We are just days away from November 8th, the midterm elections. As the date of this election comes closer, the discussion around the term swing voter continues to grow. This is because, as it is now a tradition in American politics, these voters are key for the results of the election, and the future of national politics. However, audiences that might not be closely following politics can be confused by the discussion around this concept. Therefore, in this article, we will explore what the term swing voter means, why it matters, and who are the groups that are likely to define the upcoming elections.
The term implies that these are voters that can go to any candidate, but this doesn’t mean that their participation is random. According to Dr. William G. Mayer of Northeastern University, swing voters are voters whose political opinion is not closely tied to any candidate and can be persuaded to change their vote. Mayer argues that these are not apathetic voters. Instead, they just don’t see one candidate as superior to another. They either see them all positively or negatively. In the current political ecosystem, these voters are very important. As the country has become more polarized, and electoral results more closed, they have become the focus of many efforts by electoral campaigns, which aim to persuade this elusive demographic to win. An October 3rd poll by YouGov found that the estimated proportion of voters who don’t know who to vote for is 7.9%, so, just like in recent American elections, swing voters will define the result.
So, it makes sense to wonder who these voters are. According to a poll by The Economist and YouGov, swing voters in this election are a new group of young Americans. 14% of them are Hispanic. 18% are African American. On average, they live in urban areas and tend to be men under 45 years of age. Just like most voters, their main priorities are the economy and inflation, but unlike more partisan voters, just 4% of them consider abortion as their top issue. In addition, 2/3 consider themselves of moderate ideology.
Also, it’s important to highlight that, in this election, the discussion of the Latino vote is changing. Fidel Martinez, the writer of the Latinx Files newsletter, commented in the LA Times that in this electoral cycle there’s been a lot of attention to the complexities of the Latino vote and it is no longer considered a monolith. Latino votes will be key in Nevada and Arizona’s Senate races and, in comparison to previous years, the perception of the Latino vote being a synonym with democratic votes is dissipating. A recent poll by Telemundo and NBC News found that, while 54% of Latinos preferred a Democrat-controlled Congress, 33% would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress, which is more than a 20-point shift in comparison to 2012. Do you still don’t know who to vote for? Are you a swing voter? There are many people like you and, as Election Day comes closer, it’s important that you continue to pay attention to the different candidates so that you can make your own decision because it will have a big impact on national politics.
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