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Marginal seat

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Title: Marginal seat  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Swing vote, Proportional representation, Marginal, Legislature, Surgery (politics)
Collection: Elections, Political Science Terms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Marginal seat

A marginal seat or swing seat is a constituency held with a small majority in a legislative election, generally one conducted under a single-winner voting system. In Canada, they may be known as target ridings. The opposite is a safe seat.

These seats only require a small swing to change hands and therefore are typically the focus of most campaign resources. The concentration of money and manpower in areas where they will make the most difference is known as targeting.

Strategies for securing marginal seats

The creation of policy that will benefit a particular seat, at the expense of other taxpayers, is known as pork barreling.[1]

Political parties often face tension between the holders of marginal seats and safe seats. Safe seats tend to be allocated far less discretionary resources—governmental as well as political—from their political party than do marginal seats.

A similar phenomenon happens in United States presidential elections, where the Electoral College system means that candidates must win states rather than votes. Again, resources are concentrated towards the swing states with the smallest majorities.

See also


  1. ^ "Vaile in last-ditch pork barrel". 
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