a state of the U.S. in which the Democratic and Republican candidates both have a good chance of winning and that is considered key to the outcome of a presidential election: the swing states of Ohio and Indiana.
- Also called purple state, battleground state .
Battleground state is the oldest of the three terms, and we find examples of its use in its current political sense as early as 1860. The term underscores the grueling fight that can take place between opposing candidates who vie to win votes in a state with roughly equal support for both parties.
Purple state , the newest of the three terms, took on its current meaning in 2000, when political commentators settled on a consistent color scheme for depicting U.S. election maps: blue for a state in which Democrats have a majority; red where Republicans are in the majority; and purple (a blend of the colors blue and red) for a state with a nearly even split in voter allegiance. The term therefore emphasizes the fact that in a closely divided state, the mood and choices of voters may be hard to discern, even as they enter the polling booths on Election Day. A related but slightly different political use of the word purple is based on the observation that most states are politically and ideologically diverse: We live in a purple America and are not as polarized between red and blue as the news media would have us believe.
But the most frequently used term among the three is swing state , which seems to have gained traction during the politically tumultuous 1960s. The term underscores the drama of a close election, whose outcome can remain uncertain until the polls close. Famously close presidential contests (Kennedy–Nixon in 1960; Bush–Gore in 2000) have been determined by how a handful of swing states ultimately voted.
Although all three terms can be used interchangeably, they describe the drama of closely contested elections from distinctly different angles.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use swing state in a sentence
The two lawyers were also involved in lawsuits seeking to overturn election results in swing states, every one of which was either dropped or thrown out of court.Smartmatic files $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox News over election fraud claims | Jeremy Barr, Elahe Izadi | February 4, 2021 | Washington Post
Arizona does not appear to be close to becoming the next Virginia — a swing state that has consistently leaned blue recently after years of GOP dominance.Arizona Republicans’ response to losses in November: Dig in on Trumpism. | Eugene Scott | February 2, 2021 | Washington Post
Data shows that during the election, disinformation was highly targeted locally, with voters in swing states exposed to significantly more online messages about voter intimidation, fraud, ballot glitches, and unrest than voters in other states.Guess which states saw the most election disinformation in 2020 | Tate Ryan-Mosley | December 16, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
His margins of victory were in the thousands or tens of thousands in decisive swing states.Republicans and others offer tips on how to rebut millions of ‘election deniers’ | Robert McCartney | November 23, 2020 | Washington Post
For now, it’s not clear if Georgia is a swing state, a state that swung once or something in between.
Truth is, no one is sure how Cuba will play in the critical swing state of Florida in 2016.
In 2014, it appears, the key to winning in a swing state is to avoid talking about issues and emphasize pig castration.
Ohio is a must-win swing state for Republicans if they are to reclaim the White House.
After all, unlike Guinta, Innis would have been a fresh new face for the GOP in a very purple swing state.The Great Gay Republican Congressional Hope of 2014 Is Dimming | Ben Jacobs | September 12, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
After all, he has been one of the most divisive governors in the country, and serves in a key swing state.