According to Tom Murse, a US politics expert, the expression swing state has two different denotations:
1) The most popular use of swing state is to describe one in which the popular vote margin in a presidential race is relatively narrow and fluid, meaning that either a Republican or Democrat could win the state's electoral votes in any given election cycle. and also:
2) Others define swing states, however, as those that could be the tipping point in a presidential election.
- For example, Nate Silver, a widely read political journalist writing on The New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight, defined the term swing state this way: "When I employ the term, I mean a state that could swing the outcome of the election. That is, if the state changed hands, the victor in the Electoral College would change as well."
Ngram shows usage of the expression "swing state" from the '50s.
The earliest example I could find is from the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1953 from which it appears that the term was already in usage:
- Finally I would like to say that we are a swing state. We are a swing state perhaps historically because the Republican and Democratic parties in this state have for some years now begun to build local political clubs in order to perform the...
When, or during which U.S. elections was the expression coined? Which of the two denotations suggested above referred the original meaning of the expression?