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.
EV = electoral votes
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 14, 2020
First submittedNovember 7, 2016
Times taken29,182
Rating4.28
1:30
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Difference
EV
State
0.2% R
29
Florida
0.6% R
6
Iowa
1.7% R
15
North Carolina
2.1% R
18
Ohio
4.5% R
16
Georgia
Difference
EV
State
4.0% D
20
Pennsylvania
5.2% D
10
Wisconsin
5.2% R
11
Arizona
5.7% D
4
New Hampshire
6.0% D
6
Nevada
+3
Level 63
Nov 7, 2016
Would've never thought of Missouri.
+4
Level 78
Nov 8, 2016
We're a flyover state. Nobody ever thinks of us.
+4
Level ∞
Aug 29, 2017
The last election removed Missouri from the "swing state" category. Trump beat Clinton by almost 20 points.
+6
Level 78
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.
+9
Level 81
May 4, 2019
Though there are many factors and some anomalous years, if you look at the data (go on, take a look, it's interesting and revealing) it becomes clear that since the American Civil War the major defining factor in US presidential elections has been race. I'm loathe to admit this as I tend to disagree with people who see racism as the reason for everything, but, just look at the map. Democrats were the party of racists (in the south, and to a lesser extent in the mid-west) from 1860 until 1964. 100 years of Democrats owning the "solid south." Then what happened? The Civil Rights Act of 1964, introduced by a Democratic Congressman, signed into law by a Democratic president, and *immediately* the country flips completely, defying 100 years of precedent. The racist states turned from blue to red and vice versa. The only years that are different since then are 1968 when the Democrats splintered
+8
Level 81
May 4, 2019
... and formed the Dixiecrat party, and in 1976 when the Democrats ran a southern peanut farmer from Georgia. (he would go on to carry Georgia in 1980, as well) but the overall pattern in every other year for the past 150 years can be explained by this one thing. The racist states try to dress up their racism in different ways and call it different things. Things like "states rights" and "smaller government" which was their way of saying keep the federal government weak so that state and local governments are free to oppress their minority populations; and of course gun rights became a big thing because southern militias needed to be armed to keep said minorities in line. This one issue has shaped American political discourse so pervasively and for so long that most people don't even realize it, they think that their party is in favor of small government because they believe in fiscal responsibility or something like that.
+7
Level 81
May 4, 2019
and of course not all Republican voters are racist and many now actually do believe in these things racism aside but that is where our current two-party national divide originally came from and how many ideas that we now take for granted as conservative or liberal principles came to take shape.
+3
Level 72
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.
+3
Level ∞
Nov 7, 2016
You're right. I forgot to change the default. It's now 90 seconds.
+5
Level 70
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?
+3
Level 71
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.
+2
Level 83
May 4, 2019
If I don't know answers I don't guess 100 things to be "right". I just skip to the next one and click Give Up. You can't learn anything if all you remember is typing everything that came into your head.
+3
Level 74
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.
+3
Level 74
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.
+3
Level 48
Dec 22, 2018
Indiana did the same thing with Obama in 08. I'd still say NC is a swing state though. Enough large cities to be close to 50/50. The rural and urban highly contrast each other.
+2
Level 50
Oct 23, 2019
But it's not about how many times a state was actually won by a party, it's about how close the elections were.
+4
Level ∞
Dec 14, 2020
Yeah, Virginia is now a blue state, as is Colorado. They both appeared on this list until the latest update.
+5
Level 74
Nov 7, 2016
The reverse quizzes, for Republican and Democratic states, are here.
+4
Level 65
Dec 15, 2020
Nice use of red and blue links.
+2
Level 33
Nov 8, 2016
Where is the source Trump is up in Iowa, Ohio and is closer in New Hampshire in Real Clear Politics
+2
Level 47
Nov 9, 2016
Arizona, Michigan, and New Hampshire not officially counted as of 4:15 today
+2
Level 52
Nov 9, 2016
Not that it matters
+4
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)
+5
Level 81
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.
+7
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.
+19
Level 81
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.
+4
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.
+3
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.
+4
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.
+6
Level 54
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.
+2
Level 63
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.
+2
Level 39
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.

+10
Level 59
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.
+6
Level 59
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.
+3
Level 46
Dec 14, 2020
I personally think that not having the electoral college will make elections more interesting. Rather than both candidates visiting the same swing states each time, we would see republicans campaigning in California, or Dems campaigning in Rural Mississippi.

With that said though, the margin of victory the Dems get in CA and NY simply outweighs everything else. So, it would not be the best way.

+8
Level 71
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.
+14
Level 59
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.
+10
Level 63
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.
+3
Level 54
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.
+5
Level 66
Jun 21, 2019
As a Danish person, I don't know anything about the swing states. Got 7/10 by typing random states though.
+2
Level 53
Feb 9, 2020
Virginia? Really? That’s surprising as NoVa is all democrat and that’s where most of VA lives
+4
Level 81
Sep 24, 2020
The state is solid red, though, outside of NoVA, Richmond, and some parts of the Norfolk metro area. As those areas have become more densely populated it turned more and more purple, and is now starting to become blue. But before 2008 Virginia had voted for the Republican candidate for president in every single election going back to 1952 except once ('64).
+3
Level 69
Aug 19, 2020
*angrily typing about politics*
+2
Level 84
Aug 21, 2020
*getting reported multiple times for making political comments on political quizzes*
+2
Level ∞
Dec 14, 2020
* Hopefully people learn there lesson and be polite.
+3
Level 84
Dec 14, 2020
*Polite comments still sometimes get deleted anyway
+4
Level 74
Dec 15, 2020
*Mildly berates QM for using "there" instead of "their"
+3
Level 81
Sep 24, 2020
Going by the most recent polling data, the 10 most competitive states this year look to be (in descending order):

Ohio

North Carolina

Georgia

Florida

Iowa

Texas

Arkansas

New Hampshire

Arizona

and Pennsylvania

I'm not really sure I believe that Arkansas poll. If that was a fluke, then Nevada would slide in to the 10th most competitive spot. Would be pretty crazy if Trump lost in Arkansas. But the fact that Texas and Georgia are competitive this year is also bad news for him. Those have traditionally been Republican strongholds and also where they get a substantial chunk of their electoral college votes.

None of the other states are surprising. My home state of Virginia is leaning more blue all the time. Happy to see that sanity is prevailing there.

+3
Level 81
Sep 24, 2020
The least competitive states appear to be West Virginia and Massachusetts.
+4
Level 46
Dec 14, 2020
Georgia was won by Biden this year. the Demographics are changing.
+1
Level 78
Oct 28, 2020
Minnesota is up for grabs this election!
+3
Level 46
Dec 19, 2020
if winning=losing by 7.2 points then of course it is!
+3
Level 62
Dec 14, 2020
I'd argue Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire are no longer swing states. I think Texas has become a swing state, though.
+3
Level 46
Dec 14, 2020
Not so fast on Florida, but other than that, you are right
+2
Level 59
Dec 30, 2020
Saying Florida isn't a swing state anymore is a rushed conclusion in my opinion, I'd wait for the 2022 midterms and 2024 election to see. For all we know, it could have been a fluke because of the much-more-Republican-than-usual Cuban vote in Miami-Dade. Other than that, I'd agree.
+3
Level 74
Dec 15, 2020
Surprised to see Michigan is missing from this list.
+3
Level 50
Dec 15, 2020
Michigan is pretty much a democratic state, along with the great lakes region.
+2
Level 50
Dec 16, 2020
The only time it voted republican in the last 4 election was in 2016.
+2
Level 50
Dec 16, 2020
This election added Arizona and Georgia here, right?
+2
Level 59
Dec 30, 2020
It did, yes.
+1
Level 60
Feb 24, 2021
So glad Colorado finally got moved off the list...