A complete list of every Swing State since the year 2000. Swing states (also known as purple states) are states where no particular candidate has a noticeable advantage. The state could swing red, or it could swing blue. These states and their polls become the focus during presidential elections as their electoral votes are often the deciding factor as to which candidate wins the election. The opposite of a swing state is a "safe state", where a political party has overwhelming support. Swing states are made possible by the Electoral College and the "winner take all" system used by most states, where the candidate with the state's highest popular vote receives all of that state's electoral votes. Criticism and desired reform have been expressed regarding the "winner take all" system.