FiveThirtyEight: Alaska could become a 'swing' state in future

"The state where President Obama most improved his performance from 2008 was Alaska. He lost it by “only” 14 percentage points this year, considerably less than his 22-point margin of defeat in 2008.

Part of the reason is that the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was on the Republican ticket in 2008 but was not this year. That probably doesn’t explain all of the shift, however.

Consider that in 2000 — also without Ms. Palin on the ballot — the Democratic nominee, Al Gore, lost Alaska by 31 points.

There are reasons to think that Alaska could continue to become more competitive in the coming years.

One factor is that Alaska’s vote is quite elastic, meaning that it can shift quite a bit from year to year. In 2008, 43 percent of voters in Alaska identified themselves as independents on the exit poll, among the highest percentages in the country."

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FiveThirtyEight: Alaska: Future Swing State? (The New York Times 12/5)