New Study Says Future Presidential Elections Are More Likely to Result in a Split Between Popular Vote Winner and Electoral College Winner

Data scientists Vinad Bakthavachalam and Jake Fuentes have published this study of the electoral college. They estimate that in future U.S. presidential elections in which the popular vote margin between the two leading candidates will be 3% or less, there will be a 30% chance that the electoral college winner will be a different individual than the national popular vote winner. Thanks to Justin Levitt for the link.


New Study Says Future Presidential Elections Are More Likely to Result in a Split Between Popular Vote Winner and Electoral College Winner — 13 Comments

  1. How many of the same marginal E.C. States/CD districts in the last 10 Prez elections — 40 years — ie 10 closest areas ???

    Result — deluge of zillions of repetitive TV (and new internet) attack ads in such areas.

  2. The study says: “For simplicity’s sake, we ignore third-party candidates” So, even though the third party candidates are increasingly covering the spread between the Republicans and the Democrats, let’s just pretend that they have no impact on the outcome. The unspoken implication is clear: those pesky third party candidates are muddying the water, and need to be marginalized.

  3. I didn’t like Hillary. I didn’t like her policies, her presumption of votes from progressives, and frankly just her as a person. 10 months in, I still think it’s better in the long run that Trump is in the White House over Hillary for a multitude of reasons. However, I still cannot abide the Electoral College.

    As far as I’m concerned, all elections should come down to who has the most votes, period. In fact, I’ve rolled myself back on supporting IRV completely because I don’t believe a candidate should ever have to get a majority, just a plurality. What we need first and foremost is equal ballot access for all candidates without needing to wrangle your way onto the ballot if you’re a third-party and independent. I suppose this is besides the point, except to show my feelings can and have evolved.

    With that in mind, can a pro-Electoral College person explain to me why we should have one at all? It seems to me that the most inherently fair way to hold presidential elections is to let the candidate who gets the most votes nationwide win, period. If we change from the electoral college to just having the majority of people deciding who wins, what would have to change that would make this move a folly? I’m not asking this in a snarky way, I’m asking honestly. What is wrong with “one person, one vote” and that being the end of it when it comes to presidential elections in the U.S.?

    I don’t know much about the issue aside from my guy reaction that it’s absurd to have any system besides “let the person who gets the most votes win”, which is why I’m asking in good faith. What would it hurt to go to an actual democratic system, the system we tend to use in almost every other election in the country (minus the states that require a majority to win)?

  4. The E.C. was just one more EVIL compromise in the top secret 1787 Fed Convention

    — due to the EVIL conspiracy of the small States and the slave States —

    minimum of 1 USA Rep per State, slave = 3/5 person for getting USA Reps, 2 USA Senators per State (appointed by the gerrymander hacks in the State legislatures), State EC votes = Number of USA Reps + 2 — ALL EVIL — ALL the time —

    — i.e. NOOOOO uniform definition of Voter in USA elections.

    One result of the EVIL — the 750,000 DEAD on both sides in Civil WAR I in 1861-1865 —
    after all the 1787 Fed Convention hacks had passed on.

  5. James Mahoney said: “I don’t believe a candidate should ever have to get a majority, just a plurality.” So. you’re okay with the fact that Bill Clinton got elected with 43% in 1992, 3% less than Trump. I am not. I favor adopting NPV with a majority requirement. That will motivate states to adopt IRV and make it more likely that a Presidential candidate gets a majority, after transfers, which is always preferable, IMO. Otherwise, we should go to the French system of runoff elections.

  6. Yes, I am okay with that. It might not be pretty, but yeah, people had their choices (though I can imagine how bad ballot access was for many of the third parties back in 1992), and the plurality picked Bill. That’s just how the election went down. I initially supported IRV because it’d help the stigma against voting third party, as you can always rank the main party who in theory nominally would have your support as your last choice if yours didn’t win (though personally, I wouldn’t even have ranked Hillary if we had that for president), but I don’t see an issue with giving the seat to the person who got the plurality. They won out of the candidates there, they got the most votes. I have zero desire to go to a Louisiana system where they try to settle the matter of who takes the seat in December. I’d like to support getting third parties ballot access in any way I can, but not if the only way to do it is to move to a majority+ system.

