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Short Explanation
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote in the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation's voters for President of the United States.   more
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    31. Myth that a Nationwide Vote for President Would Favor One Political Party Over the Other

    CONTENTS
    31Myth that a Nationwide Vote for President Would Favor One Political Party Over the Other
    31.1MYTH: The Republican Party would find it difficult to win the most votes nationwide
    31.2MYTH: Republican voters do not support a national popular vote
    31.3MYTH: The small states give the Republican Party an advantage in presidential elections
    31.4MYTH: The National Popular Vote effort is funded by left-wingers
    31.5MYTH: The long-term trend in the Electoral College favors the Republicans because Republican-leaning states have gained electoral votes with each recent census
    31.6MYTH: Nationwide voting for President would give voters of as few as 11 or 12 states a controlling majority of the Electoral College, enabling them to decide presidential elections
    31.7MYTH: Candidates would concentrate on Democratic-leaning metropolitan markets because of lower advertising costs
    31.8MYTH: Only citizens impact the allocation of electoral votes under the current system
    31.9MYTH: The Republican Party has a lock on the Electoral College
    31.10MYTH: The rural states would lose their advantage in the Electoral College under a national popular vote
    31.11MYTH: A national popular vote would be a guarantee of corruption because every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the Presidency
    31.12MYTH: Fraud is minimized under the current system because it is hard to predict where stolen votes will matter
    31.13MYTH: The 2000 election illustrates the Republican Party’s structural advantage under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system
    31.14MYTH: Al Gore would have been elected President under a national popular vote in 2000

    31.1  MYTH: The Republican Party would find it difficult to win the most votes nationwide.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Nationwide voting for President would not be advantageous to either political party because, politically, the United States is an evenly divided country.
  • The cumulative nationwide presidential vote for the two parties in the 20 presidential elections between 1932 and 2008 has been virtually tied—a grand total of 746,260,766 votes for the Democrats and 745,502,654 for the Republicans.
  • The Republican Party has fared well in terms of the national popular vote. Since the formation of the Republican Party, nine Republicans have won more than 53% of the national popular vote, namely Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, whereas only two Democrats have done so (Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson).
  • The candidate who is best aligned with the views and values of the country’s voters generally wins the national popular vote.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    If Democrats had an inherent advantage in winning the national popular vote for President, we would see some evidence of this tendency in the historical record.

    The United States is, politically, an evenly divided country in which the cumulative nationwide vote for the two parties from the start of the modern political era in 1932 through 2008 (table 9.25) has been virtually tied:

  • 746,260,766 total votes for the Democrats and
  • 745,502,654 total votes for the Republicans.
  • Table 9.25 shows the national popular vote for President between 1932 and 2008. Columns 4 and 5 show the Democratic and Republican margin, respectively, in each election.

    Table 9.25 The national popular vote for President 1932–2008

    R margin

     

     

     

     

     

    6,462,953

    9,567,720

     

     

    510,314

    17,999,528

     

    8,420,270

    16,877,890

    7,077,023

     

     

     

    3,012,499

     

     

    Election

    Democrat

    Republican

    D margin

    1932

    22,818,740

    15,760,426

    7,058,314

    1936

    27,750,866

    16,679,683

    11,071,183

    1940

    27,343,218

    22,334,940

    5,008,278

    1944

    25,612,610

    22,021,053

    3,591,557

    1948

    24,105,810

    21,970,064

    2,135,746

    1952

    27,314,992

    33,777,945

     

    1956

    26,022,752

    35,590,472

     

    1960

    34,226,731

    34,108,157

    118,574

    1964

    43,129,566

    27,178,188

    15,951,378

    1968

    31,275,166

    31,785,480

     

    1972

    29,170,383

    47,169,911

     

    1976

    40,830,763

    39,147,793

    1,682,970

    1980

    35,483,883

    43,904,153

     

    1984

    37,577,185

    54,455,075

     

    1988

    41,809,074

    48,886,097

     

    1992

    44,909,326

    39,103,882

    5,805,444

    1996

    47,402,357

    39,198,755

    8,203,602

    2000

    50,992,335

    50,455,156

    537,179

    2004

    59,028,111

    62,040,610

     

    2008

    69,456,898

    59,934,814

    9,522,084

    Total

    746,260,766

    745,502,654

     

    The Republican Party has fared well in terms of the national popular vote. Since the formation of the Republican Party, nine Republicans have won more than 53% of the national popular vote, namely Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, whereas only two Democrats have done so (Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson).

    Based on past performance, there is nothing to indicate the Republican Party is either advantaged or disadvantaged if presidential elections are decided on the basis of the national popular vote.

    The candidate who is best aligned with the views and values of the country’s voters generally wins the national popular vote.

    Former Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo (R–Colorado) said in an article entitled “Should Every Vote Count?”

