Should the same three states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - be able to determine the outcome of every presidential election?
June 27th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Should the same three states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - be able to determine the outcome of every presidential election?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Fresh new polls are out today in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida - states that went for President Obama in 2008 but are expected to be toss-ups in November.

The Quinnipiac polls show Obama leading Mitt Romney by four points in Florida, 45% to 41%, which is within the poll's sampling error. The president is helped out here with strong support from Florida's Latinos.

In Pennsylvania, the president leads Romney by six points, 45% to 39%, his lead bolstered by a strong gender gap. Mr. Obama leads Romney by 12 points among women in Pennsylvania.

And in Ohio, the president is up nine points, 47% to 38%, once again with a big gender gap.

History suggests Obama will almost certainly win a second term if he can keep the lead in all three of these key swing states through Election Day.

In every presidential election since 1960, the winning candidate for president has carried at least two of the three. These three states combined have 67 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.

But the word "battleground" has a special meaning in some cases.

Remember the hanging chads in 2000? The Supreme Court wound up deciding the election because Florida was mired in an antiquated system that kept the vote count there in question for weeks.

And then there's Ohio. Remember the voting machine fiasco in 2004?

You could make an argument that until they learn how to do it, Florida and Ohio shouldn't be allowed to vote in any more presidential elections.

But the fact is, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania hold the keys to the White House – and that's a fact, Jack.

And right now things are looking pretty good for Obama.

Here’s my question to you: Should the same three states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - be able to determine the outcome of every presidential election?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Having been born and raised in Ohio, I'll say yes and no. On one hand, the Electoral College is outdated, and getting rid of it would avoid this whole issue. That said, it does feel nice to know your vote seems to count a little more when you vote in a swing state (although you have to suffer through far more political ads than the rest of the states do for it).

Tyler in Pennsylvania:
As a proud Pennsylvanian and a Democrat, I enjoy it. It makes up for being irrelevant most years in the primaries.

Ed in Texas:
I'm okay with Ohio and Pennsylvania. But ever since the election of 2000, Florida should be on some kind of probation.

Bob in Iowa:
Jack, You forgot about Iowa. They tell us here we're first in the nation. Well, sir, no Sweet Corn for you, and it's early this year.

Bob in Ohio:
Better yet we could find out which key areas in those three states determine the electoral vote outcome and have only them vote for president. Just think of all the aggravation they would save the rest of the country.

Jack, It is the system we have. It is like being married. Not what you dreamed about, but what else can you do?

Tom in Atlanta:
Let's just be thankful it's not California!

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Elections • Florida
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. susan in Ohio

    Speaking as a representative of Ohio, no. But what does that tell you? It tells you that we are bipolar people!!

    June 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  2. Mel - Houston

    I suppose so, if that's what happens. What do you have in mind, Jack; insurection?

    June 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  3. Jim in Denver, CO

    NO! Get rid of the Electoral College and go to a Popular Vote system. The EC has served its purpose and now needs to retire.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  4. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    Having been born and raised in Ohio, I'll say yes and no. On one hand, the electoral college is outdated, and getting rid of it would avoid this whole issue. That said, it does feel nice to know your vote seems to count a little more when you vote in a swing state (although you have to suffer through far more political ads than the rest of the states do for it).

    June 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I lived in Pennsylvania all my life and I guess being catered to for my vote is to my advantage. It is one of the few times an average working man like myself is catered to by the Republicans. After the election the Republicans go back to taking care of the wealthy and forget all about me. But to answer your question no I don't think it is fair because this is the United States of America and every state should have an equal say in who becomes our president.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  6. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    No. We should have a true democracy. No Electoral College. No voter suppression regardless of sex, race, color, or creed. One PERSON one vote, and the person that gets the most votes is elected.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  7. Lydalyn

    Being from Ohio, Ohio's voting voices have seemed to play a part in elections. Could it be more media coverage? Could it be more of Ohio vote than sit on the sidelines? Could it be more of Ohio and the other states mentioned change our minds more than other states in the union? My vote this November is Ron Paul even if I have to write him on the ballot. Neither Obama nor Romney can take our nation to where it needs to be. A strong dollar, less government intervention and more state control programs. Just that will bring more competition for jobs; unions that take care of the employees not their pocket book; money spent on education; safer schools; where children learn and teachers teach the basics; lower student loan rates; improved infrastructure ; green energy; better health care packages by employers even part time workers; keeping our troops to defend our borders and not untrained national guard being used for battles on foreign soil.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  8. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    No. We should have a true democracy. No Electoral College. No voter suppression regardless of sex, race, color, or creed. One PERSON one vote, and the person that gets the most votes is elected with a paper trail.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  9. Bob in Ohio

    Better yet we could find out which key areas in those three states determine the electoral vote outcome and have only them vote for President. Just think of all the aggrevation they would save the rest of the country from.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  10. Tom (Atlanta)

    Let's just be thankful it's not California!

