Obama Would Have Won with a District System
Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that split their electoral votes by congressional
district. In fact, for the first time ever, Nebraska's electoral votes were split in 2008, with
McCain getting four and Obama getting one. Many people have asked what would have happened if
every state had followed the Nebraska rules, with the winner of each congressional district getting
one electoral vote and the winner of the state getting two additional ones. Now CQ Politics
has collected the data and done the
The result is that Obama would have beaten
John McCain 301 to 237 rather than gotten the 365-173 margin he achieved in November.
The reason for this discrepancy is that Obama won his (largely urban) districts by bigger margins
than McCain won his. For example, while Obama carried Florida last year, McCain won 15 of the 25 congressional
districts by small amounts while Obama rolled up huge majorities (often more than 60%) in Miami, Orlando,
and other urban districts.
To understand the math, consider a fictitious state with 5.4 million voters, 18 congressional
districts and 20 electoral votes, with about 300,000 voters per congressional district.
To a first approximation, this is Ohio (where 5.7 million people chose 20 electors in November).
Imagine that McCain won the 14 most rural districts by a margin of 52% to 48% (ignoring third
parties here) for a total of 2.184 million votes to Obama's 2.016 million votes.
Now imagine that in the four most
urban districts, centered around Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo, Obama took 2/3 of the total
vote, for a lead of 800,000 to 400,000 there. Statewide, Obama would win the election with 2.816 million votes
to McCain's 2.584 million votes. In a district system, McCain would have gotten 14 electoral votes to
Obama's 4 + 2 = 6 electoral votes. In reality, Obama got 2.933 million votes to McCain's 2.674 million but
all 20 electoral votes.
In a district-based system, McCain would have gained in states with a large
number of rural districts and a small number of urban districts that went very heavily for Obama.
The biggies that would have flipped include Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.
As a final note, state legislators in
Nebraska didn't like the idea of Obama winning one of their electoral votes and plan to switch to a
winner-take-all system for 2012.
DCCC amd NRCC Report February Take
The DCCC and NRCC have
their income and expenditures for January and February 2009.
Here are the numbers.
|| $7 million
|| $4.6 million
|| $2.9 million
|| $15.1 million
|| $3.7 million
|| $2.7 million
|| $1.9 million
|| $6.4 million
For the first time in a long time, the NRCC is in better shape, primarily because the DCCC took
on big loans during the 2008 election to strike while the iron was hot. It worked to the extent
that the Democrats picked up about two dozen House seats, but now they have to pay down the debt.
Still No Decision in Minnesota
The long-running battle for the Senate seat in Minnesota is still going on.
The judges have not yet rendered a decision, but there are more voices being
now saying that the loser should give up. In particular, Norm Coleman has been flirting with the
idea of running for governor, and a long drawn-out appeal would probably saddle him the image of
a sore loser and hurt any future gubernatorial plans. Hopefully, the judges will decide the case
this week or at worst next week.
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