    “There is another reason why I have come to support the concept of the National Popular Vote Initiative. I believe, as do many of my readers, we are a center-right nation.”[555]

    Those who believe that the United States is inherently a center-right country should expect center-right results from a national popular vote for President. Those who believe that there is no bias in the national popular vote—including the authors of this book—should prefer a level playing field that eliminates the gaming of the system inherent in presidential campaigns that concentrate on only a handful of closely divided battleground states.

    31.2  MYTH: Republican voters do not support a national popular vote.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Republican voters support a national popular vote for President by an average of 66% in states where state-level polls are available.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    Republican voters support the idea of a national popular vote for President by an average of 66% in states where state-level polls are available.

    Table 9.26 shows the results, by party, from these polls. [556]

    Table 9.26 Results, by party, from state-level polls

    State

    Republican

    Democratic

    Other

    Overall

    Alaska

    66%

    78%

    69%

    70%

    Arizona

    60%

    79%

    57%

    67%

    Arkansas

    71%

    88%

    79%

    80%

    California

    61%

    76%

    74%

    70%

    Colorado

    56%

    79%

    70%

    68%

    Connecticut

    67%

    80%

    71%

    74%

    Delaware

    69%

    79%

    76%

    75%

    D.C.

    48%

    80%

    74%

    76%

    Florida

    68%

    88%

    76%

    78%

    Idaho

    75%

    84%

    75%

    77%

    Iowa

    63%

    82%

    77%

    75%

    Kentucky

    71%

    88%

    70%

    80%

    Maine

    70%

    85%

    73%

    77%

    Massachusetts

    54%

    82%

    66%

    73%

    Michigan

    68%

    78%

    73%

    73%

    Minnesota

    69%

    84%

    68%

    75%

    Mississippi

    75%

    79%

    75%

    77%

    Montana

    67%

    80%

    70%

    72%

    Nebraska

    62%

    78%

    63%

    67%

    Nevada

    66%

    80%

    68%

    72%

    New Hampshire

    57%

    80%

    69%

    69%

    New Mexico

    64%

    84%

    68%

    76%

    New York

    66%

    86%

    70%

    79%

    Ohio

    65%

    81%

    61%

    70%

    Oklahoma

    75%

    84%

    75%

    81%

    Oregon

    70%

    82%

    72%

    76%

    Pennsylvania

    68%

    87%

    76%

    78%

    South Carolina

    64%

    81%

    68%

    71%

    South Dakota

    67%

    84%

    75%

    75%

    Utah

    66%

    82%

    75%

    70%

    Vermont

    61%

    86%

    74%

    75%

    Washington

    65%

    88%

    73%

    77%

    West Virginia

    75%

    87%

    73%

    81%

    Wisconsin

    63%

    81%

    67%

    71%

    Wyoming

    66%

    77%

    72%

    69%

    Average

    66%

    82%

    71%

    74%

    1.31.3  MYTH: The small states give the Republican Party an advantage in presidential elections.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Contrary to political mythology, the Republican Party gains no partisan advantage from the 13 smallest states (i.e., those with three or four electoral votes) under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system. In the six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012, the 13 smallest states have divided 7–6 in favor of the Democrats four times, 8–5 in favor of the Democrats once, and 7–6 in favor of the Republicans once.
  • Seven of the 13 smallest states have almost always gone Democratic (Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and New Hampshire), while six others have almost always gone Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota).
  • The pattern is similar for the 25 smallest states (i.e., those with seven or fewer electoral votes). The 25 smallest states divided 13–12 in favor of the Republicans in 2008 and 2012. They divided 57–58 in terms of electoral votes in 2008 and 60–56 in 2012. In 2008, the 25 smallest states were approximately tied in popular votes, with the Democrats receiving about 10 million votes, compared to the Republican’s 9.8 million votes. In 2012, the Republicans led by 10.1 million to 9.2 million.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    The myth that the small states (i.e., those with three or four electoral votes) confer a partisan advantage on the Republican Party is prevalent because it was once true. However, this statement is not true today, and it has not been true for two decades.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, most of the 13 smallest states usually voted Republican in most presidential elections. During that period, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia were usually the only small jurisdictions that voted Democratic.

    However, in the six presidential elections in the two-decade period between 1992 and 2012, seven of the 13 smallest states have gone Democratic (with only one exception in 2000 [557]), namely

  • Delaware,
  • the District of Columbia,
  • Hawaii,
  • Maine,
  • New Hampshire,
  • Rhode Island, and
  • Vermont.
  • During the same two-decade period, six of the 13 smallest states have gone Republican (with only one exception in 1992 [558]), namely

  • Alaska,
  • Idaho,
  • Montana,
  • North Dakota,
  • South Dakota, and
  • Wyoming.
  • Only one of the 13 smallest states (New Hampshire) has been a closely divided battleground state during this two-decade period. Although it has been hotly contested, New Hampshire has ended up supporting the Democratic nominee in five of the six elections between 1992 and 2012.