    June 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Doug Ericson

    Some States are going to have the best record as bell-weather States in Presidential Elections in the USA. Eventually the names will change, and some previous bell weather States may have dropped down the list. Its better than if Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire were the bell-weather States. Knowing that either a Democrat or a Republican is going to win is perhaps a more telling bell-weather. Should a candidate from either of those two parties always win the Presidency? And should the candidates from the two major parties be pre-detemined before the Nomination process even begins. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  12. Raghavan ( from Chicago, IL )

    Jack, they shouldn't. The whole election process seems like it's designed to make it easier for the candidates to ignore everyone else, and focus on the so-called "battleground" states. Do you expect to see any ads in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Texas, or Montana? No, only in Ohio. People are being ignored, and I don't like it. Not to mention, sometimes, the person who wins the popular vote, doesn't actually become the President. That's what made Bush win, even though Gore actually won. The person who won the popular vote, should win the election.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  13. james in greenville, nc

    Jack, it is the system we have. It is like being married. Not what you dreamed about but what else can you do?

    June 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  14. Kevin in CA

    No they shouldn't – the top three federal tax revenue producing states should ... and 2 of them are solidly Democratic (California & New York).

    June 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  15. KB and JB central Florida

    If the current administration and it's constant follies are an example of what happens if those 3 states determine the outcome, then I'd say NO, NO, NO. We're aware that "they" say that if you "lose in a certain state – for whatever reason – you won't have a chance. Keep hoping that is a fallacy.
    There should be many other factors involved in determining who becomes president, besides the obvious skills and characteristics needed that are sadly lacking now.
    We live in Florida and apparently (if the last election was any example), then there are too many blind, socialist thinking people migrating into this state (!).

    June 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Richard Hill/Colebrook,NH

    Jack, I don't have a problem with elections being decided by only a few states, as long as everyone gets to participate and there are "no questionable" actions taken by said states to affect either the voter turnout or outcome of the elections. Its looks like Florida's new found religion for "purging the rolls" of people who don't belong may come back to haunt them this November. They just may get a good dose of PBFT-Political Blunt Force Trauma, delivered by the same people that they are attempting to purge from their records.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Gary in San Jose, California

    Yes they should get to determine the outcome as long as they continue to shun one party loyalty. My home state of California should be taken for granted by the Democrats until we show a willingness to consider an alternative. The same is true for the Republican loyal states. Wouldn't an independent be nice?

    June 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Paul Austin Texas

    No one state should be able to determine any national election unless it is by pure popular vote. Our system has a flaw because of the electoral college. That system was started in the early days of our country to make sure the educated people got elected. We should have a popular vote only system the time for such a system is long overdue.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  19. John from Alabama

    Jack: The only reason these 3 states have any decision making power is because of the electoral college. Do away with this outdated institution of the electoral college, and no state would be more important than another on election day. The election should be decided by the electoral college, or the US Supreme Court. National elections should be decided by the people.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  20. jk in MN

    No – It should be popular vote period – so every vote counts scrap the electoral college..

    June 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  21. Bob D Iowa

    Jack you forgot about Iowa, they tell us here we're first in the nation. Well sir no Sweet Corn for you and it's early this year.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  22. Michael Bindner

    They won't. Michigan and Wisconsin are not as much in play as people think. If Virginia and Carolina go for Obama and the kids in South Bend vote for him too, Indiana will as well. Romney could win Ohio and Florida and still lose. Pennsylvania has not been in play for quite some time. The real question is, after the debates, will Romney hold Obama under 400 electoral votes. Given his incompetent campaign handlers, I doubt it. I would be surprised if Obama wins Texas or Ron Paul outflanks Mitt at the convention (which would result in 500 electoral votes for Obama).

    June 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  23. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Sure, as long as they elect the guy I'm voting for.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  24. jeff from florida

    They won't determine the outcome. They are , right now, the most visible.
    What do you want to do, Jack, change the format whenever it looks like certain states are going to "decide" an election?

    June 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  25. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Seems to me the long overdue popular vote should be law. If you win by one vote nationwide, you're president. The current Methuselah mentality of electoral votes is long overdue for the scrap yard. To determine representatives that are elected to Congress is one thing, winner take all state wise for the presidency is antiquated and not representative of the population. That way, those 3 states are less significant.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  26. Phyllis G Williams

    Should the same three states – Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania – be able
    to determine the outcome of every presidential election?

