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Swing states, also named battleground states or purple states, are US states whose electoral votes are hotly contested between presidential candidates. Varying from one election to another, swing states systematically attract most of the investments, in terms of TV advertising and other resources, from candidates.

Pollsters and experts have identified the following swing states for the 2012 elections. The toss-up states are in dead heat while some others have started to lean left or right as Election Day nears.

Toss-up:

Colorado
Colorado
9 electoral votes

Traditionally Republican (8 of the last 9 elections), the mountainous state of Colorado was won by Barack Obama in 2008. Last polls have Obama 50 – Romney 48.



Florida
Florida
29 electoral votes

While won by Obama in 2008, Florida is now slightly favouring his Republican opponent. The economic downturn and the vast numbers of conservative retirees in the Sunshine state give Romney 50 – Obama 49.



Iowa
Iowa
6 electoral votes

This rural state, where bio-fuels and farm subsidies are hot topics, voted for Obama in 2008. This year, the president keeps an edge, although polls vary. The New York Times’ polls analyst Nate Silver has Obama on 50% against 44% for Romney.



New Hampshire
New Hampshire
4 electoral votes

Democratic in 2008, this state is the only one in the deeply Democratic New England region susceptible to fall in Romney’s pocket. Last polls have Obama 48 – Romney 47.



Ohio
Ohio
18 electoral votes

This year, Ohio has been dubbed the swingiest of swing states. It is this campaign’s most coveted prize and is absolutely crucial in Romney’s plan to reach the magic number of 270. Candidates are sparing no expense. For instance, on November 2, Barack Obama on one side and Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan AND their respective wives on the other side were campaigning in the state. Last polls have Obama 48 – Romney 46.



Virginia
Virginia
13 electoral votes

Once staunchly conservative, the demographics of the state is changing due to a new commuting population that works in Washington DC and lives in Northern Virginia. Latest polls have Obama 49 – Romney 47.



Wisconsin
Wisconsin
10 electoral votes

Home state of the Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, it is not guaranteed that Wisconsin will turn red on November 6. Latest polls have Obama on 49% and Romney behind with 46%.



Democrat-leaning:

These states – Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada and Pennsylvania – are likely to fall in Obama’s pocket but it won’t stop Romney from trying to score electoral votes here and there, like in Romney’s birth state of Michigan.



Republican-leaning:

Arizona (11 electoral votes) and North Carolina (15 electoral votes) have seen efforts from Democrats to win them over but latest polls show them as leaning towards the Republicans, with respectively Obama 43% vs Romney 48% in Arizona and Obama 46% – Romney 50% in North Carolina.


© Etienne Barthomeuf

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