    Curiously, the Democratic presidential candidate has sometimes enjoyed a distinct political advantage among the small states because of the state-by-state winner-take-all system.

    In 2004, Senator John Kerry won more electoral votes than President George W. Bush in the 13 smallest states (25 for Kerry to 19 for Bush), despite the fact that Kerry received only about two-thirds as many popular votes as Bush (453,286 for Kerry and 650,421 for Bush).

    Table 9.27 shows the 2004 presidential election results in the six reliably Republican small states. The table shows that George W. Bush’s 650,421-vote lead in the six reliably Republican small states yielded him 19 electoral votes.

    Table 9.27 Bush’s 650,421-vote lead in the six reliably Republican small states yielded 19 electoral votes.

    State

    Alaska

    Idaho

    Montana

    North Dakota

    South Dakota

    Wyoming

    Bush

    Kerry

    Bush lead

    Electoral Votes

    151,876

    86,064

    65,812

    3

    408,254

    180,920

    227,334

    4

    265,473

    173,363

    92,110

    3

    195,998

    110,662

    85,336

    3

    232,545

    149,225

    83,320

    3

    167,129

    70,620

    96,509

    3

    Total

    1,421,275

    770,854

    650,421

    19

    Table 9.28 shows the 2004 presidential election results in the seven usually-Democratic small states. The table shows that John Kerry’s 453,286-vote lead yielded him 25 electoral votes. In other words, Kerry won more electoral votes than Bush with considerably fewer popular votes.

    Table 9.28 Kerry’s 453,286 vote lead in the seven usually Democratic small states yielded 25 electoral votes.

    State

    Delaware

    D.C.

    Hawaii

    Maine

    New Hampshire

    Rhode Island

    Vermont

    Total

    Bush

    Kerry

    Kerry lead

    Electoral Votes

    171,531

    199,887

    28,356

    3

    19,007

    183,876

    164,869

    3

    194,109

    231,318

    37,209

    4

    330,374

    395,391

    65,017

    4

    331,237

    340,511

    9,274

    4

    161,654

    247,407

    85,753

    4

    120,710

    183,621

    62,911

    3

    997,385

    1,441,500

    453,286

    25

    The reason for this outcome under the current winner-take-all system is that the small red states are redder than the small blue states are blue.

    Specifically, the popular-vote percentages in the reliably Republican six small states in 2004 were uniformly overwhelming:

  • Alaska–64%,
  • Idaho–69%,
  • Montana–61%,
  • North Dakota–64%,
  • South Dakota–61%, and
  • Wyoming–70%.
  • In contrast, the Democrats won three of their small states (Delaware, Hawaii, and Maine) with just 54% of the vote. [559] In addition, the Democrats carried two of their small states (Vermont and Rhode Island) with only 60% of the vote—a percentage smaller than the percentage by which the Republicans carried any of their six small states. The District of Columbia (with three electoral votes) is the only small jurisdiction where the Democrats won by an overwhelming margin. The Democrats won the battleground state of New Hampshire by a 2% margin in 2004.

    Overall, an enormous number of Republican votes in the small states were wasted because of the overwhelming victory margins in the six reliably Republican small states, compared to the Democrat’s modest margins of victory in their states. This can be seen by pairing each of the six Republican states with one of the Democratic states.

  • Wyoming’s 96,509-vote Republican margin exceeded Vermont’s 62,911-vote Democratic margin.
  • Alaska’s 65,812-vote Republican margin exceeded Delaware’s 28,356-vote Democratic margin.
  • North Dakota’s 85,336-vote Republican margin exceeded Hawaii’s 37,209-vote Democratic margin.
  • Montana’s 92,110-vote Republican margin exceeded Rhode Island’s 85,753-vote Democratic margin.
  • South Dakota’s 83,320-vote Republican margin exceeded Maine’s 65,017-vote Democratic margin.
  • Idaho’s 227,334-vote Republican margin exceeded the District of Columbia’s 164,869-vote Democratic margin.
  • To place the magnitude of these wasted Republican votes into perspective, consider the fact that George W. Bush’s margin of 227,334 votes in 2004 in Idaho alone was almost twice his margin of 118,599 votes in the crucial and decisive state of Ohio. Presidential candidates of both parties vigorously solicited votes in Ohio on the basis of Ohio issues and values because Ohio voters were important, while they ignored Idaho issues and values.

    Even if one expands the discussion from the nation’s 13 smallest states (i.e., those with three or four electoral votes) to the 25 smallest states (i.e., those with seven or fewer electoral votes), the Republican Party receives no partisan advantage under the state-by-state winner-take-all system.