    From Queens, New York – If it is God's Will it will always be, if it is the peoples' will
    they can change it.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  27. bonnie from NJ

    The electoral votes should not be all or nothing, everyone in the state didn't vote for that person. It should be percentage based on the actual voting. Then maybe the Republicans can stop spending so much time on redistricting and concentrate on actually doing something to move the country forward.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  28. Pat, Twin Falls, Idaho

    Absolutely not, but it sure seems that one or two of them is always in the limelight when it comes to countinting votes, voting machines, or just votes in general, I don't know why, but it's stupid. Florida seems like the biggest culprit for vote counting, maybe it's all the off shore uncounted votes, or voting machine problems.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  29. Jonathan

    The Constitution needs to be amended to abolish the Electoral College, in this day and age it's only another form of disenfranchisement. While we're amending things let's put term limits in on Congress (One six year term for both Representatives & Senators) and revise the Presidential term limit to a single six year term with a 10yr moratorium on running for office again for any President, Rep, or Senator. Also how about this Amendment: "The Rights and Privleges of this Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Amendments in their entirety shall be henceforth applicable and enjoyed only by INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS of these United States of America." Corporations are not people, Jack. I know that for a fact because Texas hasn't executed one, yet.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  30. ken, atlantic city, nj

    No, but who cares. The u.s. is bankrupt and the great obama and congress refuse to reduce the 16 trillion dollar federal debt, and the 100 trillion dollar unfunded mandates for medicare, medicaid and social security.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  31. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    I'm glad you brought it up. I think the Broadcast media has played up the importance of these contested states to the point of disenfranchising the rest of the US.. It must be an enormous ego boost to the politicians and residents of these three states to think that they alone have the power to elect our President. A staunch republican friend tells me that because I live in California my vote doesn't even matter, which is BS. to say the least. The focus on FL, OH, and PA is a drag on our election process and I am sick and tired of hearing about these battleground states. Having said all that lets just hope that The Supreme Court never again has a say in the outcome of a presidential election. Everybody please go out and vote in Nov. no matter where you live. By doing so you may in some small way tell the pollsters and pundits to "take a hike" through the rest of the our country.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  32. Pete in Georgia

    Well Jack, perhaps they're a true microcosm of America, voters equally split, 50% producers............50% parasites who live off the producers. Forever divided, forever unjust.
    This is where we are in the good ole U.S.A.
    Ain't it grand.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  33. Gary H. Boyd

    I didn't know that they did Jack. Where'd you come up with that little tidbit? Florida's full of old foggies. Pennsylvania's not far behind and Ohio's loaded with blue collar union types. The election will be decided by Latinos, negroes and those on the public dole. They are the majority these days.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    June 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  34. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Those are the three states that are the reason for doing away with the electoral college. It worked great 150 years ago, but today it kind of means, why should I vote since I don't live in those states?

    June 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  35. calaurore9

    Should they? No. Will they? Yes. The electoral college makes it so. May as well just have the election in the 'swing' states. Massachusetts has never been a factor, obviously.

    Carol in Northampton, Massachusetts

    June 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  36. David of Alexandria VA

    They don;t, Jack. All 50 states determine the outcome. Some are just pretty predictable becuse of their political make-up. These are simply the ones who have the most opinions actuallu in play. Simple math. If you really want to fry a breain cell, consider that the eleciton could be decided by a single voter in a single precint in one of these states. Then wonder if he or she was not eligible to vote because of citizenship. Gee, that would be a dangling chad of Olypian proportions. This stuff can really drive you nuts if you worry about it.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  37. Ed from Texas

    I'm okay with Ohio and Pennsylvania. But ever since the election of 2,000, Florida should be on some kind of probation.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  38. Robert (Alabama)

    Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, huh? I was wondering where all the illegal immigrants went when Arizona and Alabama put their foot down on voter fraud !

    June 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  39. Eric - Houston

    Until and unless a whole bunch of liberals move to a red state or a whole bunch of conservatives move to a blue state, then yes. I certainly have no interest in changing the constitution because we happen to have political parties nor to have to deal with the massive untended consequences of the change, multi-billion dollar campaigns to contest everywhere and possible runoff elections. Ridiculous!

    June 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  40. Emmett M. Smith

    Why not, Jack? It's much better than letting (shudder!) California do it! Emmett Smith,, Mobile, AL

    June 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  41. Ed from California

    Jack...you can't make the Hoopleheads vote with common sense. Since, common sense is extinct!! Or, at least bought off (Super PAC's, Citizen's United....more accurately..."Koch Brothers United".. for themselves) with slick campaign promises of prosperity and riches. Mr. Boehner, "Where are the jobs"???

