Why are Usually Red or Blue States Now Tossups?

Co-founder of the site Real Clear Politics (RCP), Tom Bevan, appeared on Fox News Channel with Shepherd Smith on Monday to discuss one of the odd quirks of the 2016 election. Specifically, Bevan was there to help viewers understand why it was that this election seemed to be turning normally reliable “red” and “blue” states… purple. Here’s what Bevan had to say:

It is one of the fascinating twists in this race, that you have some of these states that have been reliably Republican or reliably Democratic over the past few cycles
seen as being competitive.

New Hampshire is another one. Missouri, which used to be a bellwether, and had been solidly Republican, we have data there showing that state looking a little bit competitive. It has to do with the way these candidates are dividing the electorate, and also the fact that we have these two candidates who are so unliked by the public that they are dreading making this choice…

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Trump is trailing badly with Hispanics in Arizona and across the country that is certainly affecting him there. And Trump is running well with less-educated white voters in some of these places. And also, it doesn’t get reported well enough: He is winning independents – in Nevada for example he is up by 15 points among independents, and that is contributing to making that state and some of these other states more competitive than they have been in the past…

In the traditional battleground state of Florida, Trump is doing very well in the Northern part of the state; Clinton is doing very well in the Southern part of the state. The battleground is that I-4 corridor, again, and some of the suburbs where Trump has lost ground, particularly among college-educated whites. He’s got to get those votes if he wants to come out on top in Florida and some of these other states…

There is an enthusiasm gap — Republicans are eight percent more excited about voting this time around than they were in 2012, and Democrats are 19 percent less enthusiastic. So you’ve got this dynamic going with this enthusiasm gap. And if this turns out to be a base election, Donald Trump is going to need his base to turn out. That could really prove decisive in some of these states.

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