    In the 2008 election, the 25 smallest states

  • divided 12–13 by party,
  • divided 57–58 in electoral votes, and
  • the Democrats led with 9,965,724 votes (compared to the Republicans’ 9,821,558 votes).
  • Table 9.29 shows that the 25 smallest states divided almost equally in 2008 in terms of number of states won, electoral votes, and the popular vote. Column 1 shows each state’s number of electoral votes (EV). Columns 3 and 4 show the number of popular votes won by the Democrats (D) and the Republicans (R), respectively. Columns 5 and 6 show the number of electoral votes won by the Democrats and the Republicans, respectively. [560] Columns 7 and 8 show the Democratic and Republican margins, respectively, for each state that the party carried. Column 9 shows the number of campaign events (a total of 43) out of 300 post-convention events in these states in 2008.

    Table 9.29 The 25 smallest states divided almost equally in 2008.

    EV

    State

    D Votes

    R Votes

    D EV

    R EV

    D Margin

    R Margin

    Events

    3

    Wyoming

    82,868

    164,958

     

    3

     

    82,090

     

    3

    North Dakota

    141,278

    168,601

     

    3

     

    27,323

     

    3

    Alaska

    123,594

    193,841

     

    3

     

    70,247

     

    3

    South Dakota

    170,924

    203,054

     

    3

     

    32,130

     

    3

    Montana

    231,667

    242,763

     

    3

     

    11,096

     

    3

    Vermont

    219,262

    98,974

    3

     

    120,288

     

     

    3

    D. C.

    245,800

    17,367

    3

     

    228,433

     

    1

    3

    Delaware

    255,459

    152,374

    3

     

    103,085

     

     

    4

    Hawaii

    325,871

    120,566

    4

     

    205,305

     

     

    4

    Rhode Island

    296,571

    165,391

    4

     

    131,180

     

     

    4

    Maine

    421,923

    295,273

    4

     

    126,650

     

    2

    4

    New Hampshire

    384,826

    316,534

    4

     

    68,292

     

    12

    4

    Idaho

    236,440

    403,012

     

    4

     

    166,572

     

    5

    Nebraska

    333,319

    452,979

    1

    4

     

    119,660

     

    5

    West Virginia

    303,857

    397,466

     

    5

     

    93,609

    1

    5

    Utah

    327,670

    596,030

     

    5

     

    268,360

     

    5

    New Mexico

    472,422

    346,832

    5

     

    125,590

     

    8

    5

    Nevada

    533,736

    412,827

    5

     

    120,909

     

    12

    6

    Arkansas

    422,310

    638,017

     

    6

     

    215,707

     

    6

    Kansas

    514,765

    699,655

     

    6

     

    184,890

     

    6

    Mississippi

    554,662

    724,597

     

    6

     

    169,935

     

    7

    Oklahoma

    502,496

    960,165

     

    7

     

    457,669

     

    7

    Iowa

    828,940

    682,379

    7

     

    146,561

     

    7

    7

    Connecticut

    997,773

    629,428

    7

     

    368,345

     

     

    7

    Oregon

    1,037,291

    738,475

    7

     

    298,816

     

     

    115

    Total

    9,965,724

    9,821,558

    57

    58

     

     

    43

    In the 2012 election, the 25 smallest states

  • divided 12–13 by party (exactly the same states and numbers),
  • divided 60–56 in electoral votes, and
  • the Republicans led with 10,098,119 votes (compared to the Democrats’ 9,221,230 votes).
  • Table 9.30 shows that the 25 smallest states divided almost equally in 2012 in terms of number of states won, electoral votes, and the popular vote. Column 9 shows the number of campaign events (a total of 53) out of 253 post-convention events in these states in 2012.

    Table 9.30 The 25 smallest states divided almost equally in 2012.

    EV

    State

    D Votes

    R Votes

    D EV

    R EV

    D Margin

    R Margin

    Events

    3

    Alaska

    122,640

    164,676

     

    3

     

    42,036

     

    3

    Delaware

    242,584

    165,484

    3

     

    77,100

     

     

    3

    D.C.

