Main map

Presidential polls: WA
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC

Previous | Next


Downloadable data

News from the Votemaster

Media Outlets Disagree on Which States Swing

While everyone is talking about the importance of the so-called swing states, there is surprisingly little agreement on which ones they are. The University of Minnesota has issued a report in which 12 media outlets, from the Huffington Post on the left to the Wall Street Journal on the right, were surveyed to see which states they considered swing states. There is a surprising amount of difference. Below is a table showing the states that at least one publication listed as a swing state, and how many of them thought so.

State #
Florida 12
Virginia 12
Ohio 11
New Hampshire 11
Nevada 11
Iowa 11
Colorado 10
North Carolina 8
Wisconsin 7
Michigan 4
Pennsylvania 2
Missouri 2
Arizona 2
New Mexico 2
Minnesota 1
Indiana 1

Florida and Virginia top the list. Everyone agrees they are tossups although in Virginia President Obama has led Mitt Romney much of the time. Florida is perhaps closer to a real tie, but also there, Obama has been ahead appreciably more than he has been behind.

At the other end of the spectrum, only the National Journal thinks Minnesota and Indiana are swing states. The rest undoubtedly think Obama will win Minnesota (even if Tim Pawlenty is Romney's running mate) and Obama's winning Indiana last time was a freak accident that will certainly not be repeated. Most outlets clearly think Pennsylvania and New Mexico will stay blue and Missouri and Arizona will stay red. Higher up on the list there is more doubt.

Another way to look at the data is by publication. Some are pretty sure of themselves and others are less so. Here is the number of swing states each one thinks there are.

Publication #
National Journal 16
Wall Street Journal 12
USA Today 12
Politico 10
Washington Post 8
New York Times 8
Huffington Post 3

The National Journal is the most cautious and thinks everything is a swing state, whereas the Huffington Post thinks only Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia are true swing states. The others are in between. The problem here is that there is a fine line between "I don't have a clue" and "Obama/Romney is a little bit ahead there." When you look at the polling graph for New Mexico, it certainly does not look like a swing state as Obama has held a large lead all year, but it appears to be getting closer. So is this a "leaner" or a true tossup? The same can be said of Missouri but the other way. Romney has led most of the year, but in 2008, it was so close it took 3 weeks to figure out who won (McCain, by 4000 votes out of 3 million).

Deferred Deportation Forms to Go Online Aug. 15

Earlier this year President Obama said he would not deport young illegals who were brought to the U.S. as children, have never been in trouble with the law, and who have either completed high school or have an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces. Now the program is coming into action. As of Aug. 15, the forms to apply for the program will be available online. No doubt during September and October many young Latinos will be busy filling out the applications. While they can't become citizens and can't vote, many of them surely have relatives and friends who are U.S. citizens and are very happy with this new program. An interesting question is what Mitt Romney says about it. Probably he will try to avoid answering questions about it, but if he is asked point blank during one of the debates whether he would continue the program if he is elected President, it will be tricky to find an answer that satisfies both Latinos and his own base.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Washington 54% 37%   Aug 01 Aug 02 SurveyUSA