Purple state

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Purple state is a term which refers to "battleground" or "swing" states in United States Presidential elections.

As many states are dominated by one party or the other (examples are California and New York for the Democrats and Texas for the Republicans), purple states are the ones in which candidates expend disproportionate resources as they are the only ones where a party is not guaranteed virtual success.

Examples of "purple" states include Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.[1] Florida is usually the most important of the battleground states because it has the largest number of electoral votes among swing states (and the third-most of any state), due to the fact George W. Bush won there in the 2000 Presidential Election by a mere 537 votes, and due to the fact Presidential candidates can campaign in the state's mild weather during the otherwise frigid fall season. Ohio is seen as the bellweather state[2] because winning the state is crucial to winning 270 electoral votes.

"Purple" refers to the tradition of classifying states as "Red" or "Blue", responding to an Electoral College vote of Republican and Democratic presidential candidate, respectively.[3]; mixing red and blue in the color pattern yields purple. In this scheme, very close states are colored purple until the final vote tally is finished. In reality, most states are "purple" if viewed on a per-county basis.[4]


Blue in local elections, Red in presidential elections:

Red in local elections, blue in presidential elections:


See also


  1. http://www.wordspy.com/words/purplestate.asp
  2. 270toWin Ohio election history
  3. It should be noted that the use of "red" to denote a relatively conservative party, and blue a relatively liberal one, is the exact opposite of the color scheme used in European countries, where red denotes a left-leaning party and blue a right-leaning one.
  4. Purple states of America - a county by county breakdown of presidential elections since 1960.