US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Fight for swing states

While all states vote in the presidential election, campaigns keep close tabs on some more than others. These are the swing states, or battleground states, and the outcome of the election could hinge on whom voters in these states eventually choose as their president. The swing states for the 2016 presidential election are:

OHIO

The phrase "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation" refers to the fact that no Republican candidate has ever won the White House without winning the state. As for Democratic candidates, the last person to do so was John F. Kennedy in 1960. The state, with 18 electoral college votes, tends to favour political moderates, so candidates cannot be too progressive or conservative.

It voted Democrat in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections, and Republican in 2004. It is too close to call now for the 2016 election.

FLORIDA

While the state has a high proportion of Hispanic and Latino voters, they do not vote as a bloc. Cuban immigrants tend to favour the Republicans while Puerto Ricans are big supporters of the Democrats. The state is always a battleground because winning it means sweeping 29 electoral votes, the same number as in New York and the third-highest number in the nation after California and Texas. Democrats have a 64 to 71 per cent chance of winning the state, according to forecasts. Floridians voted Democrat in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections, and Republican in 2004.

NEVADA

On paper, the state should go to the Democrats, because of its racial diversity. The Democrats have a strong ground game here, with more of them registered than Republicans. But it also has one of the lowest rates of college education in the country. The state is now considered a toss-up but leaning towards the Democrats. Nevada has six electoral college votes. It voted Democrat in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections, and Republican in 2004.

NORTH CAROLINA

The state voted Republican in the 2012 and 2004 elections. In between, it swung to the Democrats in 2008. According to various forecasts, Democrats have a slight edge this time around.

Republican nominee Donald Trump must garner the 15 electoral college votes at stake here if he is to have any chance of moving into the White House. But the demographics may not be in his favour.

The state's urban centres are growing and many of the inhabitants are educated, young and increasingly less conservative - a demographic that favours Mrs Hillary Clinton.

IOWA

The state voted Democrat in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections, and Republican in 2004. Forecasters predict there is a good chance the state will go back to the Republicans. Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Mr Trump in the Republican caucus to choose the party's nominee, while Mrs Clinton won by only a razor-thin margin against Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Typically, this would not be considered a swing state - with its 20 electoral votes - because it voted Democrat in the last three presidential elections. But Mr Trump is making a bid for the state because it has a comparatively higher proportion of older white voters without college degrees who are considered the Republican nominee's voter base. Pundits say Mr Trump must win Pennsylvania to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House. Sources:

 

NY TIMES, FIVETHIRTY- EIGHT, DAILY KOS, PREDICTWISE, PRINCETON ELECTION CONSORTIUM

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Fight for swing states'. Print Edition | Subscribe