Two-thirds of Presidential Campaign Is in Just 6 States

Two-thirds (273 of 399) of the general-election campaign events in the 2016 presidential race were in just 6 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan).   

94% of the 2016 events (375 of the 399) were in 12 states (the 11 states identified earlier in the year as "battleground" states by Politico and The Hill and Arizona).  This fact validates the statement by former presidential candidate and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin on September 2, 2015, that “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president.  Twelve states are.” 

 

In addition to the 12 states that received 10 or more campaign events, 14 additional states received scattered attention (1, 2, or 3 events).   Eleven of these states (Georgia, Missouri, California, Washington, Texas, Mississippi, Minnesota, Indiana, Utah, New Mexico, and Connecticut) received a total of 22 Republican visits, but no Democratic visits.  Two of these states (Maine and Nebraska) were visited because those states award some of their electoral votes by congressional district.    One of these states (Illinois) received a Democratic campaign event at a large park located across the river from Davenport, Iowa (the prominent media market and population center in the area and the likely motivation for the event in Illinois). 

The map above and chart below show all the post-convention campaign events by the major-party presidential and vice-presidential nominees (Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton, and Tim Kaine).  The count of Republican campaign events started on Friday July 22, 2016 (the day after the end of the party's convention), and the count of Democratic campaign events started on Friday July 29 (the day after the end of the party's convention).  The count ended on Monday November 7, 2016 (the day before Election Day).  

The data on which this map is based was compiled by FairVote.  “Campaign events” are defined here as public events in which a candidate is soliciting the state’s voters (e.g., rallies, speeches, fairs, town hall meetings). This count of "campaign events" does not include visits to a state for the sole purpose of conducting a private fund-raising event, participating in a presidential debate or media interview in a studio, giving a speech to an organization’s national convention, attending a non-campaign event (e.g., the Al Smith Dinner in New York City), visiting the campaign's own offices in a state, or attending a private meeting.

State Total D events R events Electoral votes Population 2010
Florida 71 36 35 29 18,900,773
North Carolina 55 24 31 15 9,565,781
Pennsylvania 54 26 28 20 12,734,905
Ohio 48 18 30 18 11,568,495
Virginia 23 5 18 13 8,037,736
Michigan 22 8 14 16 9,911,626
Iowa 21 7 14 6 3,053,787
New Hampshire 21 6 15 4 1,321,445
Colorado 19 3 16 9 5,044,930
Nevada 17 8 9 6 2,709,432
Wisconsin 14 5 9 10 5,698,230
Arizona 10 3 7 11 6,412,700
Georgia 3   3 16 9,727,566
Maine  3   3 4 1,333,074
New Mexico 3   3 5 2,067,273
Indiana 2   2 11 6,501,582
Minnesota 2   2 10 5,314,879
Missouri 2   2 10 6,011,478
Nebraska 2 1 1 5 1,831,825
California 1   1 55 37,341,989
Connecticut 1   1 7 3,581,628
Illinois 1 1   20 12,864,380
Mississippi 1   1 6 2,978,240
Texas 1   1 38 25,268,418
Utah 1   1 6 2,770,765
Washington 1   1 12 6,753,369
Alabama 0     9 4,802,982
Alaska 0     3 721,523
Arkansas 0     6 2,926,229
Delaware 0     3 900,877
District of Columbia 0     3 601,723
Hawaii 0     4 1,366,862
Idaho 0     4 1,573,499
Kansas 0     6 2,863,813
Kentucky 0     8 4,350,606
Louisiana 0     8 4,553,962
Maryland 0     10 5,789,929
Massachusetts 0     11 6,559,644
Montana 0     3 994,416
New Jersey 0     14 8,807,501
New York 0     29 19,421,055
North Dakota 0     3 675,905
Oklahoma 0     7 3,764,882
Oregon 0     7 3,848,606
Rhode Island 0     4 1,055,247
South Carolina 0     9 4,645,975
South Dakota 0     3 819,761
Tennessee 0     11 6,375,431
Vermont 0     3 630,337
West Virginia 0     5 1,859,815
Wyoming 0     3 568,300
Total 399 151 248 538 309,785,186