    June 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  42. Robert (Alabama)

    I was wondering where all the illegal immigrant voters went after Arizona and Alabama implemented state level immigration reform, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  43. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Florida is a huge joke when it comes to elections. Are they still a state? And if so, why?

    June 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  44. Wilhelm in Las Vegas

    this country has needed to get rid of the stupid "Electoral College" and go to just WHO gets the most votes nationally since the turn of the LAST century.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  45. Rich McKinney, Texas

    You wouldn't think so but I guess it has to start and end some place. It seems to me that voters are not really what is getting these people elected. It is the lies and half truths that does it for them. In most cases if a political candidate were to simply be and act like themselves no one would bother to vote for them That makes them have to pretend to be something they are not. In the end the voter will never really get what they voted for because it never existed.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  46. allen in Houston

    These are swing states , but there are other swing states also. Unles they fall into one colum or the other consistantly they will remain a swing state. Swing states are good , intelligent people are able to change their mind.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  47. al pearis

    No they shouldn't, and if the Electoral College was abolished they wouldn't.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  48. Keaton

    I'm not saying it's fair, Jack, but what do you say we do to get around this? I say do away with the Electoral College entirely – as if that's going to happen.

    Kannapolis, North Carolina

    June 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  49. Dave, Orlando, FL

    No. And the best way to ensure that is to eliminate the Electoral College. It has long since out-lived its archaic usefulness. It is subject to manipulation that can result in the will of the people being overturned, as in 2000, even without being aided and abetted by the sinister supreme clowns.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  50. DT - Saint Paul, MN

    I really don't care anymore until I see someone run for office and actually TELL people their plan. "Vote for me if you want jobs" is so tired.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  51. Randy

    No, but this is how the powers that be control the outcome of elections. Why do you think the clowns in Washington on both sides are always harping on "small government"? Every lever of power in this country from media to banks to healthcare is controlled by no more than a handful of the top companies in each industry. Conspiracies are too hard to control when there are too many hands out.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  52. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    This fact won't keep me from voting in November even though we live in Texas, a very RED state. Maybe our system in electing a person to lead the entire country is antiquated? And besides, it was reported yesterday that some goof in Pennsylvania said that now with Voter ID Romney will win. This is the most important election in my long life and hope that we get it right. It's just too bad that we don't have term limits.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  53. Steve from Concord, CA

    No, Jack. There's a reason there's 50 states in the Union because there's 50 states, not just three. Californian votes count too.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  54. Martha Brooks

    Definitely NIOT.A perfect example is the skewed outcome of the 2000 Presidential election. But that's how the Electoral College system is set up. It made sense when first instituted because the population was very small and communication difficult and less than timely. Now with results known almost instantly, Presidents should be chosen like all other elected officials, i.e. by direct vote count.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    June 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  55. Loren, Chicago

    What a specious question. Those three states are bellweather states in that how they vote is consistent with who wins, but it requires the votes of the other 47 states to determine who wins. (Maybe you should have asked whether we should kick those three states out of the Union for picking such lame Presidents.)

    June 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  56. Tyler, South Abington, PA

    As a proud Pennsylvanian, and a Democrat, I enjoy it. It makes up for being irrelevant most years in the primaries.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  57. Thom Richer

    Absolutely not. Time for this is over. Time for primaries is over. Time for private funding is over. Time for the Electoral College deciding is over. Time for Supreme Court picking is over. Time for 2 year campaigns is over.

    However, it is time for limited equal tax funding for each candidate's campaigns. Time for people's majority election of president. Time for limitation of campaigning to 6 months or less. Time for non-party Congress with one elected Representative/Senator from each state regardless of population or tax base. Time for all elected House and Senate members to vote on all bills all the time with no excuses or exceptions. No reason in today's communication era for someone to be exempt/excused from voting for any reason. Vote by phone, letter, email, tweet, proxy or whatever. But voting should be mandatory. Only fair to the people...all the people. Absolutely the time for one election on the first Tuesday of November, only.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    June 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  58. Jeffery, Toledo, Ohio

    The problems in '04 notwithstanding, I've always been proud of the role that my native state has played in past presidential elections–it certainly keeps things interesting. And on the state and local level, Ohio is home to some of the liveliest and healthiest political debate you'll find anywhere, which may be a big factor in the exceptional way our state has rebounded from the Recession–things get done around here. I wouldn't change a thing.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  59. Reggie53

    I feel the elections should be based on majority votes rather than electoral votes. Because New York and California have the most electoral votes, it does put the other states at a disadvantage because they always vote democrat. It should be who received the most votes just like the other Congressional elections.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  60. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    OK, kids. Raise your hands if you still believe this is a democracy. That's what I thought. The SCOTUS and corporate funding picks our leaders, not us poor slobs who think our votes even matter.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  61. I'm a Rose

