Guest Post: Which States will Decide the US Election?

A guest post by John Stringer:

Some national-wide polls in the US are suggesting a 1% difference between the candidates (Biden v Trump 40.9 v 41.6%). Trump has led Biden by about 0.7% since early March. But, this is a distraction, as the election is determined BY STATE (ie Electoral College votes) which accrue to 270 to get a winner. As at mid-May Trump is at 313 College votes by State polls. In one sense, ‘popularity’ ACROSS AMERICA is electorally irrelevant.

There will be some big poll movers: the verdict in the Trump electoral spending trial (soon); and the two scheduled debates.

But as it sits, Trump is ahead in polling in State poll averages (all polls in those Electoral Colleges by average over time).

State Analysis

There are some key States to watch, the ‘Deciders’ or ‘Flippers’ as they are sometimes called. In the past Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio. But things have changed. A lot!  But first the SAFE States, that went to either candidate by a safe 12+ points (in recent polls).

Safe BIDEN (12%+ lead in averaged State polls)

Screen Shot 2024-05-19 at 7.31.10 PM.png

With Safe TRUMP added in (12%+ lead in averaged State polls).

Screen Shot 2024-05-19 at 7.31.35 PM.png

This puts the Electoral College counter at Biden 191 v Trump 122 with all the blank States still in play.

A number of these blank States historically LEAN TOWARDS a candidate (say with a 6%+ point lead) and these

can be shaded a hue of Red or Blue to intimate a likely winner. So, you could speculatively ‘add’ votes to a candidate.

Once you add in the LEANING States (historically: 6%+ lead) to the SOLIDS (historically 12%+ lead) you are left with only 

10 States in play, offering 180 Electoral College votes. Without the 10 factored in, it looks like 226 Biden v Trump 132.

We might call these the ’Top 10 that will decide the Election’. 

1.FLORIDA  (30 Electoral Votes) no longer a swing state as it has historically been.

2.TEXAS  (40)

3.Pennsylvan (19)

4.OHIO (17)

5.GEORGIA  (16)

6.N. Carolina (16)


8.ARIZONA (11)

9.WISCON. (10)

10.NEVADA (06)

Elect. Votes (180)

But only 7 of these are true ‘battleground States’ in 2024 as 3 of the Top10 have large point leads to one candidate, more like an historic SOLID State as a change this time. So, they can speculatively be coloured Red or Blue based on all av polls.

~Stringer preceded DPF as a parliamentary staffer (Beehive press secretary) and political party professional (Nats) and has served on political boards. He has been involved in campaigns in NZ and the UK and was himself a parliamentary candidate.

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