Pollsters have devised hundreds of ways to slice and dice the American electorate. Every election season, there is talk of a new demographic group — from “soccer moms” to “NASCAR dads” — who will supposedly decide the outcome. (“Waitress moms” appear to be this year’s latest addition to the genre.)
These invented groups are often quickly forgotten after the presidential election. But there are indeed a few demographic groups which always tend to play a crucial role in every contest – either because their votes are divided and up for grabs, or because they constitute a key part of one candidate’s base.
Campaigns go out of their way to target these groups through their advertising, their events and speeches, and ultimately their policy positions.
Al Jazeera traveled to four swing states — North Carolina, Florida, Iowa and Colorado — interviewing voters. This interactive combines their voices with current and past polling data to look at some of the key demographic groups in the 2012 election. Click on the tabs above to browse the groups.