2024
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Why is Swing State Voting so Important in US Elections?

Cyrus Doomasia has helped many of InterKnowlogy's clients, like 7News and SVT, cover important elections, including the upcoming 2024 US Presidential election. In this article, he answers the question: Why is swing state voting so important in US elections?

June 3, 2024

Source: U.S. News & World Report • Chart: Julia Haines/U.S. News & World Report

On May 24, I sat down with Cyrus Doomasia -- in our respective Toronto and Ottawa home offices – and had a conversation about swing state voting in US presidential elections. We discussed face-to-face, over Microsoft Teams.

Below is a bit of the meeting, referred to above, lightly edited:

Pedro -

Why is swing state voting so important in US elections?

Cyrus -

In most states, the way the system is set up, the winner is almost predetermined. Before elections happen, you sort of know who's going to win that state.

For example, you would already know, on November 1st, that it's probably California and New York who are going to be blue. Then you have states like Wyoming and West Virginia, who are going to be red.

Most of the states are already known because in the US Electoral College system almost all the states give all the electorals to the to the party with the popular vote.

For example, if you take the state of Texas and say the Republican Party wins 52% of the votes and the Democratic Party wins 48% of the votes, even though the election seems close, all the 40 electorals in that state go to the Republicans. It's almost like a winner takes all.

That means: who will win the Presidency comes down to which candidate can win the swing states. And the swing states are the states where the populations are very closely divided politically. These battleground states are where the political parties spend most of their campaign money, whether it's on advertisements, campaign visits, or any other activity.

2024’s is going to be the costliest presidential election in history. The prediction is that about $2.1 billion are going to be spent on the elections and out of that, the estimate is that 3/4 of the $2.1 billion is going to be spent on the swing states. So you can imagine the importance of the swing states, given the kind of big money involved.

Conclusion

We’ll get to other questions, including "Which are the swing states, and do they change?" in future articles, but let’s wrap up our answer to this week’s question:

Question -

Why is swing state voting so important in US elections?

Answer -

The result of voting in most states is predictable and is not worth investing substantial campaign funds into.

The result of voting in about a handful of states is not predictable and is worth investing substantial campaign funds into.

Who will win the Presidency comes down to which candidate can win the swing states. The swing states are the states where the populations are, politically, very closely divided.

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