A state whose electorate votes in roughly equal measure for Republican and Democratic candidates in a statewide election.
(US, idiomatic) Somewhat whimsical synonym for swing state. (In the modern United States) a state that may support the Democratic or Republican Party (purple states, states that vote for Democratic or Republican Party in general, being red states in some given elections and blue states in other given elections).
Origin of purple-state
- On the model of blue state red state
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition