Bellwether states are ones that reflect the way the country as a whole will vote. In presidential election years, this means the states that will align with the president who is elected. There are certain states that reliably match the nationwide outcome of each year’s presidential elections.
The State of Ohio has historically been a bellwether state and continues to hold that status. Ohio, in fact, hasn't only been a bellwether state once, but three times only failing to correctly predict the Presidential election winner once since 1980 (2020). Ohio also holds the highest bellwether percentage at just under 91%, in addition to being home to more U.S. Presidents than any other state.
The only other state of all the bellwether states to rival Ohio's impressive record is Nevada. Also, like Ohio, this bellwether state has only had one miss since 1980, in 2016, and also owns an identical 90.9% bellwether percentage. And in a state that is the home of the world's gambling capital, that's a percentage you could live with.
Another one of the bellwether states in the same rarified air as Ohio and Nevada, is the bellwether state of New Mexico. With an overall 81.8% bellwether percentage since, New Mexico has also missed correctly calling the election twice in recent history, in 2000 and 2016.
With an overall percentage of 81.8%, Florida is another one of the most reliable bellwether states, and near the top of the list. Only recent stumbles in 1992 and 2020 prevent Florida from an even more impressive bellwether status.
The mountain high state of Colorado is also high on the list of bellwether states. Colorado voters have been able to clearly see and predict the Presidential winner more than 80% of the time, only missing in 1996 and 2016 in the last 43 years.
With a respectable 81% of the time, the state of New Hampshire has been right, and that earns at least some consideration for being on the list of bellwether states. New Hampshire is also proof that bellwethers can come in all sizes.
Rounding out the list of the country's top bellwether states is Pennsylvania. The state of Pennsylvania has been a reliable bellwether state 81% of the time, and would have an even better showing if it wasn't for back-to-back election stumbles in 2000 and 2004. It also seems appropriate to round out the list of the top bellwether states with Pennsylvania, as few states are so deeply rooted in the country's political system as this historic and original member of the Union.