Research Reports

Not Your Parents' Presidential Elections: The Decline of Swing States, 1960-2008

Posted on June 09, 2011

The number of swing states (generously defined as ones projected to be won by 9% or less in a year in which the major parties candidates split the national popular vote) has dropped sharply since 1988, especially among our nation's largest and smallest states. In 2008, only one of the 13 smallest states and only 4 of the 27 smallest states were swing states. This trend shows no indication of changing, with all trends pointing to wider division. 

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Following the Money: Campaign Donations and Spending in the 2012 Presidential Race

Posted on February 03, 2011
Following the Money: Campaign Donations and Spending in the 2012 Presidential Race

As we’ve shown at FairVote in study after study, the great majority of people and states are ignored during the election for our country’s highest office. But in the 2012 election, every state was invested at least in one way – they all had residents who donated to and financed the two major party candidates’ campaigns. However, when it came down to the stretch run, the candidates did not reciprocate this national effort.  Instead, candidates concentrated their efforts in a small number of states and left the others as net exporters campaign contributions relative to campaign spending. This report takes a state-by-state look at the data.

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Redistricting Reform in the States: June 2010

Posted on February 03, 2011

FairVote's most recent review of redistricting reform in the states in 2009-2010 presents a mix of optimism and frustration for supporters of redistricting in the public interest rather than in the best interest of the political duopoly.

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Understanding the RCV Election Results in District 10

Posted on November 23, 2010

The Board of Supervisors race in District 10 was an unprecedented race in San Francisco’s seven-year history of using ranked choice voting (the first RCV elections took place in 2004). It featured 21 candidates, no incumbent and no obvious front runners.  That resulted in an election in which the winning candidate, Malia Cohen, barely edged out the competition in an exceptionally close race.Given the parameters of this race, RCV functioned smoothly to produce a winner that was preferred by the most voters. It fostered a degree of coalition-building as candidates and voters used the ranked ballots effectively, and unlike other races this race was substantially free of negative, mudslinging attacks as the multi-candidate field focused on seeking the second and third rankings from the supporters of other candidates.

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Spotlighting a Best Practice

Posted on August 11, 2010

FairVote Summer intern Rebecca Guterman interviewed Tim Hwang, Student Member of the Board of Education in Montgomery County, MD, to highlight a practice that helps both the student representative and the rest of the student population gain experience in voting and representative government.

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Redistricting Reform in the States: June 2010

Posted on June 23, 2010

FairVote's most recent review of redistricting reform in the states in 2009-2010 presents a mix of optimism and frustration for supporters of redistricting in the public interest rather than in the best interest of the political duopoly.

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Majority and Plurality in U.S. Gubernatorial Elections

Posted on April 09, 2010

From 1948 to 2009, 90.4 percent of all gubernatorial general elections nationwide were won with greater than 50 percent of the popular vote. None were won with less than 35 percent of all votes cast. Fifteen states elected all of their governors with a majority of votes cast. Among the other states, Maine had the most plurality-elected governors, with 7 of their 19 races in this span.

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