Friday, September 19, 2008


WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

In this already amazing political year, the fates are potentially aligning for the most amazing event of all: A 269-269 tie in the Electoral College. 538 has the details:

As you may have noticed from our scenario chart, the probability of a tie has increased dramatically in recent days and now stands at 3.2 percent.
However, there is one specific scenario that is driving this outcome. That is the scenario wherein Barack Obama wins the Kerry states plus Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado, but loses New Hampshire. Of the 320 times that our simulation ended in a tie, this particular scenario was responsible 294 times. Indeed, we presently have Obama winning precisely the Kerry states plus Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado, so all that would be needed to make a tie occur is to flip New Hampshire back to McCain, and entirely reasonable possibility.
To remind everyone what happens, from the 12th amendment to the Constitution:
the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote;
So, how would that go? Currently, Dems lead in 26 states, 3 are tied, and the GOP leads in 21 states.

So can we assume Obama will then win? Well, first, remember that it's the incoming House that picks the President. With Democrats looking to increase their majority in the House, this should only move in Obama's favor. (But a true state-by-state analysis is needed. If anyone knows of one, leave it in the comments).

But in a tied EV election, and if McCain has a clear victory in the popular vote, there will be great pressure on some Democratic congressmen in heavy GOP states to switch their votes. Will any succumb?

Let's see.... looking at national or state popular vote totals that mean nothing legally. Politicians with special voting powers being asked to vote the way their state voted, not the way they would want to vote. Sound familiar to anyone?

Update: Good analysis of the House in the comments. But the most interesting thing is about the VP, who is picked by the Senate. That's a slam dunk for Biden. So maybe we'll end up with McCain-Biden? (Or, according to Palin, that should be Biden-McCain!).