The 2020 US presidential race was one of the most hotly contested and contentious in recent American history. While the election produced the greatest turnout in American history and the highest percentage turnout in 60 years, the election still came down to a handful of swing states that ultimately decided the election. In their third edition of Presidential Swing States, Rafael Jacob and David Schultz examine the 2020 presidential election, keying in on the few critical states that actually decided the election and why. With cases studies written by prominent political scientists who are experts on these swing states, Presidential Swing States also explains why some states were swing states but no longer are, why some continue to be swing states, and what states beyond 2020 may be the future swing states that decide the presidency.
The book contains in-depth case studies of the swing-states and swing-counties that decide presidential elections in the United States. Students in classes on American Politics and Government, Parties, Campaigns and Elections, State Politics, and the Presidency will all be well-served by the analyses in this volume, as will journalists reporting on presidential elections, and the general public.
David Schultz is a Hamline University distinguished professor of political science.
Rafael Jacob is a fellow at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair’s Center for U.S. Studies and instructor in the political science department at Concordia University.
Introduction by David Schultz and Rafael Jacob
Part I: The “Classic” Swing States
Chapter 1: Florida: Center of Presidential Attention, But for How Long? by Sean D. Foreman
Chapter 2: Battleground Nevada Holds Steady in 2020 by David F. Damore, Elizabeth Maltby, and Rebecca D. Gill
Chapter 3: Set in Granite: New Hampshire as a Presidential Bellwether by Dante J. Scala
Chapter 4: Reliably Purple: The 2020 Presidential Election in North Carolina by Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts
Chapter 5: Pennsylvania: A Bellwether Like No Other by Christopher Borick and Rafael Jacob
Chapter 6: From Blue to Red and Back Again: The Future of Wisconsin Politics in the Aftermath of the 2020 Presidential Election by Neil Kraus and Aaron C. Weinschenk
Part II: The “On the Bubble” Swing States
Chapter 7: Iowa: Islands in the Stream by Donna R. Hoffman and Christopher W. Larimer
Chapter 8: A State Divided: Maine and Its Continued Electoral Vote Split by James P. Melcher and Amy Fried
Chapter 9: Minnesota: “The One That Got Away” by David Schultz
Chapter 10: Ohio Swings Toward the GOP by Nathaniel Swigger
Chapter 11: Michigan: Joe Biden Wins the Turnout Battle by David A. Dulio and John S. Klemanski
Part III: The “Emerging” Swing States
Chapter 12 Arizona: The Turning Tide of Change by Kate Kenski
Chapter 13 Georgia: The Rebirth of Two-Party Competition in a Growing Deep South State by Karen L. Owen
Chapter 14: Nebraska: District Two Swinging Blue by Kyle Hull
Chapter 15: Politics Now is All about the Purple Battlegrounds by Scott McLean
The Electoral College is what counts. No book makes the point more fully or persuasively than does Presidential Swing States. This marvelous book is a must read for students of American politics and for journalists, activists, and consultants engaged in presidential politics. Actually, it’s a must read for anyone concerned about the state of our democracy.
Who wins today’s presidential elections depends on a few states where small numbers of voters tip the outcomes. Schultz and Jacob deliver an invaluable, entertaining, and updated guide to the decisive swing states that are selecting our presidents.
Modern presidential elections are decided in a relatively small number of swing states. After the 2016 and 2020 elections, this is clearer than ever. The new edition of Schultz and Jacob’s Presidential Swing States provides an invaluable guide to presidential elections in the current era. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what to expect in the 2024 presidential election.