Do national convention cities make a difference in elections?

Republicans are expected to announce today that Tampa will be the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention, beating traditional Republican locales — Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

“Florida remains a perennial swing state where a convention could sway undecided voters,” the Associated Press says.

Really? People choose who will be president based on where a convention is held? History — at least recent history — doesn’t support the conclusion, at least for Republicans.

It’s been 20 years since a state that’s hosted the Republican National Convention went Republican in the November election. Picking a “swing state” over a “solidly friendly” state is a relatively new tradition and it usually doesn’t work. 1980 was the last time it did, when Ronald Reagan won Michigan over Jimmy Carter.

Here’s the list:

2008 St. Paul, MN Democrats
2004 New York, NY Democrats
2000 Philadelphia, PA Democrats
1996 San Diego, CA Democrats
1992 Houston, TX Republicans
1988 New Orleans, LA Republicans
1984 Dallas, TX Republicans
1980 Detroit, MI Republicans
1976 Kansas City, MO. Democrats
1972 Miami, FL. Republicans
1968 Miami, FL. Republicans
1964 San Francisco, CA Democrats
1960 Chicago, IL. Democrats