WASHINGTON, United States, Oct 7 – A dozen or so states are particularly important in the US presidential election states where the race is tight and the outcome could throw the contest one way or the other.
As their campaigns progress, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spend increasing amounts of time in these battlegrounds, all but ignoring the rest of the country.
The United States has an indirect electoral system in which each state is assigned a number of electoral votes depending on the size of their population.
In all but two states, Maine and Nebraska, the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state takes all its electoral votes.
To win on Election Day, a candidate needs to get a majority of at least 270 of the 538 total electoral votes.
A winning strategy requires a candidate to focus time and resources in states where the race is close, rather than in ones where the outcome is not in doubt.
So neither heavily Democratic California, for example, nor Republican dominated Oklahoma are likely to receive as much attention from candidates as the so-called swing states.
In this election cycle, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia are considered prime battlegrounds.
Florida, a diverse and populous state, is one of the biggest prizes with 29 electoral votes up for grabs. Pennsylvania has 20, Ohio 18, North Carolina 15, and Virginia 13.
Experts crunch the numbers daily using different combinations of states that would bring Clinton or Trump to the magic number 270.
Even a small state like Iowa, with six electoral votes, can tip the final result in a close election.
Following is a list of battleground states, with the corresponding number of electoral votes and an average of recent poll numbers, as per RealClearPolitics, in a four-way race that includes the two minor candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
Some states are more important than others, either because of their large number of electoral votes, or because the polling numbers are close, or both.
State Electoral votes Poll numbers (percent)
Florida 29 Clinton 44.8 Trump 42.4
Pennsylvania 20 Clinton 46.8 Trump 40.8
Ohio 18 Trump 43.2 Clinton 40.8
Michigan 16 Clinton 44.3 Trump 37.3
Georgia 16 Trump 45.8 Clinton 41.0
North Carolina 15 Clinton 44.0 Trump 42.7
Virginia 13 Clinton 44 Trump 37
Arizona 11 Trump 42 Clinton 41
Wisconsin 10 Clinton 43 Trump 38
Colorado 9 Clinton 42.5 Trump 39.2
Iowa 6 Trump 42.8 Clinton 37.8
Nevada 6 Clinton 43.2 Trump 41.8
New Hampshire 4 Clinton 43.0 Trump 38.0