ERIC Number: EJ1110646
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
ISSN: ISSN-1933 8341
Purple States in the 2016 Presidential Election
Shelley, Fred M.; Hitt, Ashley M.
Geography Teacher, v13 n3 p124-127 2016
Given the nature of the Electoral College system, the two major political parties concentrate on winning the electoral votes of those states in which the preference of voters are divided evenly. Thus, the parties and their candidates ignore states such as Wyoming and Oklahoma, which are reliably Republican, and they ignore states such as Massachusetts and Maryland, which are reliably Democratic. Rather, they concentrate their resources on states that are likely to go either way. These states are known as purple states, swing states, or battleground states. The term "purple state" comes from the fact that television networks use red to represent Republican victories and blue to represent Democratic victories. Thus, Wyoming and Oklahoma are red states and Massachusetts and Maryland are blue states. Elections are won and lost in purple states; in other words, where votes are cast for candidates is as important as how many popular votes are cast for these candidates (Sabato, Kondik, and Skelley 2016). Which states that have been blue or red previously might become purple states? On the Democratic side, Clinton's strength among urban and minority voters might help her candidacy in parts of the South, especially in large cities. Thus, normally Republican Georgia and Texas, as two of the most urbanized states in the South, could become purple states given large minority and relatively progressive populations in cities such as Atlanta, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. On the other hand, Trump's support among working-class white voters, as shown in the primaries, may help him in such normally Democratic states in the North such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin (Kapur 2016). Trump's appeal to working-class voters, especially men, is associated with his opposition to free-trade agreements that are seen as taking away manufacturing jobs, along with his opposition to stronger gun control laws. Overall, it is clear that the conventional wisdom associated with the identification of purple states, along with efforts to win their electoral votes, may disappear in this highly unconventional election year. The states that will win and lose the election may be very different than has been the case in recent elections.
Descriptors: Presidents, Elections, Voting, Political Campaigns, Television, News Reporting, Political Candidates, Geographic Regions, Social Class
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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