    It looks like they have been controling it with rigging the voting machines and hiding votes in their car trunks etc.
    If that doesn't work they can take it to the supreme court and they will 5 to 4 it, like they did for Bush. The supreme court are playing dirty rotten politics under Roberts.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  62. Sandstone

    "Find a state beginning with L and you have the answer 'FLOP' Does it matter how much states Flip/Flop if it's just peoplepower once again. Unless you make a real difference in peoples lives, then they have the right to Change whenever they see things going bad. I take it you didn't mention New York state, because you see it as a win for CNN's 'Old Golden Boy' Obama? "

    June 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  63. Renee, Illinois

    The biggest problem is that not enough people understand how the electoral college system works. We don't elect presidents by popular vote, the electors in each state have more power than we do as individual voters. And there have been times when the electors voted against the candidate most people in their state voted for. The electoral college was set up by those in power who essentially believed that the average guy on the street wasn't smart enough to decide who the president should be. At least 4 times in our history this country got a president who lost the popular vote; the last time was Bush in 2000. If the popular vote had won out, we probably would have avoided two unnecessary wars, the waterboarding scandals, AND the economic meltdown. It's long past time we retired the electoral college and established true democracy in this country where 'one person – one vote' actually matters. That would put all the states – Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania included – on equal footing.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  64. Mark, Oklahoma City, OK

    Wait just a minute....wasn't it during the 2000 election where if New Mexico had gone the other way, Al Gore would have been sitting in the White House? That would certainly debunk the theory you just proposed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  65. Larry in Houston

    Should the same three states – Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania – be able to determine the outcome of every presidential election?
    Short Answer : NO

    But that's what you've got – when You have an antiquated system, such as the electoral college, and getting to 270. It was a great thing when it first started, because the states with a small population has Less "electoral votes" than a state with a huge population. To be perfectly honest, since the internet age, Voting should be by the most popular vote, in my opinion. Before wwII, or wwI – In order to get a message from D.C. to the state of washington or california – it took a week to get there – (or more) by pony express – or they telegraphed – (morse code) NOW – you can be in the Florida Keys – and send not only a message & talk in real time to a person in Seattle, but you can send a Video by telephone. In the old days, If you lived in a far away state ( from D.C.) – Your State would not get the same treatment as If you lived in a state close to D.C. – – In other words, if you were living in a close State, congress & the president paid closer attention to the Issues and the people in the closer states, as opposed to a far away state, ( from D.C.) The Electoral College is Old & Antiquated. In every other organization that I know of, they go by "Roberts Rule Of Order" & the Most Popular Vote, to get elected to Any Position.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  66. Karl in Flint, MI

    We are pretty much stuck with this garbage until we get rid of the Electoral College or Florida succeeds and President Rubio annexes Cuba.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  67. Nick from PA

    No, that would make us an oligarchy not a democracy.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  68. Al, Lawrence KS

    NO. And the same 3 billionaires shouldn't either.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  69. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    People should know Ohio's brand newest casino is in Columbus, Ohio. I would not be surprised if we had to go there to vote! Anyway I have always thought of voting as the free lottery, most everyone still loses.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  70. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Those States have influence for a reason and everyone knows the reasons. Texas and New York have the options to sub plant any one of those states but have elected not to. Since presidential elections are in fact based on the electoral colleges and not cookie cutter elections, why bother to ask this question?

    June 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  71. Dale N.M.

    Jack I always thought there were 50 states, why is it that these three states always dictates how the elections turn out, why is that makes me crazy.

    It seems like all the news agencies have blinders on and only see these three states, and they're the only ones they basically talk about, makes me feel like a stepchild because they never talk about my state.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  72. George in PA

    Other comments have covered the options, but I wonder if it makes any difference when we've been getting the choice of voting for Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum for some time now?

    June 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  73. curtis in philadelphia

    Just wait Jack, when global warming really takes off and everyone moves to higher ground, Montana and the Dakota's will finally have a say in an election. Maybe by then there won't be someone named Bush or Clinton rumored to run.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  74. Mike from MD

    No. 3 states does not a national election make. Many have stated the elctoral college should be made obsolete. Perhaps that may be one of greatest breakthroughs in our political system. It would entirely change the political motiviations and stratagies of politicos during elections. We have the technology! We can rebuild him!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  75. Nick

    As long as we remain this polarized, that's just how it's going to be.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  76. Robert

    No they should not. No more than the same 3-5 states should be the ones to determine who the two candidates are as they do now in this idiotic primary system we have.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  77. Peter from Toronto

    It really doesn't matter. Change the system and it will simply be different problems that we navel-gaze about and ask about changing.

