Popular Vote vs. Congressional districting vote

Since the election and with the impending lemur-like plunge over the fiscal cliff looming, the vitriol from either side of me has become rampant. Accusations of the President not willing to concede to “Plan B” and reduced government spending, and the Republican House stonewalling on any attempt to raise taxes.

I started thinking, as have a few other pundits including David Wasserman over at the Cook Political Report, if the election would have turned out differently had all the states awarded their electoral vote a la Maine and Nebraska. (For those of you who do not know, these states award one vote per congressional district, not winner take all based on popular vote.)

After some searching, and data crunching, this is what I’ve come up with. (My sources are listed at the bottom of this article.)

In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would have won.

how would the elections have changed if we used the congressional method

how would the elections have changed if we used the congressional method

And there it is.

Or is it? I suppose the Republicans will call this a victory and prance about saying that while Obama won the popular vote, he isn’t the majority of the nation’s president. But, really, it doesn’t change any other election result. I took this further back, and the next election swung by the ME/NB method was the 1960 election. We end up with a tie in 1976.

Looking at the results post 1988, I wonder what effect gerrymandering had on the results.

Gerrymander2We all know that gerrymandering is “bad”.

We all have heard one side vs. the other lambasting each other for their redistricting at the other party’s expense.

And we’ve all, I hope, stood in amazement at the sheer hypocrisy of the parties.

If the election shifted to the ME/NB method how often would the parties attempt to gerrymander their way to victory?

In California, they’ve attempted to dampen the ill-affects of the gerrymandering game by having a non-partisan standing committee to address the boundaries of the state’s congressional districts. By all accounts, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission works.

Looking at the results above, did gerrymandering affect the outcomes?


Well, okay. Twice.

1960 and 2012.

2012 can be attributed to more people coming out to vote against the incumbant.

1960 election came down to a difference of 0.17% in the popular vote. With numbers this tight, it is fairly obvious that a switch to any different accounting method would change the results.

In the long-run, however, even with the gerrymandering game in play, whether we elect the president via a popular vote-winner-take-all election or the ME/NB method, the results, at least for the past, would be fair and equal.

What the ME/NB would mean for America, is that people may feel that their voice actually matters. For Republicans living in the rural districts of California (eighteen total districts voted Republican), their vote wouldn’t be washed away by the urban centers along the coast. Democrats in Texas (9th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 28th-30th, 33rd-35th districts) can legitimately claim that their vote went to their candidate.

If the end goal of the elections, as trumpeted by the Obama machine, is to get out the vote, then what better way than to have everyone in each district feel that they had their own little part in the election?

I say that America gives this a try. Let’s end the winner take all method where a candidate need only win a quarter of the states to become president.









2 thoughts on “Popular Vote vs. Congressional districting vote

  1. Well written. Too bad that so many people are so terribly indifferent in correcting an outdated system. Like you said this winner takes all is sheer nonsense and does not reflect the will of the people. It could lead to excesses by government officials who might feel emboldened by the sense of power they now wield and feel encouraged to manipulate the system even further…..away from our constitution….. Executive privilege!……. Forget Congress!
    God help us! Pray that clear heads will prevail and that our elected officials in our government will adhere diligently to our constitution and will SERVE the PEOPLE on a bi-partisan basis, and not themselves.

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