Swing vote

From Academic Kids

Swing vote is a term used to describe a vote that may go to any of a number of candidates in an election. Swing votes are usually sought after in elections, since they can play a big role in who wins and loses.

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Who is a swing voter?

In an election, there are "certain" or "lock" votes--voters that are solidly behind a particular candidate and won't consider changing their minds no matter what the opposition says. On the other hand, swing voters are undecided about how they will vote (sometimes, they're called undecideds or simply undecided voters). In the United States, they might be dissatisfied Republicans or Democrats who are open to vote for other parties, or people who have never had a strong party affiliation. Others might be people who have not voted before, such as voters just reaching voting age. Because the votes of swing voters are "up for grabs", candidates direct much campaign effort toward them, although they must also be concerned with voter turnout among their political base.

The impact of swing voters

Sometimes, swing voters play a huge part in elections. First-time voters and swing voters are usually credited for helping Jesse Ventura win the Minnesota gubernatorial election in 1998. Swing voters who support third-party candidates take potential votes away from the major candidates. Ventura was a third-party candidate, and what was seen as two weak major-party candidates created many more swing voters than usual. The result was a third-party candidate becoming governor.

Examples of swing voters

Major political parties consider non-affiliated voters and independents "swing voters." United States Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor are considered "swing votes" on the court, due to their moderate political leanings. In general, many centrists, liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats are considered "swing voters" since they could vote one way or the other and cannot be counted on for certain to vote with the rest of the members of their party.

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