Bloomberg by the Numbers: 11, 12, 20

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange looks over a newspaper on Nov. 3, 2004, the day after Election Day.

That’s how many states backed the White House winner by fewer than five percentage points in the past three presidential elections that also were decided by fewer than five percentage points.

In 2004, when President George W. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry by 2.5 points, 11 states gave the victor a winning margin of victory of fewer than five points.

In 2000, when Bush won an Electoral College majority despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore by five-tenths of one point, 12 states were decided by fewer than five points.

In 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter unseated President Gerald Ford by about two points, 20 states sided with the winner by fewer than five points. Those states included California, New York and Illinois, which are today safely Democratic, and Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi, which are strongly Republican.

Nine states were decided by fewer than five points in both 2000 and 2004. They are Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Nov. 6 election between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney probably will be decided by fewer than five points, polls suggest. In how many states do you think the winner and loser will be separated by fewer than five points?

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