Among Findings: Kerry Wins if Popular Vote Margin Closer;
Turnout Gap Soars; Whites Over-Represented in Swing States
FairVote's new report shows that fewer and fewer Americans play a meaningful role in electing the president. The Shrinking Battleground: The 2008 Presidential Elections and Beyond examines the partisanship of each state, gauging how well each party ran relative to the national average. The report shows a trend of hardening and widening partisanship. As a result, the number of truly competitive states shows every sign of shrinking in 2008 and beyond. Key findings of the report include:
A shrinking battleground. In 1960, 24 states with a total of 327 electoral votes were highly competitive. In 2004, only 13 states with 159 electoral votes were similarly competitive.
Partisan consequences. Democrats did relatively better in swing states than the nation as a whole; indeed John Kerry would have won if George Bush's popular margin had been less than 425,000 votes. Democrats are slightly better positioned for 2008 than Republicans.
A voter turnout gap. In swing states, turnout rose by 9%. Elsewhere, it rose only 2%, leaving an overall gap of 10%. The gap between these groupings of states was 17% for young voters.
- Racial disparities. More than 30% of white Americans live in battlegrounds, while only 21% of African Americans and Native Americans, 18% of Latinos, and 14% Asian Americans.
According to FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie, “Our report is powerful evidence that the time has come for a renewal of the movement for direct election of the president.”ï¿½
FairVote is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that studies the impact of electoral rules and systems on turnout, representation and electoral competition. Its chairman is John B. Anderson, former Congressman and presidential candidate.