Swinging the Election: In Pictures

Image result for swing voters

An extremely low percentage of registered voters say they are satisfied with their choices of presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most unfavorable nominees in presidential history. An increasing number of voters do not feel as though their views are adequately represented by the major political parties. This does not necessarily affect their vote, however. The American electorate is increasingly partisan, votes as such, and displays political animus towards opposing partisans.  The center of American politics has been disappearing for decades. Perhaps most importantly, this means the number of “swing voters” has decreased significantly.

Swing voters are those voters who “may not be affiliated with a particular political party (Independent) or who will vote across party lines”. Traditionally, they have been located in the center of the political spectrum, some interests satisfied by a Democratic candidate, others by a Republican. With no to limited emotional attachment to a particular political party, their vote “swings” between parties. In a contentious election which is increasingly close and each nominee has the chance to win, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are reaching out to those remaining swing voters. However, even with an unusually high percentage of undecided voters, the swing vote may not matter.

That’s because it doesn’t really exist. Most “undecided” and “swing voters” are actually partisans and have political preferences which push their vote one way or the other. With more Americans unsure if they will show up to vote, what matters more to the nominees is if people show up to vote, not how they vote. Over 90 percent of likely voters say they have already made up their minds as for whom they will cast a vote. In short, partisan polarization has eliminated the swing voter, created very defined voting factions, and effectively ended much of the uncertainty surrounding presidential elections. As demonstrated below, it’s actually a fairly simple process:

Image result for pew research partisan polarization

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