The crucial swing states in the 2020 US presidential election

It’s less than a year until the next US presidential election.

It’s less than a year until the next US presidential election. At the moment, a number of Democratic hopefuls are battling it out to see who will be given the right to square off against President Donald Trump in November 2020. 

The last election threw up something of a shock, as Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win the White House against the odds. In doing so, he won the electoral votes in six states that previous president Barack Obama had won in 2012. These ‘swing states’, as they’re known, were critical in Trump winning the election and they will be crucial once again for Trump’s chances of re-election in 2020. 

Let’s have a look at these six important states, their voting history, and how they will affect the 2020 election. 


Winning in Florida was a massive achievement for Trump in 2016. The Sunshine State had voted for Obama in 2012 and 2008, and many believed that Clinton was set to follow that trend and win in Florida. But on an election night full of shocks, Trump was victorious in the south-eastern state.

Florida is an important state in the election race as it holds 29 Electoral votes, a significant number when it comes to amassing the 270 needed to win. Early polling in the state between Trump and various potential Democratic candidates is looking pretty even, so it’s likely that Florida will play a crucial role once again in 2020. 


Since the Ronald Reagan presidency, the Republican candidate has won in Iowa on only two occasions – and one of these was Trump in 2016. Like Florida, the state had been seen as a likely Clinton win given that Obama had won fairly comfortably in Iowa in 2012 and 2008. But in the end, Trump won 51% of the vote compared to Clinton’s 42%, landing him six crucial Electoral votes.

Polling at this early stage would suggest that Trump may have the advantage in Iowa yet again in 2020, but with a long way still to go before November, who knows what will happen.


Michigan is another state with a big part to play in 2020, with 16 Electoral votes up for grabs. The 2016 result was oh-so-close, with less than 11,000 votes giving Trump the edge over Clinton. This was one of the most surprising results of the whole election, as Michigan had voted for the Democratic candidate in each of the previous six elections. George H.W. Bush had been the last Republican to win in Michigan, in 1988, so victory in the Great Lakes State was a major coup for Trump. 

It may prove to be a flash in the pan for the president, however, as early polling is showing most of the prospective Democratic candidates to have the edge. 


Ohio is a classic swing state, with results varying greatly since the Franklin D. Roosevelt era. But the nature of Trump’s victory in 2016 was still something of a surprise. He won a healthy 51.31% of the vote, while Clinton won a measly 43.24%, the lowest for a losing Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale in 1984. With 18 Electoral votes to be won, there is always a lot riding on Ohio.

Polling so far in the state shows strong support for Democratic hopefuls Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, so Trump could struggle to hold the Buckeye State in 2020.


Trump became the first Republican candidate to win the Pennsylvania vote since George H.W. Bush, coming out on top in 2016 by less than 50,000 votes in a close-run contest. This secured another 20 Electoral votes, and such a figure will be crucial if he is to win a second term in office.

Polling shows strong support for Biden against Trump, but the president would seem to have the advantage if Warren or Sanders were to get the Democrats’ nod. Whoever it is that faces Trump, Pennsylvania will be a key battle-ground in the 2020 election.


Before 2016, Wisconsin had not voted for a Republican candidate since Reagan, and Obama had won comfortably in 2008 and 2012. But Trump stole the 10 Electoral votes by another very small margin – less than 25,000 votes. Wisconsin is one of 11 examples of states that had voted twice for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, but his wife could not secure the win four years ago. 

The current polls suggest that a Democratic candidate may be the favourite to win back control in Wisconsin, but the same would have been said of Clinton before the last election. The reality is, these swing states are so-called for a reason, and until November 2nd 2020 rolls around, we just won’t know what’s in store in the topsy-turvy world of the US presidential election.

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