    Of course, my concern about these 3 states is that–unsurprisingly–they are the targets of aggressive Republican voter-suppression tactics.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  78. Ray in Knoxville

    That's democracy in action, Jack. Maybe the problem isn't the states themselves, maybe it's the fact that neither party campaigns to its core during general elections. Both parties come to the middle and court the vast voter bloc made up of centrist Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  79. Donaldo in ATL


    Obama is very likely to lose the popular vote but win the Electoral College, which will have Americans up in arms yet again about "one man-one vote".... He will be a Lame Duck...if he could get any lamer.......

    June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  80. Stephanie in Seattle

    No Jack. The electoral system stinks. I live in the liberal high tax and high spend state of Washington. It's out of control and they can't wait to add more taxes. My vote doesn't count in this state. Everyone's vote should count in a democracy.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  81. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    Goes to show you how much I know about the so-called Democracy of the Excited States. An Electoral College is the deciding factor in who becomes President??? I thought this was and equal opportunity voting policy. One person, one vote. So much for the 'people' having a say in it. I'm disappointed 🙁

    June 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  82. mirrorview

    How about a license to vote which requires a course on politics this will weed out alot of people. Another comment those on welfare should be barred. To many people vote based on their wallets those that get gov. money should not get a vote until they pay taxes and I mean pay taxes. Most welfare folks get more back then they put in.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  83. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    It's high time that Alabama, Georgia, and the Mid-Atlantic states have their stake in who is ultimately elected president. Ohio and Florida already showed that single-state decisions can turn crazy. Let's see how a multi-state decision turns out.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  84. Ethan

    They shouldn't be able to determine the presidential outcome since there are other states with higher amounts of electoral votes, and I know North Carolina isn't one of those states but it would be nice to see candidates fight over states like that.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  85. Jon in Tempe, Arizona

    Absolutely not Jack. It is long past due that the United States gets rid of the antiquated electoral college system. All votes should be of equal value regardless of if they come from Arizona, Utah, Massachusetts, DC, Pennsylvania, Ohio or Florida. You at CNN have taken care of the issue that originally led to the formation of the electoral colleage. People are very well informed now with your newscasts as to what is happening in the elections. Abolish the electoral college now!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  86. Bill Lavin

    Eliminate the Electoral College and everyone gets a vote. Won't happen – there wouldn't be any safe states – both parties would have to campaign throughout the entire country.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  87. WDinDallas

    Florida - Romney (done)

    Penn - Romney (Catholic vote gets this one)

    Ohio - Romney (Republican Governor, high Catholic population)

    June 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  88. Sara in North Dakota

    Yes. In fact, candidates should only be allowed to campaign, buy billboards or buy time on TV stations in those 3 states only, and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  89. Steven in Georgia

    Absolutely not! However, these states will continue to be major swing states that decide this election and future elections unless the electoral college is no longer used as the way to elect POTUS.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  90. Joan Bach

    All the States are involved, and from our Democrat friends in our area they speak "nice" if called, however they are staying home or voting against Obama. This will be a landslide against Obama. Americans don't want a Dictator is what we hear almost every day at the water cooler.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  91. drod3

    The polls from Quinnipiac University showed Obama with a razor-thin four point advantage in Florida, 45%-41%. That was within the poll's 2.8% sampling error. In Pennsylvania, Obama's led Romney 45%-39%, and in Ohio, the Democratic incumbent was ahead 47%-38%.

    Obama wins.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  92. Sarah Middleton, OR

    No! its time the whole election process be revamped so that the electoral process is simply by popular vote. My state (Oregon) doesn't even count, the elections are already decided before our polls close.
    And while were at it, lets overhaul the voting system so it is more consistent, and the Republicans will stop trying to jerrymander the districts and assault voter I.D. requirements to their advantage.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  93. J in Jacksonville FL

    No, Jack. States should never decide elections. The voters should. That, however, would require "intelligent election reform" and we all know that that is an oxymoron !

    June 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  94. ronvan

    Dear Jack: I guess it means my vote doesn't matter, so I will just sit back and have another Beam & coke and see ;what the "children" do.

    Van: Columbus, GA.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  95. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Hell yes Jack, who would you recommend? Iowa, Montana and Wyoming. The only thing wrong with Florida is we need to get rid of all the old fat white northern evangelical republicans, they screwed up the north and now they have moved south and want to do the same thing here.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  96. Claire D.

    No one should have this much control over the selection of anything.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  97. Dave

    Party loyalty is misguided and dangerous. Instead of focusing on these three state, we should be looking at the other 47 states and saying, "Pathetic!"

