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| | |-+  What were the battleground states in 1996?
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Author Topic: What were the battleground states in 1996?  (Read 737 times)
JRP1994
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« on: April 17, 2014, 08:55:05 pm »
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1996 was the first Presidential election during my lifetime. What were the main battleground states that Clinton & Dole & Perot seriously contested?
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DarthNader
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 09:58:36 pm »
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Dole, like Mondale in '84, was so far behind that he didn't seem to have a conscious strategy for winning the EC. I know he made a late stab at California, tried to regain parts of the South (Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky) and campaigned in the usual battlegrounds like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Clinton also worked the South (he even did a rally in Alabama), but clearly targeted Florida and Arizona. I don't really remember much of Perot's campaign.
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Clarko95
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 10:06:36 pm »
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Considering what a wild card Perot was in both '92 & '96 plus the realignment dynamics that Clinton's Presidency introduced, I think it would be safe to say almost every state was a swing state at some point in the campaign.

It would be easier to list states that were not swing states: Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kansas, Utah, Idaho, and the Northeast.
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independentTX
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 10:41:50 pm »
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These are the states with the narrowest margins that year:

Kentucky: D+0.96%
Nevada: D+1.02%
Georgia: R+1.17%
Colorado: R+1.37%
Virginia: R+1.96%
Arizona: D+2.22%

Dole lost FL, MO and OH by decent margins, but I'd assume he devoted considerable attention to them since they are such go-to swing states (at least MO was at the time, less so now).

Of the list above, I'd imagine Arizona was more of a surprise upset than a battleground. If anything, Clinton's 96 win there has convinced Democrats that Arizona is their "next pick up" and it never actually is.

I recall reading somewhere that Clinton really badly wanted to win Virginia and North Carolina in both of his campaigns and poured a lot of money into those states, only to lose both of them both times. I think he wanted to be able to say he won a majority of the Southern states.
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ShadowOfTheWave
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 12:54:36 pm »
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Not sure if the candidates had a firm grasp on the swing states in 96. Dole spent money in CT & NJ but had to pull out because of low funds, he also made winning CA his main objective. Clinton also really wanted to win TX even though aides told him it was a lost cause. I think the biggest fight was over FL.
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Skill and Chance
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2014, 11:33:25 pm »
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What's interesting about 1996 is how the Northeast swung so dramatically toward Clinton while most of the rest of the country stayed the same or moved slightly away from him.  I don't think the candidates knew where the battlegrounds would be due to the Perot effect.  That 1992-96 trend map is the best argument that Perot took from Clinton on net in the Northeast.
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Liberalrocks
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2014, 11:34:11 am »
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I remember being in high school at the time and Dole really put in effort into winning California including the GOP convention being in San Diego that year. It was such a clearly futile attempt almost laughable. There also was of course the stage falling incident in Chico Ca I clearly remember that too.
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2014, 07:08:03 pm »
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Considering what a wild card Perot was in both '92 & '96 plus the realignment dynamics that Clinton's Presidency introduced, I think it would be safe to say almost every state was a swing state at some point in the campaign.

It would be easier to list states that were not swing states: Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kansas, Utah, Idaho, and the Northeast.
Tennessee actually turned out to be pretty close.
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2014, 10:53:58 pm »
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TN was called right at the 8pm closing time.  Clinton's two biggest targets (as stated) were FL and AZ.  Read his book My Life.  He was pissed about not winning VA and NC, especially NC, which he thought slipped away in the last week or two with Dole's final push.  Ironically, he never mentioned much about losing GA or CO.

Look at the actual 1996 results and the "Dole Wins" scenario.  There were your additional states he had to have to win the EC.  Other battlegrounds were previously mentioned in this thread.
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2014, 10:55:51 pm »
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Clinton's win in AZ was predictable for a few reasons:

1) The growing Hispanic population
2) Dole had very negative favor-ability ratings there.  He gotten beaten up pretty badly in the primary by his opponents
3) Healthcare
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SJG
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