Over the last few decades, presidential election outcomes within the majority of states have become more and more predictable, to the point that only ten states were considered competitive in the 2012 election. Due to the state-by-state winner-take-all method of allocating Electoral College votes, competitive states receive much more campaign attention than their non-competitive counterparts.
The table below provides a state-by-state review of presidential outcomes and competitiveness. It shows how some states have not been competitive for than a half-century and how most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position for at least a decade.
- Number of States Won by Same Party, 2000-2012 = 41 of 51 states (counting D.C)
- Number of States Won by Same Party, 1992-2012 = 32
- Number of States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2012 = 13
- Number of States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2012 = 19
- Number of Safe Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988 = 7
- Number of Safe Republican States Not Swing State since 1988 = 16
- "Close state": A state with a margin of victory less than 6% in a given election
- "Swing state": A state with partisanship rating between 47% and 53% in a given election
- "Partisanship": A state's partisanship rating based on its deviation from the national partisan division between the major parties in a given presidential election
Last Year Won by Party
That Lost State in 2012
# of Elections
In a Row
Won by Same Party
|District of Columbia*||(never)||(never)||(never)||13|
* The District of Columbia did not vote in presidential elections until the election of 1964, three years after the ratification of the 23rd amendment. It has voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since 1964.
**In 2008, Nebraska's 2nd congressional district was both a swing district and went to Barack Obama (D). However, the state as a whole has been solidly Republican for 50 years.