    267,070

    21,381

    3

     

    245,689

     

     

    3

    Montana

    201,839

    267,928

     

    3

     

    66,089

     

    3

    North Dakota

    124,966

    188,320

     

    3

     

    63,354

     

    3

    South Dakota

    145,039

    210,610

     

    3

     

    65,571

     

    3

    Vermont

    199,239

    92,698

    3

     

    106,541

     

     

    3

    Wyoming

    69,286

    170,962

     

    3

     

    101,676

     

    4

    Hawaii

    306,658

    121,015

    4

     

    185,643

     

     

    4

    Idaho

    212,787

    420,911

     

    4

     

    208,124

     

    4

    Maine

    401,306

    292,276

    4

     

    109,030

     

     

    4

    New Hampshire

    369,561

    329,918

    4

     

    39,643

     

    13

    4

    Rhode Island

    279,677

    157,204

    4

     

    122,473

     

     

    5

    Nebraska

    302,081

    475,064

     

    5

     

    172,983

     

    5

    New Mexico

    415,335

    335,788

    5

     

    79,547

     

     

    5

    West Virginia

    238,230

    417,584

     

    5

     

    179,354

     

    6

    Arkansas

    394,409

    647,744

     

    6

     

    253,335

     

    6

    Iowa

    822,544

    730,617

    6

     

    91,927

     

    27

    6

    Kansas

    440,726

    692,634

     

    6

     

    251,908

     

    6

    Mississippi

    562,949

    710,746

     

    6

     

    147,797

     

    6

    Nevada

    531,373

    463,567

    6

     

    67,806

     

    13

    6

    Utah

    251,813

    740,600

     

    6

     

    488,787

     

    7

    Connecticut

    905,083

    634,892

    7

     

    270,191

     

     

    7

    Oklahoma

    443,547

    891,325

     

    7

     

    447,778

     

    7

    Oregon

    970,488

    754,175

    7

     

    216,313

     

     

    116

    Total

    9,221,230

    10,098,119

    56

    60

     

     

    53

    Appendices CC, DD, and EE show the popular vote for President for 2000, 2004, and 2008, respectively. Appendix HH shows the 2012 results.

    Former Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo (R–Colorado) wrote the following in an article entitled “Should Every Vote Count?”

    “Today the chase for electoral votes is a force for corruption and special-interest payoffs. I will never forget the torture of sitting in the House and watching as our ‘leadership’ went about threatening, bribing and breaking arms of my colleagues until they got the requisite number of votes to pass Bush’s trillion-dollar Medicare prescription drug plan. A bigger piece of garbage I have never seen—especially one being pushed by the Republican Party.

    “One could rationally ask why, in heaven’s name, the party of smaller government would push so hard for what was, at the time, the biggest increase in government since the creation of Medicare. Alas the reason was crystal clear: Bush needed Florida for his re-election.

    “I wish I could say that was the only time something like that happened, but, of course, it’s not. It is part of the routine practice of buying electoral votes. I am sick of it. Whether it's buying Pennsylvania’s electoral votes with steel tariffs or Ohio’s with ‘No Child Left Behind,’ it all stinks to high heaven.…

    “Some argue that the present system protects the interests of small states, especially those that hold conservative values. However, today 12 of the 13 smallest states are ignored after party conventions and are derisively referred to as ‘flyover’ country.…

    “Under the [National Popular Vote] plan, an evangelical voter in rural Wyoming would count the same as the union steward in Cleveland.” [561] [Emphasis added]

    31.4  MYTH: The National Popular Vote effort is funded by left-wingers.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Over 90% of the contributions supporting the National Popular Vote effort have come—in about equal total amounts—from a pro-life, anti-Buffett-rule, registered Republican businessman and a pro-choice, pro-Buffett-rule, registered Democratic businessman.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    Hans von Spakovsky has stated:

    “National Popular Vote Inc. is one of California’s lesser-known advocacy organizations. Its chairman, John Koza, is best known as the co-founder of Scientific Games Inc., the company that invented the instant lottery ticket.

    “Now Mr. Koza and his fellow liberal activists want to ‘scratch off’ the Electoral College.” [562] [Emphasis added]

    The facts are that over 90% of the contributions supporting the National Popular Vote effort have come—in about equal total amounts—from

  • Tom Golisano (a pro-life, anti-Buffett-rule, registered Republican businessman residing in Florida) and
  • John R. Koza (a pro-choice, pro-Buffett-rule, registered Democratic businessman residing in California).
  • John R. Koza’s contributions have largely been spent by National Popular Vote, a 501(c)4 non-profit corporation.

    Tom Golisano’s contributions have largely been spent by Support Popular Vote, a 501(c)4 non-profit corporation (originally called “National Popular Vote Initiative”).

    Support for a nationwide popular vote for President has been bipartisan for some time. Appendix S shows, state by state, members of Congress who have sponsored proposed constitutional amendments for nationwide popular election of the President in recent years or who voted in favor of constitutional amendments in the 338–70 roll call in the House of Representatives in 1969 or the 1979 roll call in the Senate. As shown in appendix S, there has been at least one supporter in Congress from each of the 50 states. As of 2012, over 250 Republican state legislators have either sponsored or cast a recorded vote in favor of the National Popular Vote bill. See section 9.31.2 for recent state-level polling results showing that Republican voters support a nationwide vote for President.

