RealClearPolitics, which averages all major polls, still has the former president up about 40 points nationally in the race for the Republican nomination.
However, as the general election comes more into focus, something unique appears to be happening in 2024: a historically low number of true swing states.
focus on swing states
With election coverage, television networks can buy fancy touchscreens and create amazing graphics, but at the end of the day, elections are about coloring a map.
Some states have been painted red for years. Others have been blue for decades.
But in every election, there are swing states, colored purple or yellow to indicate they could go either party’s way.
Amy Walter said, “Now a lot of it is decided, regardless of who the parties nominate.” She runs the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which analyzes races from coast to coast.
How It Began (August 1995 Electoral College Rating)
How’s It Going (August 2023 Electoral College Ratings) pic.twitter.com/n5XqAt02Ki
— Amy Walter (@amyewalter) 27 July 2023
Recently he had an observation.
In 1995, the Cook Political Report listed 12 states as a toss-up. Even California was involved. Nearly 30 years later, that same report is, for the moment, listing only four states as true toss-ups: Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
“If you go back to about the 20th century, we’ve never had a map as deterministic as this electoral map is today,” Walter said.
Take Florida for example. For years, many analysts painted it yellow in polls.
This election cycle begins as a softer shade of red after voting for Republicans for president and governor in recent years. The same is true for Ohio.
Meanwhile, Democrats have made gains in recent cycles in places like Virginia, Michigan and Colorado. According to the Cook Political Report, the 2024 election campaign in those states starts off light blue.
Walter said, “It reflects the fact that we have become a more polarized country where people put on the red and blue jerseys and they don’t take them off.”
If you live in a swing state, this means you are likely to be bombarded with more ads, door knocking, phone calls and campaign visits than in recent years.
If you live in a state that has lost swing status, Walter says to worry about a lack of voter participation. After all, if someone doesn’t think their vote will matter that much, voters are more likely to stay home.
“Campaigns are spending their money in fewer places,” Walter said.
Of course, just because some political analysts in D.C. are not considering several states to be competitive doesn’t mean that the political parties are giving up.
Democrats and Republicans will work to create more toss-up states between now and this time next year.
Needless to mention, there are congressional low-turnout races to worry about. For example, Democrats are not competing heavily in Montana for the presidential election, but plan to spend millions to re-elect Democratic Senator Jon Tester.