  7. Good comments, Guys, Except DEMO Rep. The 3/5 “solution” for the Constitution was a frank acknowledgement of the fact that the power of southern states lay not just in free manpower, but in all manpower–including slaves, whereby those states could, for example, field larger armies than their number of freemen would otherwise permit. As they knew, slavery was at least relatively unproductive and so slaves had to be counted for some purposes but not all, and thus a fraction had to be negotiated and 3/5 was settled upon to account for those in bondage. Those not in bondage in both the south and the north , white and black, were counted fully.

    As to the Electoral College, if Winger is agin it, then i think i should be , too, although it does provide a mechanism whereby should a candidate die between Nov of an election year and the EC gathering, those committed to him/her could support a similar candidate without the need for a new election.

  8. *BONDAGE* = SLAVERY = being starved, freezing in winter, worked to exhaustion, beat up or killed by the slave monarchs and oligarchs. Think Hitler and his *work* camps of torture and death.

    Cost to end slavery in the USA — about 425,000 DEAD USA Union Army/Navy men (with multi-multi-thousands maimed for life – no eyes, hands, arms, feet, legs) in 1861-1865 and a giant USA debt mostly paid off by 1916 (with higher taxes)[but which is still a small part of the current USA debt].

    Such REAL cost to get the 13 Amdt, 14 Amdt (esp. Sec 2) and 15 Amdt.

  9. Walker Chandler- How can you say Demo Reps comments aren’t good? They haven’t changed in years!

  10. Change to what ???

    New Age moron politically correct juvenile nonsense stuff ???

    — taking the USA to total tyranny. Civil War II and/or World War III ???

  11. I would support James Oogle’s Ranked Ticks system (the same man from U.S. Parliament) as it would encourage voters to decide whether they want to rank only one candidate or more!

    It begins with determining the Hagenbach-Bischoff quota.

    Divide the election’s total number of votes by the number of seats.

    This is the 1st quota.

    The candidates which make the quota with the lowest sum of the enumerated rankings marked on the ballots win in consecutive order from lowest sum to highest.

    Once the open seats are filled, no more names are elected.

    To start the process, the voters start ranking ballots. That is to say, each voter ranks the candidates.

    The ranking on each ballot begins with enumerating names with marks of #1, #2, and so on.

    On a ballot, the voter associates so many (or so few) candidates as she wishes with the rank numbers. Equal ranking is not allowed.

    However, I repeat, the voter can rank _so few_ candidates as she wishes. She is allowed to leave a candidate out of the rankings on her ballot. This is significant in understanding how this system works.

    So much for the balloting; now to explain how the tallying proceeds:The tallying process accumulates a pair of numbers for each candidate. The more important number is the count of occurrences where a ballot ranks the candidate at all, regardless of the rank number (James calls this a “tic”).

    The number of tics and the sum of those tics by each name are derived from the ranked numerals assigned to that candidate on ballots.

    When the number of all the rankings for each candidate reaches the 1st quota, then that candidate gets top priority for being elected to the open seats.

    Once these totals are accumulated, the process provides an overall ranking of the candidates based on the following procedure for comparing any two candidates: If candidate A has strictly more count of tics than candidate B, then A is ranked higher than B.

    If A and B have exactly equal tic counts, they have to be compared with regard to the other number, the sums of their ranking tic numbers.

    In that case, the one with the lower sum number of tics, ranks higher in the resulting overall rankings of the candidates produced by the system.

    All the names which have accumulated a number of tics whose total is equal to or more than the Hagenbach-Bischoff 1st quota, are now to be considered elected in consecutive order until all the seats are filled.

    The top of the order of those elected begins with the one name with the lowest sum of the minimum number of tics needed to reach the quota, followed by each numerically ranked name who reached the quota, from the sum of the lowest numerals of those votes/tics which are needed to reach the 1st quota.

    All the consecutively ranked names from this step are elected until all the open seats are filled.

    If this awards a number of seats different from the desired number of seats, then adjust the quota slightly up or down until it awards all the seats.

    This comparison procedure is monotonic in the sense that it is mathematically impossible for it to lead to a rock-paper-scissors situation.

  12. LONGER TERM — Vote 1, 2, 3, etc. and YES/NO on candidates.

    Condorcet head to head math with an Approval vote tiebreaker.

    ALL combinations of —

    Test Winner(s) vs. Test Candidate —– Others deemed Test Losers

    Test Win All = Winner
    Test Lose All = Lose
    Move up lower place votes of losers. Redo math.

    Would need computerized votes in any larger election.

    Applies to ALL elections –

    1 or more person executive and judicial offices
    Legislative bodies.

    Possible vacancies for E/J offices if no YES majority.

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