Iowa is a weird state. There is only one other state like it in this respect, and that state is Ohio. I mean this as in these states voted for Obama and Trump by relatively wide margins. (Florida doesn't count because its swing status is due to narrow margins of victory.) Obama won both of those twice, and Trump also won both. I am curious about the swing voters. Why does Iowa seem to have such a high concentration of swing voters relative to the rest of the country?

Note: There was a place called Howard County within the state that recorded a 40 point swing towards Trump, much larger than the national effect. This was due to people changing their votes. Nationally, the shift was due to the Democratic vote total staying roughly flat compared to 2012 and the Republican vote total increasing by 3%.

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    They have lots of hoedowns there.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 23:40
  • "Iowa is a weird state." There is lots of strong competition for that title.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 26 at 5:08
  • @ohwilleke ‘a’ weird state isn’t exactly a title.
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 29 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


This isn't my particular field of interest, but this article from MerionWest is worth reading. They put Iowa's current swing-state status down to a diverse ethnic history, an ongoing rise in both urban and suburban populations, and a mix of agricultural and industrial aspects to its economy.


To be accurate, Iowa is a rather centrist state.

They believe in limited-scope but strong and responsive government fiscal policy that does not aggressively impose on personal liberties. This places them as pretty much opposed to both major parties, but in a drastically different way than any other state.

Specifically it is a manner that puts them opposed to each party on different issues and favoring each party on different issues.

Then, there is the fact that they are the first state to use a system other than winner take all for electoral votes and caucus votes.

The fact is that almost every state is fairly evenly split. The bias to one side is usually 0-15 points. Furthermore, about 75% of the population disapproves of both candidates to some degree in any given race, for 50-65% of the people this is to the point of not voting.

In all honesty, neither party has a major lead ANYWHERE in this country despite appearances otherwise. Our system is just rigged to gerrymander out those who aren't in the majority.

Because Iowa's system is a little more fair, they end up with the even split.

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    Re "...neither party has a major lead ANYWHERE...": that interesting claim would be improved if it included a reference.
    – agc
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 6:52
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    The difference in the popular vote for president in 2016 can be accounted for by California alone. Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:58
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    Technically true. But, you have to understand how heavily populated states have more people, it makes sense and this does not violate any mathematical rules. Commented May 14, 2020 at 15:51
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    Drunk Cynic, if the electoral votes were split by actual vote, this would not reflect the same way. The Founding Fathers wanted electoral votes set by district. That his how it was done until the Whig party changed the practice in a power play to try to remove the Federalists by rigging the system to favor exactly two parties. The reverse happened instead and the Whigs were removed. Commented May 15, 2020 at 16:52
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    @RobertWmRuedisueli Idaho does not split its electoral votes. Also, there is nothing particularly fair about Iowa's electoral system compared to any other state.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 26 at 5:00

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