Most Americans Aware Of Whether Or Not They Live In Battleground States

September 13, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 9/8/2012) While the presidential election is officially a fifty-state affair, our electoral college system forces presidential campaigns to spend nearly all of their resources and time on the small fraction of states that are not in the bag for either presidential candidate. These "battleground" states enjoy countless candidate visits and huge television buys in their media markets, while all other states mostly get ignored by the campaigns. But do Americans at this stage of the campaign recognize whether they live in a "battleground" state that will see lots of attention from the campaigns or a "blackout" state that will probably get the shaft?

In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, respondents were asked whether they expect their home states to become battlegrounds in the presidential election. And as it turns out, Americans’ views about the competitiveness of their home states lines up fairly closely with what the political experts have been saying. In the graphic below, respondents are classified according to their home states, with "tossup states" being those that nearly all commentators agree are truly up for grabs (these are Colorado, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin) and "leaning states" being those that many commentators think are competitive but seem to be leaning in one of the two candidates’ directions right now (these are Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania). All other states are called "uncompetitive states."

As the chart shows, 77% of respondents from tossup states expect that their states will be battlegrounds in the fall, while 65% of respondents from uncompetitive states expect that their states will not be battlegrounds. Respondents from "leaning states" are a bit less sure. 63% of them think their states will be competitive, but nearly a quarter in these three states just don’t know.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association