8 Questions

Bill Turque on what to expect
on Election Day

Question 2: What if one candidate wins the popular vote and the other wins the Electoral College, or if the Electoral College is tied?

Four men have won the presidency after losing the popular vote, most recently George W. Bush, who lost to Al Gore by 500,000 votes in 2000. The others were John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876) and Benjamin Harrison (1888). Such a split decision can cast a shadow on the legitimacy of a presidency and could make it difficult for Obama or Romney to claim any kind of mandate for the next four years. This year’s tightly contested race also raises multiple possibilities for a 269 to 269 electoral college deadlock. In that case the newly elected House would choose the president, with each state delegation casting one vote. Barring an extraordinary series of upsets, the House is likely to remain in Republican hands, and Romney would easily gain the required simple majority of 26 delegations. The Senate, which picks the vice president, could be a more contentious matter if it stays Democratic as expected. Vice President Biden would be the choice, but there would undoubtedly be pressure on him to step aside, in the interests of giving the new president the chance to have the No. 2 he had intended.