymandering to steal power from the people. In 2008 when Obama won a resounding victory the GOP did some soul searching and *tried* to move in a more progressive direction, understanding that they couldn't win in the future with just old "white" men. But...
+1
level 46
Oct 29, 2018
Judging by recent elections in many countries (including now Brazil), I'd say this isn't true.
+1
level 74
Mar 18, 2018
... we all know how that went. Trump represents everything the GOP was trying to get away from. And he may very well destroy the party completely going forward. He shouldn't have won the election in 2016. What would have been hard to anticipate in 2008, though, was just how much Democrats and liberals would empower forces like Trump with their focus on identity politics and a seeming passive indifference if not willful animosity toward the types of voters (old "white" men) that gave Trump the win in all the rust belt states.