Thursday, November 1, 2012

Romney Wins Popular Vote; Obama Wins Electoral College

Although the national popular vote is now tied, during the last few weeks the polling results available have shown Mitt Romney would win the popular vote by about one percent, or approximately one million votes.  But, state-by-state polls would award the Electoral College majority to President Barack Obama.

As shown in the chart below, Romney would win the popular vote by 1,350,000, but Obama would win the electoral vote with 290, or 20 more than needed.

Hence, twelve years after the disputed and still controversial 2000 election that put Texas Governor George Bush in the White House with 271 electoral votes after Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by 540,000, a U.S. election would be in a similar position.

Of course, the current polls, either national or at the state-by-state level, may not be accurately capturing the voters’ actions (early vote) or intentions (voting Nov. 6) or the popular vote may line up over the next five days with a sufficient number of states to award a unified victory to either Romney or Obama.  But if it doesn’t, it will produce a political crisis with significant short-and long-term impacts, including:
  • Electoral College.  A crisis of legitimacy for the Electoral College, which has little public support.  Liberals don’t support it and conservatives would be unlikely to defend it.
  • Presidency.  A weakened Barack Obama who with barely 50 percent approval going into the election comes out even weaker.
  • Polarization.  An electorate that is polarized on every aspect of its choice for national leaders and approach to top issues; i.e., robust government vs. austere government.
  • Gridlock.  Washington remaining in the gridlock that has characterized much of the last four years, especially on national financial decisions.

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