    1.31.5  MYTH: The long-term trend in the Electoral College favors the Republicans because Republican-leaning states have gained electoral votes with each recent census.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • The fact that Republican-leaning states have gained population with each recent census is not necessarily helpful to the Republican cause. Population growth may upset a state’s political complexion depending on the relative number of newcomers and leavers and the (usually very significant) difference in political outlook between newcomers and leavers.
  • Recent rapid population growth in Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida was not helpful to the Republican cause because it converted states that had voted Republican for decades in presidential elections into battleground states (all won by Obama in 2008).

    Arizona’s recent rapid population growth (largely due to an influx of Hispanics and, to a lesser extent, former California residents) has the potential of changing Arizona from a reliably Republican state into a battleground state (perhaps as soon as 2016 or 2020).

  • Texas’ recent rapid population growth (largely due to Hispanics) has the potential of changing Texas from a reliably Republican state in presidential elections into a battleground state (perhaps as soon as 2020).
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    As a result of each recent census, Republican-leaning states have gained population (and hence electoral votes) at the expense of Democratic-leaning states. Some have argued that this fact should be interpreted as a long-term trend favoring the Republican Party in the Electoral College. In fact, this trend is not necessarily helpful to the Republican cause.

    Consider the 2010 census. The Republican Party would have received 12 more electoral votes in the 2008 presidential election if the allocation of electoral votes based on the 2010 census had been in effect for the 2008 election. Five states that voted Republican in the 2008 presidential election gained electoral votes as a result of the 2010 census, namely Arizona (+1), Georgia (+1), South Carolina (+1), Utah (+1), and Texas (+4), but only two states that voted Republican in 2008 lost electoral votes, namely Louisiana (–1) and Missouri (–1). In addition, eight states that voted Democratic in the 2008 presidential election lost electoral votes as a result of the 2010 census, namely Illinois (–1), Iowa (–1), Massachusetts (–1), Michigan (–1), New Jersey (–1), New York (–2), Ohio (–2), and Pennsylvania (–1), but only three states that voted Democratic in 2008 gained electoral votes, namely Florida (+2), Nevada (+1), and Washington state (+1). [563]

    The above facts about the census do not, however, constitute a long-term trend favoring the Republicans in the Electoral College because population growth does not necessarily reinforce a state’s pre-existing political complexion. In fact, population growth frequently upsets a state’s political complexion.

    Population growth occurs as the result of a net difference in the number of newcomers versus the number of leavers.

    There is usually a considerable difference in the political outlook of

  • newcomers to a state,
  • leavers, and
  • those staying in a state.
  • People come to a state, leave a state, and stay in a state because of numerous economic, demographic, and psychological factors. As a result, population growth is not necessarily advantageous to the currently dominant political party in a given state.

    For example, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and North Carolina were reliably Republican for decades in presidential elections until recently. Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and North Carolina were not even considered battleground states as recently as 2004. Rapid population growth converted Florida into a battleground state in 1996 (when Clinton carried the state after several decades of Republican victories at the presidential level). However, population growth upset the political equilibrium of these states with the result that Obama swept all of these states in 2008. Population growth not only contributed to the Republican’s loss of all these states in 2008, but also increased the electoral-vote prize when the Democratic Party won them.

    Arizona’s recent rapid population growth (largely due to an influx of Hispanics and, to a lesser extent, newcomers from California) appears to be transforming it from a reliably Republican state in presidential elections into a battleground state (perhaps as early as 2016).[564]

    Rapid population growth (largely due to Hispanics) in Texas (with 38 electoral votes) creates the possibility of destabilizing Republican control of the nation’s second largest state (perhaps as early as 2020). As Charles Mahtesian wrote in a Politico article entitled “Obama’s Texas Battleground Prediction”:

    When Barack Obama asserted Tuesday that Texas will be a battleground state ‘soon,’ he was echoing the belief, commonly held among Democrats, that the state’s changing demographics make the transition from red to blue inevitable.”[565],[566] [Emphasis added]

    Meanwhile, there does not appear to be any Democratic-leaning big state (even among the numerous Democratic-leaning states that lost electoral votes as a result of the 2010 census) moving in the Republican direction to counter-balance possible future changes in the political environment in states such as Arizona and Texas.

    1.31.6  MYTH: Nationwide voting for President would give voters of as few as 11 or 12 states a controlling majority of the Electoral College, enabling them to decide presidential elections.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Under a national popular vote, every vote in every state would be equal throughout the United States. The votes cast in the 12 biggest states would be no more, or less, valuable or controlling than votes cast anywhere else.
  • Many criticisms of nationwide popular voting for President are based on a hypothetical scenario in which a candidate wins the White House by receiving 100% of the popular vote in the 12 biggest states and 0% in the remaining 39 smaller jurisdictions. Such scenarios are politically implausible because the popular vote is relatively close in the 12 biggest states (e.g., it split 54%–46% in 2012 and split 50.2%–49.8% in 2004). Moreover, no big state delivered more than 63% of its popular vote (that is, five out of eight votes) to any candidate in the 2000, 2004, 2008, or 2012 presidential elections.
  • Opponents of a nationwide vote for President complain that if 100% of the voters of the 11 biggest states were to vote for one candidate, they alone could elect a President—while ignoring the fact that 50.01% of the voters of these same 11 states could elect a President today under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    The 12 biggest states contain more than half the population of the United States and possess 53% of the electoral votes (283 of 538). In fact, the 11 biggest states contain a bare majority of the electoral votes (270 of 538).

