Play armchair pundit with the Electoral College

Regardless of what the polls might indicate, an election comes down to the number of electoral, not popular votes. If you’d like to play along as an armchair pundit, open up the following sites in seperate tabs:

  • CNN’s Electoral College Map changes occasionally “based on several factors, including polling, voting trends and ad spending.” The current map gives Obama 243 electoral votes, far ahead of McCain with 189, but leaves several states too close to call. Nevada (5), Colorado (9), Missouri (11), Michigan (17), Ohio (20), Virgina (13), Vermont (4), and Florida (27).
  • uses computer models culling data from a wide range of polls, weighting them with fancy algorithms so complex they’d make Karl Rove’s brain implode. Right now, it looks bad for Obama – they’re predicting McCain will gain 289 electoral votes vs. 249 for Obama… likely set over the top due to winning Florida’s 27 votes.
  • LA Times Interactive Electoral Vote Map allows viewers to give the electoral votes however they see fit, and provides a tally along the way. My own analysis, using CNN’s map to help fill in the blanks, provides a scenario that, again, shows that just like in 2000 it will all come down to Florida. And considering Florida voted overwhelmingly in support of Bush in 2004, it looks bad for Obama.

As the most populous state, California has the most electoral votes – 55 – which few would argue will go to Barack Obama, so don’t be surprised as both Obama and McCain spend less time here and more in states like Michigan, Ohio, and especially Florida, where winning or losing there will make or break a Presidential bid.


One response to “Play armchair pundit with the Electoral College

  1. The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes– 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


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