    June 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  98. Stan

    Hey Jack, You've got the list of the big three swing states wrong. The list should be: Ohio, Florida, and Virginia, not Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has been voting Democrat pretty consistently in presidential elections since the 1980s. And in a close election, smaller swing states could play an outsized role as well. These would include Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  99. Roger from Lost Angeles

    No! The system forces the candidates to filter every issue based on how it plays in the swing states. Get rid of the electoral college and suddenly you will see a lot of new issues enter the national debate!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  100. Nancy, Tennessee

    Elections like 2000 where the Supreme Court decided who won, makes you not want to bother about voting anyway.
    Throw out the electoral college and two party system, go with the popular vote and then the people who actually go out and vote will decide who gets the top seat in the country. We might be happier with the results.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  101. Jonathan

    I reject the premise of your question, Jack. It's not that these three states are deciding the election. All 50 states get to vote and all of their electorial votes will be counted. It just so happens that only a few states are not solid red or blue states, and these are the states that tip the election scales. What would you propose – this year Texas, Alabama, and Montana get to decide the election? Seriously, what's the alternative? Also, the reason voting problems have been discovered in Florida and Ohio in past elections is because they are at the center of attention. Such problems would be discovered in any state that has a national focus on its election process.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  102. Connie from Fl.

    Just how do you propose to change it? Well let's see...maybe you could make all the republicans move out of Fl and move in Dems....this is about the dumbest question ever...

    June 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  103. Gigi Oregon

    We should take away the Electoral college and have recounts until the last count gives a winner. States with hanging chads or what ever new "Republican twist" they can develop, would disqualify their states votes in the final round.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  104. Gilbert West

    By the tone of the question one would think that Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania are the only states wherein the electoral college is tallied and that all other states operate under some other system. When Dubya was given the nod back in 2000, everyone, especially the Supreme Court, seemed to think the system worked just fine. Look at the price we've paid ever since!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  105. Jim Charlotte NC

    Time to let the popular vote decide

    June 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  106. Erik in Houston, TX


    All of the states have people voting in the election. It's just that these three large states are more split in party affiliation. It's better that these states decide rather than very small states that already have a disproporionate vote in the Senate. The best thing to do is to drop the anachronistic electoral system and go to a simple popular vote.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  107. Dee in Nebraska

    Big upset this year... this is going to be decided by one eletorial vote.. and that one vote will come from the state of Nebraska ...yeah the state that CNN always puts in the Red catagory, even though we did split and gave Obama one vote. Hope all those CNN Crews have hotel rooms booked in Omaha for the day after the election.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  108. Vick, Orange Park , FL

    Why not Jack we use the small states of Iowa and New Hampshire to determine who we get to vote for in the general elections, if you do not win one of them the media counts you out.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  109. Kathy, San Diego CA

    As long as we have the antiquated electoral college. Good luck getting rid of it.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  110. Tim In Dallas

    The electoral college should be abolished and truly every vote should count by popular vote. I live in Texas and it always goes Republican no matter who runs so my vote never really counts. Theres many people I know that never vote because their vote does not count. I'm sure people in New York feel the same way as it always goes Democrat. If every vote counted then I'm sure people would be more enthused about getting out and voting.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  111. Pete the Indy

    Absolutely NOT! ALL elections should be decided simply by which candidate gets the most votes. And when a state fails to count their votes correctly, they shouldn't get to participate in the next national election.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  112. tom jacksonville fla.

    Every state counts be careful what you wish for I'll? Take obama over the tea party any day.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  113. Lee Williams, Lecanto, Florida

    No Jack they shouldn't but until the Evangalical South votes for the best man for our countries policies Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania will continue to determine our elections.

    Well maybe not this year. If the DOJ can't stop all these states with a republican governor from purging all the old folks, brown folks and poor folks from the voting rolls, anything is possible. I never thought in my lifetime I would live in a country that doesn't want you to vote, unless as the way you vote is no their liking. Like the man said, what they are doing will allow Mitt Romney to win. Shame on these people.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  114. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    We should eliminate the Electorial College. Since the hanging chads in Florida when the Republican-leaning Supreme Court unfairly handed the election to Bush, the vast campaign of the Republican party to supress voter participation by demanding state-produced ID from elderly citizens who have voted for years and the massive amounts of money given to Romney to simply "buy" the election as he bought the Republican nomination process, it is hard to get excited about the few states that may determine the election.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  115. Petro in Los Angeles

