Around election time, states are usually called “blue” or “red.”
On electoral maps, states are organized by colors to distinguish their voting patterns. Typically, these voting patterns come from trends that have been around for years.
Blue stands for the Democratic Party, so “blue states” support the Democrats. Red is the color of the Republican Party, so “red states” usually vote Republican. “Purple” states have a mix of Democrat and Republican voters. States that aren’t so predictable are called “swing states” since they can swing to either party during an election – this makes them very important for deciding the vote.
States like California, New York, and Massachusetts are considered dark blue states because they almost always vote for Democratic candidates for president.
Swing states are believed to make the biggest difference during a presidential election. Either party has a chance at winning. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are swing states.
Sometimes, when people try to guess how a swing state will go, they’re wrong. The best example of this was the 2016 election. Polls around the nation showed Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump easily. Of course, that’s not how things went.
By the time of the 2024 presidential election, it’s almost a certainty that states that look heavily red or blue today will be toss-ups and up for grabs by the next presidential candidates.