A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 24, 2012
Battleground State

A “battleground state” is one of the fifty states of the United States that could support either one of the two political parties, Republican or Democrat. Political candidates for president spend much of their time and money trying to win the support of the battleground states, fighting their political “battles” there. The term “battleground state” has been cited in print since at least 1884.

A battleground state is also called a “swing state” and a “purple state.”


Wikipedia: Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state (also, battleground state or purple state) is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state’s electoral college votes. Such states are targets of both major political parties in presidential elections, since winning these states is the best opportunity for a party to gain electoral votes. Non-swing states are sometimes called safe states, because one candidate has strong enough support that he or she can safely assume that he or she will win the state’s votes.

28 May 1884, Boston (MA) Journal, “The Republican Party,” Supplement, pg. 5, col. 7:
These States called themselves the battle-ground States, and while they were among themselves split and torn between minority candidates, they were all firmly opposed to Seward as Maine, Ohio, Iowa and West Virginia are now opposed to Grant.

24 June 1884, The Constitution (Atlanta, GA), pg. 5, col. 4:
Manifest Destiny Candidate.
From the New York World:
(...)
In 1884 wisdom and expediency point out to the democracy a repetition of the policy of 1876; the nomination of the two reform democratic governors of the two battleground states, Cleveland, of New York, and Headly, of Ohio, as the leaders in the presidential contest.

Chronicling America
5 July 1892, The Sun (New York, NY), pg. 6, col. 3:
Is Illinois Doubtful This Year?
(...)
It appears to many persons, in view of this, that Illinois may be one of the battleground states this year, replacinjg Indiana in this respect, the Western fighting ground of the two parties having moved steadily toward the Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana having been, in the order named, the bitterly contested States.

13 October 1896, Tampa (FL) Daily Tribune, ‘The Labor Vote,” pg. 2, col. 2:
With the farmer vote South and West sure, with the labor vote in the battleground states north of the Ohio, and along the Mississippi fast joining the Demcoratic column, is it not remarkable that a feeling of depression has dissipated the optimistic promises made a week ago by Republican officials.

Google News Archive
2 November 1912, Boston (MA) Evening Transcript, “Who Is to Be Elected?”, pg. 2, col. 4:
These constitute the Republican-Democratic battleground States.

31 October 1920, Tucson (AZ) Citizen, “What Other Editors Are Saying,” pg. 4, col. 5:
NEXT TUESDAY’S TRIUMPH
(Boston Transcript)
(...)
Take the popular polls for president—the so-called straw votes—in what are commonly called “the battleground states” of the union. What do they show?

Google News Archive
4 November 1951, Sunday Star (Wilmington, DE), pg. 3, col. 3:
Assuming the leaders polled know whereof they speak Taft now has an edge of 14 states although in some there are factors which put them among the “battleground” states.

30 June 1952, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), editorial, pg. 12, col. 2:
The Battleground States
(...)
Only 10 per cent of Taft’s convention strength comes from the “battleground” states—those which must be won if the Republicans are to take over the national administration—while 61 per cent of Eisenhower’s convention strength is in these states.

New York (NY) Times
Reagan Given an Edge in ‘Big 9’ Battleground States; Vital, Once Again The Anderson Factor
By HEDRICK SMITH Special to The New York Times
September 14, 1980,
Section , Page 32, Column , words
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13--Nationwide public opinion polls now show the Presidential race a virtual dead heat between President Carter and Ronald Reagan. But in the big battleground states, where Mr. Reagan has been concentrating the ...

OCLC WorldCat record
Inside Politics - In the battleground states of the Midwest, Robert Dole is counting on the successes of the Republican governors to carry the day for him.
Author: Jack W Germond; Jules Witcover
Publisher: Washington, D.C., National Journal Group Inc.
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: National journal. 28, no. 37, (1996): 1972
Database: ArticleFirst

OCLC WorldCat record
Ten Battleground States in Election ‘96
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY WEEKLY REPORT, 54, no. 43, (October 26, 1996): 3060
Database: British Library Serials

OCLC WorldCat record
George W. in Ron’s Footsteps - As Reagan once did, Bush is assiduously courting the votes of blue-collar Catholics in battleground states.
Author: Peter H Stone
Publisher: Washington, D.C., National Journal Group Inc.
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: National journal. 32, no. 44, (2000): 3433
Database: ArticleFirst
Other Databases: British Library Serials

OCLC WorldCat record
Pennsylvania electoral change since 1960 : two-party politics in a battleground state
Author: ReneĢe M Lamis
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Case Western Reserve University, 2006.
Edition/Format:  Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript Archival Material : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Attention, Perception, and Perceived Effects: Negative Political Advertising in a Battleground State of the 2004 Presidential Election
Author: Hong Cheng; Daniel Riffe
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Mass Communication and Society, v11 n2 (20080407): 177-196
Database: CrossRef
Other Databases: British Library Serials; Elsevier

OCLC WorldCat record
The Battleground State : Conceptualizing Geographic Contestation in American Presidential Elections, 1960-2004
Author: Darshan Goux
Publisher: Berkeley, CA, 2010.
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph.D. in Political Science)--University of California, Berkeley, 2010.
Edition/Format:  Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook Computer File : English
Summary: The battleground state is ubiquitous in the discourse and scholarship surrounding American presidential campaigns, but the concept remains poorly understood, measured, and operationalized. The nature of presidential geographic targeting carries potentially significant consequences for the nation’s issue agenda, political institutions, and voter behavior, and this dissertation details the need to re-conceptualize the battleground state as both an explanatory and dependent variable if these consequences are to be better understood. Beginning with the 1960 presidential election, I use an original archival data set collected at the nation’s presidential libraries to confront the myths that exist in both popular coverage and much of the existing political science literature about battleground states, and I work to correct the record. Media content analysis establishes the significant increase in attention paid to battleground strategies over time in the press. A conceptual analysis highlights both the stability and the evolution of the battleground state concept. The archival records reveal the presidential campaigns’ multiple goals, the various geographic strategies adopted to meet those goals, and the elements campaigns use to prioritize geographic areas. The findings challenge many leading assumptions and expose misconceptions made about battleground strategies, and I suggest ways to improve our understanding of the concept. Next, a constitutive analysis using multiplicative interaction models explores the preconditions that guide campaign classification and campaign resource allocation patterns in presidential elections. This analysis demonstrates a fundamental shift in the factors that predict state battleground status and offers more evidence of why it is necessary to more rigorously conceptualize the battleground state. Finally, a causal analysis of the effects of the battleground state on voter evaluations of the candidates reveals the critical link between conceptualization and measurement validity. I demonstrate that different levels of measurement tell us very different stories about the causal processes of campaign effects, and I argue for the increased use of a categorical dummy variable to measure battleground status. Finally, using a block recursive model, I demonstrate that the inclusion of multiple campaign mechanisms and campaign classifications of the states in battleground effects models clarifies the direct effects of different strategies on voter behavior. In presenting these and other findings, I improve our understanding of the battleground state concept and enhance its usefulness as a tool for future research. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Sunday, June 24, 2012 • Permalink