Pivotal to the U.S. Presidential Election are swing states, which are heavily courted like a fine lady by the Democratic and the Republican candidate. Due to various reasons, these states are very fickle about which candidate to choose. Singled out below are three current swing state standouts who will, collectively, determine the next president.
Much sought after is the Buckeye State. Ohio has picked presidential winners, both Democratic and Republican, since 1960. The traditional swing state, with 18 electoral votes, is usually an intense electoral battleground between "blue" (Democrat) versus "red" (Republican).
Ohio has gone Democratic in four of the past seven presidential elections. In the state's most populous area, Cleveland and surrounding suburbs, support leans very blue. In Cleveland, the Black or African-American voter demographic is over 80 percent Democratic. Considering the city itself is 50 percent black, there is significant blue advantage. Meanwhile, demographics of white, college educated voters in Cleveland and other parts of Ohio is a favorable to the Democrat candidate. With all that said, there is a strong red influence especially in rural Ohioan counties.
Republican strategists zone in on these areas especially to galvanize their base for the election. It is also worth noting that current Ohio governor, John Kasich, the majority of House representation and two-thirds of state legislature are Republicans, so it would be no surprise for this divided state to go red with the presidency.
Key to wrapping up the presidency is the Keystone State, which has 20 electoral votes up for grabs. At first glance, Pennsylvania's "swing" state status is suspect due to the fact that the state has gone for the Democrat candidate for the past 6 elections. However, there has been recent Republican gain. PA is arguably blue. It has picked the Democratic candidate in 6 of the last 7 elections.
Heavily in the Democratic pocket are the urban areas of PA, especially Philadelphia. Pro union influence and practices have long defined the state's association with the Democratic party. With the Governor Tom Wolf (D) in office, Pennsylvania may also choose blue leadership for the Oval office.
However, Pennsylvania may just go red in 2016. Based on prognostication by Donald Wasserman and other election monitors, Pennsylvania has been growing Republican about 0.2 percent since 2006. Particularly, western Pennsylvania has shifted red due to the area's economic boom from fracking, or natural gas drilling, which is backed predominantly by the Republican platform. Over 300,000 jobs have been created in PA from the shale gas industry.
A bright outcome for either the Democrat or Republican candidate comes from the Sunshine State. Florida has the largest number of electoral votes, as far as swing states go, with 29. It is difficult to call the state blue or red, largely due to regional and demographic factors. When looking at election voter maps, Florida is colored predominantly in shades of red. The state's Panhandle region, much of its northern and central counties outside of Orlando, are generally stronghold Republican areas. Within these, rural white populations generally turns out for the Republican candidate.
As for state government, Republican representation is strong in the House and legislative branch, as well as the governorship, with Rick Scott in office. The state could follow red suit for the nation's new president. Contrastingly, southern Florida, including the highly populated county of Miami-Dade, and central Florida cities of Orlando and Tampa, lean blue.
Large and growing non-white populations in these areas generally select the Democratic candidate. Black voters go over 85 percent Democratic and Latino voters have been trending blue at about 60 percent. Presidential voting among white populations have trended about even or slightly over 50 percent Democratic. Florida has had a longtime Democratic senator, Bill Nelson and may go blue again for the new leader in the White House. Barring major political catastrophe on either side, these three states will be intense battlegrounds on Election Day 2016.