|The 2000 Electoral College Spectrum1|
|1Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum. The darker the color of the cell, the higher the margin was for the winning candidate (Light: < 5%. Medium: 5-10%, Dark: > 10%).|
2The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he won all the states ranked up to that state. If, for example, Gore had won all the states up to and including Florida, he would have gained 292 electoral votes. Gore's numbers are only totaled through the states he would have needed in order to get to 270. In those cases, Bush's number is on the right and Gore's is on the left in italics.
The electoral votes for Washington, DC are included in the first cell at the top left. Conveniently, the district is historically the most Democratic unit within the electoral college which allows FHQ to push it off the spectrum in the interest of keeping the figure to just 50 slots.
3Florida is the state where Bush crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election. That line is referred to as the victory line.
1) Again, the movement of the color lines from cycle to cycle is not as important as the changes in ordering of the states.
2) It is worth mentioning that the 2000 spectrum has the tipping point and partisan line overlapping at Florida. That is a noteworthy change in the dynamic between those two points on the figure. The average space between those two positions on the spectrum from 1984-1996 was 11.5 positions. Now, that is not telling us anything that we did not already know about the 2000 election. The visualization is a function of how close the election was in the electoral college.
3) Also worth noting is the visual change from 1996-2000. The pendulum swings back toward the Republicans, obviously, but everything from 1996 (lines between various categories of states) basically shifts over one column to the left. Both parties locked down (a margin over 10%) at least one column's worth of states.
4) As for the position in 2000 of the most competitive 2012 states, Pennsylvania and Iowa continued to be to the left of the tipping point and Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia to the right. Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio (and Florida) were also to the right of the tipping point, but much more closely aligned in the middle and most competitive column. Overall, the full slate of 2012 swing states were much more tightly clustered around the tipping point. Again, the expectation is that over time this will occur as the elections get closer to 2012.
5) Looking at regions, those border/Appalachian states (Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia) pushed over to the right on the spectrum. All were Republican states in 2000. Unlike 1996, the Pacific states (California, Oregon and Washington) moved away from the Republicans in the ordering. The midwestern states (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin) that had been such a big part of the Clinton coalition in 1996 stayed within the Gore coalition of states in 2000 and their positions on the spectrum were largely static over that time as well.