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Presidential Battleground States: A History


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presidential-battleground-states-a-historyThe Federalist: Presidential Battleground States: A History

A short history of presidential elections, from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama.


SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 By Dan McLaughlin


In the companion essay to this, I reviewed the history of presidential elections that followed the re-election of an incumbent president, with particular attention to “battleground” states, defined as follows:


First, looking prospectively from the prior election, I included every state in which the incumbent won at least 45 percent but less than 60 percent of the two-party vote. Second, looking retrospectively to identify battleground states that didn’t look like battlegrounds four years earlier, I included states outside that range that flipped to or from the incumbent party in the Electoral College. I did not include states that flipped between the challenger party and a third party, unless they met the other criteria, although those were rare.


That essay includes a closer look at the state-by-state breakdown of the 1928 election to show why the shift in the two-party presidential vote against the incumbent party (the Republicans)

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