More than 66 million votes have been cast in the 2020 presidential election as of Oct. 27, according to University of Florida professor Michael McDonald’s U.S. Elections Project. But not all of those votes have the same weight in determining who wins the presidency.
Analysts determined these rankings by assigning each state a voter power score in presidential races. The score was determined by assigning an initial win probability rating of zero to 100 based on FiveThirtyEight projections of a state’s chances of voting either Democratic or Republican.
States that FiveThirtyEight determined had a 50% chance of breaking for either party earned a win probability rating of 100, while those that always vote reliably earned a zero rating. A state’s win probability score was then multiplied by the number of electors in a state, divided by their population of adults aged 18 and over, and then multiplied by 1 million.
At the top of the list, Alaska had a vote power score of 239.22, while 10th place Montana scored 78.36. Four Southern states – Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Florida – appeared in the top 10.
Here are the 10 states where voters have the most impact, according to WalletHub’s analysis.
Montana is among the most sparsely populated states in the nation, with about 1 million inhabitants occupying 147,000 square miles. Residents last voted for a Democratic nominee in 1992, when Bill Clinton edged out then-President George H.W. Bush (R) and third-party candidate Ross Perot (I), with 38% of the vote.
9. New Hampshire
New Hampshire receives outsize attention every election cycle, as it hosts the first presidential primary contest on election years. The Granite State has 1.3 million residents, and in 2016, President Donald Trump (R) lost the state by fewer than 3,000 votes.
Florida’s 21 million residents are a racially diverse group – the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 26% were Hispanic or Latino in 2019 – and have alternated voting for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates since supporting Clinton in 1996.
Texas is the second-most populous state in the country, with more than 28 million inhabitants as of 2019, according to the Census Bureau. Of those, an estimated 39.7% are Latino. Voters in the Lone Star State have supported Republican presidential candidates in every election cycle since 1980. Native Lyndon Johnson (D) became president in 1963 after the assassination of Democrat John F. Kennedy, on whose ticket Johnson had run for vice president.
6. North Carolina
North Carolinians have backed every Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980, except for a shift in allegiance to Barack Obama (D) in 2008. In 2012 and 2016, however, Republicans carried the state by less than 4 percentage points. The Census Bureau estimated the state’s population at 10.4 million in 2019, of whom some 22% are Black.
The Census Bureau estimated Arizona’s population at 7 million as of 2019, and nearly 32% of residents are estimated to be Latino. Arizonans last supported a Democrat in 1996, when they broke for Clinton. Before then, Harry Truman was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry the state, in 1948. Native son Barry Goldwater was the Republican presidential nominee in 1964, and lost in a landslide to then-President Lyndon Johnson.
Georgia’s population is 10.4 million, and nearly a third of residents are estimated to be Black, according to 2019 Census estimates. The state last supported a Democratic presidential nominee in 1992, and backed Trump by some 200,000 votes in 2016.
Ohio voters have backed the eventual winner of every presidential election since 1964. According to 2019 Census estimates, the state’s population is 11.6 million, and white residents constitute 81.7% of the population – nearly 5 percentage points higher than for the entire United States. Seven U.S. presidents have been born in Ohio.
Iowa’s caucuses typically begin the presidential primary cycle in election years. The Census Bureau estimated the state’s population at 3.1 million in 2019, and 90% of the state’s residents are white. Iowans have voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1992, with the exception of 2000, when Al Gore (D) carried the state.
With an estimated 739,000 residents in 2019, Alaska is among the least populous states in the nation. Native Americans comprise about 15% of the state’s population. The state has supported every Republican presidential nominee since Richard Nixon in 1968. Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) ran for vice president on Republican John McCain’s ticket in 2008, losing to Obama and current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. US News