Posts Tagged ‘Electoral College’
July 10th, 2012 at 12:20 pm
More on an Electoral College Tie

Troy and I  have been having an interesting discussion of how it is not at all implausible (or, to avoid the double negative, it is definitely plausible) for the presidential election to end in a 269-269 tie, thus throwing the election to the House of Representatives, which only narrowly would be likely to favor Romney. Now comes Eric McPike at Real Clear Politics to lay out a few other scenarios for a tie — in other words, further supporting the theory Troy and I have been touting.

Interestingly, though, two of McPike’s various scenarios would envision one of Nebraska’s Electoral votes to go to Obama again: “But then subtract from the Republican ticket the single electoral vote Obama won in Nebraska due to the anamolous way the Cornhusker State allocates its five electoral votes, and there would be a rare electoral tie that would send the election to the House of Representatives.”

To me, that seems highly unlikely. That vote was surely an anomaly, due to a bizarrely Democratic year. I wonder if anybody has any polling data suggesting that that congressional district would even be close. I doubt it.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that there are so many different ways to reach a tie that it behooves both sides to start dossiers on every House member to figure if any of them might be moved, under certain circumstances, to vote against their party, or to abstain. In the House, the vote is done not by individual member, but by state delegation.  A state like Minnesota, with four Republicans and four Democrats, would presumably vote “present” unless a member didn’t vote for his/her own party’s nominee. By my armchair projections, Romney would probably win the support of about 28 delegations (26 are needed to win) — but several of those delegations would be by one-vote margins, meaning that if my projection is slightly off, or if a Member could be convinced to switch parties or to abstain, the margin would be even smaller.

How could this happen? Well, imagine a 269-269 Electoral College tie, but with Obama building up such large margins in populous states like New York and California that he wins a clear popular-vote margin. Cue the Occupy movement to protest in favor of the House voting to ratify the popular vote rather than by party. Cue the media to overwhelmingly push that same notion. Now look at a few GOP House members who won by only narrow margins, but in districts carried by Obama, where the media message would be that they have a duty to vote with the majority of their constituents. Obviously, all of this could get very dicey indeed.

As it could well get dicey in the other direction if Romney wins the popular vote but the GOP loses more House seats than expected (via lots of people voting just to defeat Obama but then failing to vote in down-ballot races), and Democrats actually find they control a plurality of House delegations (with several tied).

All of which means that both campaigns ought to know darn well what makes each individual Member tick — what motivates each one, what pressures they succumb to. They should start the research now, just in case… because if indeed an Electoral College tie occurs, some Members might be moved to announce their positions quickly, and so both campaigns need to be able to contact all of the possible “swing” votes ASAP.

All of this could make the Bush-Gore fight appear, in retrospect, to have been child’s play.

And that is a very sobering thought.

July 9th, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Playing the Electoral College Game, or, CFIF’s Version of Fantasy Football
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I was intrigued by Quin’s post late last week about the potential for a tie between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the Electoral College — because I had recently run the numbers and come up with the exact same outcome.

Our analyses are very similar, though not exactly the same. Here’s the way I broke it down:

Safe Obama States — California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C. (which, don’t forget, has 3 electoral votes), New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine (all votes — Maine is proportional). Grand total of 196 electoral votes

Safe Romney States — Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska (all votes — Nebraska is proportional as well), Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia. Grand total of 170 Electoral votes.

Toss-Ups I Give to Obama: Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania. Grand total of 73 electoral votes

Toss-Ups I Give to Romney: Nevada, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire. Total of 99 electoral votes.

The end result: 269-269. The same logjam that Quin reported, with each candidate a single vote shy of victory.

A few thoughts on the toss-ups: I give Colorado and New Mexico to Obama because the growing Hispanic demographic in both of those states is bolstering Democrats and diluting those states’ former allegiance to Mountain West libertarianism (Democrats have also done a bang-up job of organizing Colorado). Wisconsin will be close and I can see it flipping, but — unlike a lot of the conservative commentariat — I don’t necessarily believe that the Walker recall election presages a Romney win; Badger State voters may be compartmentalizing more than the pundits give them credit for (something the exit polling seemed to suggest).

I think Obama takes Michigan because Romney’s rather thin biographical attachment to the state won’t be able to trump Obama’s relentless touting of all he did for Detroit with the auto bailout. Virginia stays close, but goes to Obama because the army of government employees now calling D.C.’s Northern Virginia suburbs home gives him the margin of victory. Pennsylvania is always overrated as a swing state. It’s been reliable for Democrats in presidential elections for decades and the fact that it elected a Republican governor and senator in 2010 has no more bearing on the electoral vote than does the election of statewide Democrats in Montana or West Virginia, two states that will still reliably go for Romney.

I think Romney will generally perform well in the Midwest. The combination of the Obama Administration’s poor economic record and its limousine liberalism (neither of which have anything to offer to the sorts of blue-collar voters who are key in the region) may have a catalytic effect on swing voters, giving Romney Indiana (which, unlike 2008, I don’t anticipate being close), Iowa, and Missouri. Ohio promises to be very close, but I think those same factors may give him a slight edge there. The biggest factor Romney needs to guard against in this part of the country is the Obama campaign’s relentless attempts to use his work at Bain to characterize him as an enemy of lunchbucket workers.

Unlike Virginia (where the D.C. suburbs are, in cultural terms, essentially another state), North Carolina still has all the cultural markings of a Southern electorate. Obama squeaked by there last time under the best of circumstances. I doubt he’ll be able to repeat that feat with his record in tow. Nevada shares demographic factors with New Mexico and Colorado (it also boasts a large union presence because of the abundance of service employees in Las Vegas). But there’s a big Mormon contingent in the state that will be characteristically well-organized and may be able to push Romney over the edge.

Finally, Florida and New Hampshire. These two are the toughest. Florida comes down to a gut check on my part. It is, in many respects, the ultimate swing state. Here, the fact that a Republican governor and senator were elected in 2010 is relevant. This one could be incredibly tight, but I’m inclined to give ties to Romney given the unhappiness with Obama’s performance. As for New Hampshire, its libertarian political culture couldn’t be more different from the rest of New England. That, combined with the fact that Romney was the governor of a neighboring state (part of southern New Hampshire is in the Boston media market) and has a home in Wolfeboro are salient. Republicans have been rolling in New Hampshire of late and I can see Romney picking this one up on election day.

July 6th, 2012 at 6:35 pm
The Electoral Map Right Now: Tied Up

This is a surprisingly likely scenario: Give Obama the entire Northeast plus the Rust Belt except for Indiana. Give Romney the entire South, Plains, and inland West except for New Mexico. Give Obama all the Pacific states except for Alaska. Result: a 269-269 Electoral College tie.

The contest would then go to the House, where the House would vote not by member, but state by state. Twenty-six states would be required to win. By my early guestimates, Republicans would be likely to have majorities in between 26 and 28 states, with a few other states with evenly split delegations. This would mean an extremely narrow Romney win, but only after, probably, some major civil unrets led by Occupiers, etcetera.

Now, imagine that Romney does better than I expect with his Rust Belt strategy, and grabs both Ohio and his birth state of Michigan. But imagine that the liberal DC suburbs of Virginia turn out heavily for Obama while Appalachia and the Blue Ridge voters stay home rather than vote for Richie Rich Romney — and that Obama takes that state, plus Colorado, Nevada and Iowa (all of which I originally gave to Romney). Again, the result is 269-269. Again, well within the bounds of possibility.

Which leaves us where? Well, it means that New Hampshire could really be important. If Romney can also pull the Granite State, where he has a vacation home, back to the GOP, it would give him enough breathing room to avoid having the contest go to the House.

Lotsa interesting scenarios, I’d say.

August 8th, 2011 at 1:29 pm
Obama’s Poll Numbers Show a Formula for His Defeat in 2012
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Gallup is out with its new presidential polling numbers today. The results are dismal for President Obama. Only 16 states and the District of Columbia show the Commander-in-Chief with an approval rating over 50 percent.

Of course, we have to insert the normal caveats: we’re still more than a year away from the 2012 presidential election and it’s how Obama runs against his Republican opponent — not how he performs in a vacuum — that will determine his ultimate fate at the polls.

That being said, what’s most interesting about the new polls is their implications for next year’s electoral college. Crunching the numbers, RealClearPolitics’  Tom Bevan finds that the states giving Obama an approval rating of 51 % or higher have a total of 166 electoral votes between them; states at 49 % or lower have a total of 320 (270 are required to win a presidential election).

Digging deeper into the math only makes the picture more dismal for the White House. Bevan calculates that even adding states where Obama’s approval is at 49-50% (Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin, respectively) only gets him to 218 electoral votes — 52 shy of the total needed for victory.

Does this make Obama’s defeat inevitable? Not by a long shot. But it means that the president is in for a very steep climb over the next 15 months. Let the games begin.


November 4th, 2010 at 6:16 pm
Another Encouraging Sign For Conservatives In 2012
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In this week’s Liberty Update commentary “2012 May Be Even Brighter for Conservatives Than 2010,” we note that there are reasons why 2012 might bring even more conservative change than this week’s results regardless of the political climate two years from now.  In the Senate, Democrats must defend 23 seats, many of those in red states like Montana, whereas Republicans need only defend 10 (most of which are in red states like Wyoming, Utah and Texas).  And in the House, post-census redistricting in states that elected Republican governors and legislatures this week may add even more seats to the 60+ they won two days ago.

Here’s another encouraging (and related) factor for conservatives.  The same post-census realignment that will facilitate more conservative wins in the House will also alter the Electoral College, thereby affecting the 2012 presidential race.  How significant that effect will be one cannot yet say, but every point will count if that White House contest is as close as two of the previous three have been.