    Critics of a nationwide popular vote for President sometimes argue that only the 12 biggest states would matter under such a system.

    Under the critics’ hypothetical scenario, candidates would win the White House by winning 100% of the popular vote in the 12 biggest states and 0% in the 39 remaining jurisdictions (i.e., 38 states and the District of Columbia).

    Referring to the National Popular Vote compact, Hans A. von Spakovsky stated in 2011:

    “This would give the most populous states a controlling majority of the Electoral College, letting the voters of as few as 11 states control the outcome of presidential elections.” [567] [Emphasis added]

    Senator Mitch McConnell said in 2011:

    This would mean that from now on, just 12 states could decide our presidential elections. A few of the most populous and most liberal states determine who actually wins.” [568] [Emphasis added]

    Ed Gillespie stated in 2011:

    “With 11 of the most populous states accounting for 56 percent [569] of the population, the presidential election will essentially become a race for a dozen states with big cities.” [570] [Emphasis added]

    A 2011 letter signed by House Speaker John Boehner (R–Ohio), Senator Mitch McConnell (R–Kentucky), and Governor Rick Perry (R–Texas) stated:

    “The goal of this effort is clear: to put the fate of every presidential election in the hands of the voters in as few as 11 states and thus to give a handful of populous states a controlling majority of the Electoral College.” [571] [Emphasis added]

    None of the above quotations about 11 or 12 states “controlling” the national popular vote reflects political reality.

    It is the current state-by-state winner-take-all system—not the national popular vote approach—that would theoretically permit the 11 most populous states to control the outcome of presidential elections.

    Under the current winner-take-all system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning only 50.01% of the popular vote in the 11 biggest states. That is, under the current system, a President could be elected with about a quarter of the nationwide popular vote.

    Opponents of a nationwide vote for President complain that if 100% of the voters of the 11 biggest states were to vote for one candidate, they could alone elect a President—while ignoring the fact that 50.01% of the voters of these same 11 states could elect a President today under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system.

    That is, 26% of the nation’s voters could elect a President under the current system.

    Moreover, getting 50.01% in 11 states is a far more likely scenario than getting 100% of the vote from these 11 states.

    Curiously, the current system permits even fewer than 26% of the voters to elect a President. According to calculations (shown in table 9.31) made by MIT Professor Alexander S. Belenky using actual voter turnout data, an Electoral-College majority theoretically could have been won, under the current winner-take-all system, with between 16% and 22% of the national popular vote in the 15 elections between 1948 and 2004. [572]

    Table 9.31 Smallest percentage of voters who theoretically could have elected a President under the current system

    Year

    Percentage

    1948

    16.072%

    1952

    17.547%

    1956

    17.455%

    1960

    17.544%

    1964

    18.875%

    1968

    19.97%

    1972

    20.101%

    1976

    21.202%

    1980

    21.348%

    1984

    21.53%

    1988

    21.506%

    1992

    21.944%

    1996

    22.103%

    2000

    21.107%

    2004

    21.666%

    The implausibility of the hypothetical scenario in which one candidate receives 100% of the popular vote from the 12 biggest states is demonstrated by the fact that no big state delivered more than 63% of its popular vote (that is, five out of eight votes) to any candidate in the 2000, 2004, 2008, or 2012 presidential elections.

    Table 9.32 shows the percentage of the popular vote won by the winner of the 12 biggest states between 2000 and 2012.

    Table 9.32 Popular-vote percentage won by the winner of the 12 biggest states 2000–2012

    State

    2000

    2004

    2008

    2012

    California

    53%

    54%

    61%

    60%

    Texas

    59%

    61%

    56%

    57%

    New York

    60%

    58%

    63%

    63%

    Florida

    49%

    52%

    51%

    50%

    Illinois

    55%

    55%

    62%

    57%

    Pennsylvania

    51%

    51%

    55%

    52%

    Ohio

    50%

    51%

    52%

    51%

    Michigan

    51%

    51%

    57%

    54%

    Georgia

    55%

    58%

    52%

    53%

    New Jersey

    56%

    53%

    57%

    58%

    North Carolina

    56%

    56%

    49%

    50%

    Virginia

    52%

    54%

    53%

    51%

    In fact, many of the winning percentages in table 9.32 are near 50% because many of the 12 biggest states (e.g., Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and North Carolina) were battleground states in one or more elections shown in the table.