    Of course not. In fact, we should do away with the archaic Electoral College, that should solve this problem. It was useful for a young republic when all we had for fast communication was the horse. With modern communications technology, it is much more efficient to conduct presidential elections by a direct vote. Personally, I'd like to see my country implement a voting system based on a purely popular vote when it comes to a national representative such as the president. We need to stop holding onto traditions for nostalgic purposes and start looking forward towards progress and innovation.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  116. Baa Weet

    People are so pissed with the GOP they will vote for anyone but them.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  117. Osilama Abu from Ontario,Canada

    Hey Jack, Hanging Chards will not be tolerated this time.If the Republicans think-voter suppression,the 1% and the right wing Supreme Court Justices partial rulings will make them steal the elections this time,they better be ready for a 99% revolt around the world.This is not year 2000,people are wiser and know the power they possess.
    PA,FL,OH already in Obama"s Care.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  118. Gary Dunlap

    Sounds like you want me to move out of Ohio to make my vote count,maybe I will move to Indiana where it goes (Red) republican 98.9% of the time!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  119. mattbowers787

    Absolutely not, and it goes to show why we either need to move to a popular vote system, or at the very least an electoral college based on proportions. Why should Kansas Democrats and Vermont Republicans have their votes completely invalidated because the rest of their state votes for the other guy? Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania are important because of the way our current electoral system works–but Vermont and Kansas are important too. It's not really democracy when you're marginalizing 47 states to win a small block of fickle voters in the last 3.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  120. John NY

    The founding fathers were brilliant men however we know they were elitist. They allowed the vote only for white male property owners. They established the electoral college to prevent the populace from electing
    some idiot to the White House. Recent history shows that this was such a good idea

    June 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  121. GunnerGA

    The question is ignorant. First, the only poll that matters in on election day. Second, how a candidate gets to 270 will involve numerous states – not just three. And Third, after the election, EVERY state with an electoral vote number greater than the margin of victory could make the claim that their state won the election. If the states that are currently within the margin or error were all that mattered, campaigns would not waste their time and money in any other state simply taking for granted where they will end up. And that, Jack, is what we call stinkin' thinkin'!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  122. ST, Madison, WI

    They don't. Too often meaning is assigned to arbitrary coincidences like this one. (Reminds me of NFL football.) Regardless of who won the last 12 elections, some pattern similar to this would have come up.

    All it means is the 3 states have been swing states through several decades. True – but it's no reason to pay special attention to them in the upcoming election, at the expense of other swing states.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  123. John from Oregon

    No Jack, Grover Norquist and Carl Rove should just crown the new king. Campaign finance reform would be the remedy for this ludicrous polarization. The office goes to the highest bidder...the one who repeats the same lies often enough to get the sheep to swallow them. Maybe we should only let new citizens vote since they have to study civics and know something about the constitution to pass the test. Uninformed citizens will be our ultimate downfall. I am tired of people talking trash about how they feel that their liberty is in jeopardy because of the 'unconstitutionality' of certain political positions...these are usually people who have never read the document and rely on 'pundits' for their information.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  124. c. bryan

    Writing from California. California is certain; Texas and Arizona are certain, maybe Montana. Better minds than mine insist on keeping the Ohio and Vermont and Podunk primary selections as though they are important. And the argument for the Electoral College once made sense to me; now, not so much. Now I want a popular vote. Now this Californian (in Orange County, by the way) would enjoy the certainty my President be selected not by a few lard-butts in the corn belt – a FEW – but from allllllllll voting Americans. I work the elections; I'm fair to every voter who present special issues on election day. They may vote provisionally but they leave knowing they have a voice. From California, Mr. Cafferty, I know these important matters are decided by a sea of TV ads swaying the lethargic uninformed. I hate that. The only, only consolation is knowing other countries are still in envy of US – for the most part. They have lard-butts too, thank god.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  125. cliff

    a little slow on the Draw Caffy. Everyone has known since the beginning they would. Interesting trends though, Both Ohio and Florida are trending back to Obama in recent polls and Obama's lead against Romney in the polls seems a steady 3 percent. And with the Supreme Court taking a partisan stand tomorrow, you might as well book another 4 years for Obama. Especially if Romney takes the Senator from Ohio, the former member to Bush's finance committee. Yeah America really wants to return to 08 and 750 jobs a month lost. Just like we want to all shoot ourselves in the feet for fun.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  126. Matt, Wayne County PA

    No! Get rid of the electoral college and move to a simple popular vote...and while we're at it, let's get really crazy and move election day to Saturday!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  127. Alex in Wisconsin

    It's certainly not fair to the rest of the country but the point will soon be moot since Republicans are pushing voter suppression in those very states.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  128. Chris

    Pennsylvania has gone democratic every election since 1992. I don't think it's as much of a battleground as you are making it.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |