Winning the popular vote but losing the election

Polls now show Mitt Romney leading the popular vote, but President Obama still has the advantage in the electoral college (see today’s post on that subject).  Which raises the prospect of Romney winning the most votes, but Obama getting re-elected anyway by carrying states with the most electoral votes.  Some experts say there is a 50-50 chance of that happening.  That would be the 5th time in history this has happened–mostly recently, when George W. Bush won his first election–and the first time for an incumbent.  See Romney, Obama could split popular and electoral college vote, polls suggest – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    This country is toast. That a man like Obama could still have a chance of winning after the miserable way he has handled the last 4 years. And especially after the disgusting thing he and his administration did in the Benghazi affair.

    People are just plain ignorant and or stupid.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    This country is toast. That a man like Obama could still have a chance of winning after the miserable way he has handled the last 4 years. And especially after the disgusting thing he and his administration did in the Benghazi affair.

    People are just plain ignorant and or stupid.

  • Booklover

    Yes, Steve, not to mention the stranglehold on religious freedom.

  • Booklover

    Yes, Steve, not to mention the stranglehold on religious freedom.

  • Kirk

    I wonder if there will be a roll reversal, with the Republicans clamoring for the dismantling of the electoral college and the Democrats lauding it as a sacred institution of our republic. That’d be a trip.

  • Kirk

    I wonder if there will be a roll reversal, with the Republicans clamoring for the dismantling of the electoral college and the Democrats lauding it as a sacred institution of our republic. That’d be a trip.

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk@3:

    Yes, probably. That’s how mass politics works.

  • Cincinnatus

    Kirk@3:

    Yes, probably. That’s how mass politics works.

  • SKPeterson

    Kirk and Cin @ 3, 4 – I was thinking the same thing. I also wonder what impact Sandy will have on the election day turnout, and how much will then be determined by the early voters. All sorts of punditocrat chicanery will no doubt ensue.

  • SKPeterson

    Kirk and Cin @ 3, 4 – I was thinking the same thing. I also wonder what impact Sandy will have on the election day turnout, and how much will then be determined by the early voters. All sorts of punditocrat chicanery will no doubt ensue.

  • MarkB

    From the look of the track of Sandy, it might affect states like New York in a significant way for several days. If you have the eastern part of New York terribly affected and since this is the hotbed of the liberals in NY, it might reduce their turn out enough to change the outcome in NY. All of this is just speculation on my part without having in real demographic info or a real understanding of what will happen during and after the storm.

  • MarkB

    From the look of the track of Sandy, it might affect states like New York in a significant way for several days. If you have the eastern part of New York terribly affected and since this is the hotbed of the liberals in NY, it might reduce their turn out enough to change the outcome in NY. All of this is just speculation on my part without having in real demographic info or a real understanding of what will happen during and after the storm.

  • kerner

    MarkB

    Where do the liberals in New Jersey and New Hampshire and Maine live? Especially New hampshire, where a small difference is more likely to mean something.

  • kerner

    MarkB

    Where do the liberals in New Jersey and New Hampshire and Maine live? Especially New hampshire, where a small difference is more likely to mean something.

  • kerner

    Although I heard somewhere that a hurricaine means torrential rains in Eastern Virginia, but it also means a blizzard in the mountainous, Pro-Romney coal country. So Republicans in western VA wil have to get their snow shoes out to vote.

  • kerner

    Although I heard somewhere that a hurricaine means torrential rains in Eastern Virginia, but it also means a blizzard in the mountainous, Pro-Romney coal country. So Republicans in western VA wil have to get their snow shoes out to vote.

  • Cincinnatus

    I really don’t think Sandy is going to influence the outcome at all–not in any definitive sense.

    But as SKPeterson notes, that won’t stop the commentariat from hyperventilating. Heck, we might have two constitutional provisions on the rack after this: the electoral college and the national election day!

  • Cincinnatus

    I really don’t think Sandy is going to influence the outcome at all–not in any definitive sense.

    But as SKPeterson notes, that won’t stop the commentariat from hyperventilating. Heck, we might have two constitutional provisions on the rack after this: the electoral college and the national election day!

  • MarkB

    Kerner @ 7

    I have no idea and stated so beforehand. If you could give me a reasonable idea of what might happen if, I would appreciate it.

  • MarkB

    Kerner @ 7

    I have no idea and stated so beforehand. If you could give me a reasonable idea of what might happen if, I would appreciate it.

  • Abby

    We’re headed this way:

    Twitter followers:
    Barack Obama 21,310,515
    Mitt rRomney 1,582,905

    Lady Gaga 30,627,007
    Justin Bieber 29,382,038
    Katy Perry 28,185,206
    Rihanna 26,393,775
    Britney Spears 21,352,389
    (friendorfollow.com)

    Now we know why Obama appearred on Letterman, Leno, and the View so much.

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2012/10/24/politics-is-not-a-cure-all/?comments#comments

    Anyone know of a new unmanned country to inhabit? :) Do you think eventually they’ll bring back the lions?!

  • Abby

    We’re headed this way:

    Twitter followers:
    Barack Obama 21,310,515
    Mitt rRomney 1,582,905

    Lady Gaga 30,627,007
    Justin Bieber 29,382,038
    Katy Perry 28,185,206
    Rihanna 26,393,775
    Britney Spears 21,352,389
    (friendorfollow.com)

    Now we know why Obama appearred on Letterman, Leno, and the View so much.

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2012/10/24/politics-is-not-a-cure-all/?comments#comments

    Anyone know of a new unmanned country to inhabit? :) Do you think eventually they’ll bring back the lions?!

  • Gregory

    Here’s a nice review of a book that defends the electoral college system (even in cases where the winner of the EV didn’t win the popular vote):

    http://libertylawsite.org/book-review/tempering-faction-with-the-electoral-colleges-reasonable-majorities/

  • Gregory

    Here’s a nice review of a book that defends the electoral college system (even in cases where the winner of the EV didn’t win the popular vote):

    http://libertylawsite.org/book-review/tempering-faction-with-the-electoral-colleges-reasonable-majorities/

  • Norman Teigen

    #1. I would include you in your own category because of your blatant misrepresentation of the President.

  • Norman Teigen

    #1. I would include you in your own category because of your blatant misrepresentation of the President.

  • DonS

    Sandy should not have any significant impact on the election. The storm track is over NJ and PA, then up into western NY into Canada. Any effects VA receives will be tangential to the main storm and they will have days to clean up before next Tuesday. NJ, PA, and NY are not swing states — if PA comes into serious play Romney has already won the election. The only swing state to potentially be impacted sufficiently to affect turnout might be NH, but I don’t really think that the election is going to come down to NH’s 4 electoral votes. Moreover, it is not in the track right now, so should not be devastated.

    As for the notion that there is going to be a split EV/PV this time, forget it. I don’t think it would be remotely possible for a Republican to win the PV and lose the EV in the current demographic status of this country. The Democrat rolls up much bigger popular vote advantages in his safe urban states than the Republican does in his safe rural states. Historically, OH tracks the national election, with a slight R lean, so if Romney wins the PV he is almost certain to win OH, regardless of what the state polls (which are finally starting to turn) are saying, and will certainly win FL, NC, VA, and CO, which trend R more than OH does. If he wins the PV by more than 2, he will also win NH, WI, and NV, and will be competitive in MI, PA, and MN. If he wins by 5, as Gallup is currently showing, and as the Battleground Poll predicted today, then he WILL most likely win MI and PA, and probably MN, in which case he will comfortably exceed 300 EV’s.

  • DonS

    Sandy should not have any significant impact on the election. The storm track is over NJ and PA, then up into western NY into Canada. Any effects VA receives will be tangential to the main storm and they will have days to clean up before next Tuesday. NJ, PA, and NY are not swing states — if PA comes into serious play Romney has already won the election. The only swing state to potentially be impacted sufficiently to affect turnout might be NH, but I don’t really think that the election is going to come down to NH’s 4 electoral votes. Moreover, it is not in the track right now, so should not be devastated.

    As for the notion that there is going to be a split EV/PV this time, forget it. I don’t think it would be remotely possible for a Republican to win the PV and lose the EV in the current demographic status of this country. The Democrat rolls up much bigger popular vote advantages in his safe urban states than the Republican does in his safe rural states. Historically, OH tracks the national election, with a slight R lean, so if Romney wins the PV he is almost certain to win OH, regardless of what the state polls (which are finally starting to turn) are saying, and will certainly win FL, NC, VA, and CO, which trend R more than OH does. If he wins the PV by more than 2, he will also win NH, WI, and NV, and will be competitive in MI, PA, and MN. If he wins by 5, as Gallup is currently showing, and as the Battleground Poll predicted today, then he WILL most likely win MI and PA, and probably MN, in which case he will comfortably exceed 300 EV’s.

  • Abby

    According to Rasmussen today, Romney is up in Ohio 50 to 48 of most likely voters.

  • Abby

    According to Rasmussen today, Romney is up in Ohio 50 to 48 of most likely voters.

  • SKPeterson

    Remember: the true winners of this election are the Canadian people.

  • SKPeterson

    Remember: the true winners of this election are the Canadian people.

  • Joe

    Listening to the weather on the radio the other day, I learned that the national weather service has looked at the impact of weather on voting patterns and determined that Republicans are more likely to vote during significant weather events than Democrats. Significant weather events apparently include thunderstorms. I thought this was interesting but the guy on radio did not really have any working knowledge of anything except the conclusion.

  • Joe

    Listening to the weather on the radio the other day, I learned that the national weather service has looked at the impact of weather on voting patterns and determined that Republicans are more likely to vote during significant weather events than Democrats. Significant weather events apparently include thunderstorms. I thought this was interesting but the guy on radio did not really have any working knowledge of anything except the conclusion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve Martin said (@1):

    People are just plain ignorant and or stupid.

    I’ll believe that you believe that when you say it when your guy wins, too. But I bet you won’t.

    Abby (@11), thanks for your insightful analysis based on Twitter statistics. Are you suggesting that Gary Johnson should be President? Because he has way fewer followers than Romney.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Steve Martin said (@1):

    People are just plain ignorant and or stupid.

    I’ll believe that you believe that when you say it when your guy wins, too. But I bet you won’t.

    Abby (@11), thanks for your insightful analysis based on Twitter statistics. Are you suggesting that Gary Johnson should be President? Because he has way fewer followers than Romney.

  • Abby

    @18: Just shows we are a people of substance and intelligence :)! Actually, I thought of writing in my dog — she would be a great president! She loves everybody and she’s very popular! But alas, she couldn’t get elected, she doesn’t love abortion. She even loves those poor doomed babies.

  • Abby

    @18: Just shows we are a people of substance and intelligence :)! Actually, I thought of writing in my dog — she would be a great president! She loves everybody and she’s very popular! But alas, she couldn’t get elected, she doesn’t love abortion. She even loves those poor doomed babies.

  • kerner

    Abby:

    She is also probably not 35 years old, which is a constitutional disqualifier. :D

  • kerner

    Abby:

    She is also probably not 35 years old, which is a constitutional disqualifier. :D

  • Abby

    @20: In dog years, she is older than 35! But she was born here — I have her birth certificate :)!

  • Abby

    @20: In dog years, she is older than 35! But she was born here — I have her birth certificate :)!

  • Andrew

    we get the government we deserve.

  • Andrew

    we get the government we deserve.

  • Andrew

    My comment comes from a country suffering under the jackboot of a socialist government that seems as familiar with the ungarnished truth as a nigerian scammer, and as responsible with spending as a sailor on shore leave.
    we thought that the prosperity we had under our former government could be taken for granted and were foolish enough to elect probably the biggest collection of incompetents, liars, swindlers and cheats seen in our parliamentary history.

  • Andrew

    My comment comes from a country suffering under the jackboot of a socialist government that seems as familiar with the ungarnished truth as a nigerian scammer, and as responsible with spending as a sailor on shore leave.
    we thought that the prosperity we had under our former government could be taken for granted and were foolish enough to elect probably the biggest collection of incompetents, liars, swindlers and cheats seen in our parliamentary history.

  • kerner

    Andrew:

    So, you’ve relocated to California then?
    :D

  • kerner

    Andrew:

    So, you’ve relocated to California then?
    :D

  • Andrew

    Kerner: apparently there are enough devious socialists to fill several governments. (is it redundant to call them devious socialists?)
    if only we could relocate them to one place to minimise the harm they could do. The UN? North Korea? the Siberian steppes?

  • Andrew

    Kerner: apparently there are enough devious socialists to fill several governments. (is it redundant to call them devious socialists?)
    if only we could relocate them to one place to minimise the harm they could do. The UN? North Korea? the Siberian steppes?

  • Tom Hering

    … we thought that the prosperity we had under our former government could be taken for granted … (@ 23)

    Yes, but delusion was a big part of that period of fake prosperity.

  • Tom Hering

    … we thought that the prosperity we had under our former government could be taken for granted … (@ 23)

    Yes, but delusion was a big part of that period of fake prosperity.

  • Andrew

    in australia we had genuine prosperity. government debt was paid off. we had money in the bank. then labor squandered it and put us in a hole of debt. not as big as the american hole, but big none the less.

  • Andrew

    in australia we had genuine prosperity. government debt was paid off. we had money in the bank. then labor squandered it and put us in a hole of debt. not as big as the american hole, but big none the less.

  • Mr. J

    The GOP is already getting flack for limiting who can and cannot vote, with the suppression of early voting and the voter ID business. Getting rid of the electoral college would essentially do the same thing, since the Electoral college provides a means by which areas with lower population-density may be taken into account. Without it, the coasts would run the elections, hands-down. I can’t imagine the GOP would be that stupid.

  • Mr. J

    The GOP is already getting flack for limiting who can and cannot vote, with the suppression of early voting and the voter ID business. Getting rid of the electoral college would essentially do the same thing, since the Electoral college provides a means by which areas with lower population-density may be taken into account. Without it, the coasts would run the elections, hands-down. I can’t imagine the GOP would be that stupid.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mr. J said (@28):

    I can’t imagine the GOP would be that stupid.

    Oh, you don’t really need to imagine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mr. J said (@28):

    I can’t imagine the GOP would be that stupid.

    Oh, you don’t really need to imagine.


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