UC Davis professor discusses key swing states, voters

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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — The outcome of the presidential race by all accounts hinges on swing states and their electoral college votes. And it is swing voters who will determine the outcome in those states. 

Political pundits agree that there are hard lines dividing supporters of both President Donald Trump and challenger former Vice President Joe Biden. Voters either love them or hate them.

In 2020, the vast majority of Democrats will vote for Biden and most Republicans will vote for Trump. 

There are a fewer number of swing voters this time around, but they are there. And they can be crucial in deciding who will be the next president of the United States. 

“They don’t follow demographic or partisan trends,” said UC Davis assistant professor Christopher Hare. 

Hare, a political science teacher, studies voting models and trends and has served as a political consultant. 

He said swing voters can be the difference in closely contested states with their winner take all electoral votes. 

“Even though it’s a small part of the electorate, it’s a consequential part of the electorate,” Hare told FOX40. “Especially since Democrats and Republicans in so many of these important states cancel each other out.” 

Hare explained that swing voters don’t always vote with their party affiliation or are independent because they are open to persuasion. 

“They’re more responsive to information and outreach by campaigns,” Hare said. “So, they can be swayed one way by a certain event or a campaign and then the next week be swayed by the other.”

And contrary to common thinking, research shows that many don’t look at how a candidate helps them or their family economically or otherwise. 

“Even though pocketbook matters are certainly important, even among these voters, evaluations about how their community is going, how the nation is going,” Hare explained. 

And reading their minds by those measurements is hard. The personality of a candidate, whether they like them or don’t like them, overrides everything else. 

Just enough swing voters who voted for former President Barrack Obama in two elections switched four years ago to elect President Donald Trump. 

Those same voters, who studies show respond to key events, are now confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic in key swing states. 

“You see case counts in Wisconsin that are spiking at exactly the wrong time for Trump and that’s enough to sway these voters,” Hare said. 

Swing voters in other key states may respond totally differently to a different set of events, which adds to the suspense in this election. 

This year there are over a dozen swing states that election analysts will be keeping a close eye on. 

FOX40 will be following the voting results in those states.

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