The huge importance of how states award electoral votes — in one chart

January 16, 2013

As we wrote Tuesday, the impact on the political landscape of changing the way states award their electoral votes should not be underestimated.

In fact, if every state awarded electoral votes by congressional district (like Republicans in some blue and swing states are proposing) Mitt Romney would be the one sworn in as our next president on Sunday, rather than losing by 126 electoral votes.

But the 2012 election isn't the only one where the result would have been drastically different under the congressional district method.

In fact, according to the chart below from the "Fun With Party ID" blog, Richard Nixon would have beaten John F. Kennedy in 1960, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford would have tied the 1976 election, and the electoral vote margin would have shifted by at least 100 votes in six of the last 14 elections.


Brandon Allen, http://partisanid.blogspot.com/

Notice that there have been plenty of times when such a system would have helped Democrats -- specifically in the 1980s.

But we would point out that in every instance in which Democrats would have gained votes from that method, they already got shellacked in the Electoral College. In other words, it's not surprising that they would have gained under a system that would have given them some electoral votes in the many states that they lost.

In all of the close elections, meanwhile, such a change would have helped Republicans -- even well before the GOP's supposedly game-changing round of redistricting ahead of the 2012 election.

It all reinforces the fact that the House map inherently favors the GOP.

And making the presidential election more like a national House election would likely be significantly to the GOP's advantage.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Sean Sullivan · January 16, 2013