When the United States approaches a presidential election, the terms “red states” and “blue states” are often used by the media. What is a red state? What is a blue state? If a state is a red state, the voters within that state primarily vote for the Republican Party. If a state is a blue state, its residents mostly vote for the Democratic Party. The term red state is also used to describe a state perceived to have conservative views, while a blue state is understood to have more liberal views.
However, this hasn’t always been the case. During the 1980s, Democrats were associated with the color red, while Republicans were represented by the color blue. It was during the 2000 presidential election when journalist Tim Russert used the terms “red states” and “blue states” based on the colored maps that were used during his televised coverage. Since that time, media outlets have used red for Republican and blue for Democrats as the standard color scheme for their maps.
The measurement of how strongly a United States congressional district or state leans toward the Democratic or Republican Party compared to the nation as a whole is known as the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI). For example, if the national average is 51% Democratic, and the Democratic candidate of a state wins 62% of a two-party share, that state voted 11 percentage points more Democratic than the country, for D+11.
House balance indicates a party’s electoral strength in a state better than basic party identification. It provides a definitive score that shows the strength of a party in an election. House balance takes into account the number of independents in a state. For example, California receives 55 electoral votes and has a house balance of 46D and 7R (53 out of 55).
States with a CVI of at least D+1 that also have Democratic governors and senates as of early 2023 include:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
Is Virginia a blue state?
Virginia is considered a perennial swing state; however, it was considered a blue state in the 2020 presidential election. Virginia has voted Democratic in every election since 2008. Virginia’s governor is a Republican, its Senate is Democratic, and its House balance leans Democratic as well. The state is considered to be the most progressive in the southern U.S. Its CPVI is D+3.
Is Colorado a blue state?
Colorado is a blue state, although it was considered a perennial swing state. In the 2020 presidential election, it was considered a safe blue state, with Joe Biden winning over 55% of the vote, beating Donald Trump by a margin of 13.5%. Colorado has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 2008. Colorado’s governor is Democratic as well. Colorado’s CPVI D+4.
Is Pennsylvania a blue state?
Pennsylvania is considered a battleground or swing state. It is not a blue state or a red state. Pennsylvania’s CPVI is R+2. Its governor is Democratic, its U.S. Senators are Democratic after the 2022 midterm elections, and its U.S. House Representatives are evenly split between the two parties.