What Is a Swing State?

Swing State Map
The states in purple are called swing states. They are important in the Presidential election.

You might have heard the words “swing state” in the news. What is a swing state?

People in the United States vote for President. In 48 states, the winner of the votes in the state wins electoral votes. The winner could win in a state by a very small amount. But the winner still gets all the electoral votes. A person needs at least 270 electoral votes to win the election and become President.

In some states, it’s clear who will win the votes before the election. In Illinois, for example, a Democrat usually gets the electoral votes. In other states such as Alabama, a Republican usually wins.

In other states, it’s not clear who will win. Those states are called “swing states.” 

Candidates focus on the swing states. They want to win the votes. Missouri has been a swing state for over 100 years. In almost every election since 1904, the winner of Missouri became President. Florida was an important swing state in 2000.

What Do You Think? Why is it important for candidates to win in swing states?