Swing States Throwing Presidential Forecasts for a Loop

Friday, October 26th, 2012
A breakdown of some states' votes in the upcoming election


In the United States' current political system, states have a certain number of electoral votes determined by the number of representatives of the state, plus two, to account for the 2 senators. Most states have historical trends of voting either Republican or Democrat in the presidential election, but some are not as consistent in their voting. These states are called swing states. Both Obama and Romney have pumped most of their financial resources into these swing states to convince their citizens that they should vote "red" or "blue" come November. Since the set states split their share of electoral votes somewhat evenly, the swing states's importance in deciding the election is dramatically increased. For the upcoming election between Republican Mitt Romney and incumbent Democrat Barack Obama, the major swing states are Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.


Ohio has 20 electoral votes, and is considered one of the most important states in the 2012 election. Obama has spent $45 million dollars in Ohio, compared to $23 million dollars spent by Romney. In 2008, Obama won the state by 4 points, in his defeat over John McCain. In the 2004 election, Bush won the state by a very slim margin. Polls have shown both Romney and Obama on top, but there is no pattern or large leads. Obama has received $8.24 million dollars from fundraising in Ohio, while Romney has received $5.04 million dollars in the state.


Colorado has 9 electoral votes. Both candidates have made speeches and visited Colorado many times. One of the three debates was held at the University of Denver. Obama poured $19.36 million into the state, compared to Romney’s $10.36 million dollars. Until 2004, Colorado was a predominantly Republican state, but in 2004, the Democrats took over the governor's office and the state legislature. in 2008, a large population of Hispanics and young voters carried Obama to victory. Obama has received $3.99 million from supporters, and Romney has received $4.52 million from his supporters.


North Carolina carries 15 electoral votes. The state was considered a Republican stronghold until 2008, when black voters showed a huge turn out and gave Obama their 15 electoral votes. Obama has spent $16.14 million, and Romney has spent $11.92 million to secure the key swing state. A poll conducted at Elon University in 2011 stated that Obama’s approval rating was 42% in the state. Obama has received $3.69 million from supporters, and Romney has received $4.14 million.


Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes. The state has experienced slow growth and a sluggish economy. Democrats have won the last six presidential elections, but in the 2010 midterm elections Republicans showed some life in congressional races and in electing a Republican governor. Obama has spent $3.85 million in ads, and Romney has spent $2.50 million dollars in ads. The president has received $1.58 million from supporters, while Romney has received $1.54 million. Wisconsin is predicted to be one of the closest and most important states in the election.


While these swing states still appear ready to vote either way, one thing about them is certain: with many states set firmly on either Obama or Romney, Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and Wisconsin will play a critical role in appointing the next Chief Executive in the White House.