    The 12 biggest states are not, of course, all Democratic bastions. In both 2000 and 2004, for example, the 12 biggest states divided 6–6 between the political parties (with Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia voting for George W. Bush in both years). [573]

    The popular vote in the 12 biggest states split 54%–46% in 2012 and split 50.2%–49.8% in 2004.

    In short, no candidate could win 100% of the popular vote in the 12 biggest states (or, indeed, any percentage close to 100%).

    The relatively close campaigns of 2004 and 2012 convey a far more realistic picture of presidential politics than any contrived scenario.

    The winner’s two-party popular-vote percentage was almost identical in these two re-election campaigns:

  • 51.2% for Bush in 2004, [574] and
  • 51.96% for Obama in 2012. [575]
  • The two elections were mirror images of one another in terms of the popular-vote margin generated by the 12 biggest states and the 39 smallest jurisdictions:

  • In 2004, Bush fought Kerry to a near-tie in the popular vote in the 12 biggest states (50.2% to 49.8%), and Bush’s margin from the 39 smallest jurisdictions was roughly equal to his nationwide margin (3,012,171 votes).
  • In 2012, Obama fought Romney to a near-tie in the popular vote in the 39 smallest jurisdictions (51% to 49%), and Obama’s margin from the 12 biggest states was roughly equal to his nationwide margin (4,966,945).
  • In 2004, the voters in the 39 smallest jurisdictions did not “control the outcome of the presidential election” in terms of the national popular vote. Every vote from every state—not just those 39 states—contributed to producing Bush’s nationwide popular vote total. The voters in the 39 smallest jurisdictions were not any more important or “controlling” than the voters of the 12 biggest states.

    Similarly, in 2012, the voters in the 12 biggest states did not “control the outcome of the presidential election” in terms of the national popular vote. Every vote from every state contributed to producing Obama’s nationwide popular vote total. The voters in the 12 biggest states were not any more important or “controlling” than the voters of the 39 smallest jurisdictions.

    2004—Bush Ties in the 12 Biggest States

    In 2004, the 69,323,699 votes cast in the 12 biggest states divided almost equally:

  • 34,784,178 votes were for Kerry, and
  • 34,539,521 votes were for Bush.
  • Kerry’s slender 244,657-vote margin of victory in the 12 biggest states was about one-third of one percent of the 69,323,699 votes cast in those states (and about one-fifth of one percent of the votes cast nationwide).

    Kerry received 50.2% of the popular vote from the 12 biggest states, and Bush received 49.8%.

    Having fought Kerry to a near-tie in the 12 biggest states, Bush then won the 39 smallest jurisdictions by a margin of 3,256,828 votes (out of 51,745,350 votes cast in those states), thereby ending up with a margin of victory of 3,012,171 in the national popular vote.

    Table 9.33 shows the popular vote for Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush in the 2004 election in the 12 biggest states. Column 4 shows Bush’s percentage of the two-party vote. Columns 5 and 6 show the Republican and Democratic margins, respectively, for each state. Columns 7 and 8 show the Republican and Democratic electoral votes, respectively, for each state.

    Table 9.33 Results of the 2004 election in the 12 biggest states

    State

    Bush

    Kerry

    R percent

    R Margin

    D Margin

    R EV

    D EV

    California

    5,509,826

    6,745,485

    45.0%

     

    1,235,659

     

    55

    Texas

    4,526,917

    2,832,704

    61.5%

    1,694,213

     

    34

     

    New York

    2,962,567

    4,314,280

    40.7%

     

    1,351,713

     

    31

    Florida

    3,964,522

    3,583,544

    52.5%

    380,978

     

    27

     

    Illinois

    2,345,946

    2,891,550

    44.8%

     

    545,604

     

    21

    Pennsylvania

    2,793,847

    2,938,095

    48.7%

     

    144,248

     

    21

    Ohio

    2,859,768

    2,741,167

    51.1%

    118,601

     

    20

     

    Michigan

    2,313,746

    2,479,183

    48.3%

     

    165,437

     

    17

    Georgia

    1,914,254

    1,366,149

    58.4%

    548,105

     

    15

     

    New Jersey

    1,670,003

    1,911,430

    46.6%

     

    241,427

     

    15

    North Carolina

    1,961,166

    1,525,849

    56.2%

    435,317

     

    15

     

    Virginia

    1,716,959

    1,454,742

    58.4%

    262,217

     

    13

     

    Totals

    34,539,521

    34,784,178

    49.8%

    3,439,431

    3,684,088

    124

    160

    Table 9.34 shows the popular vote for President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry in the 2004 election in the 39 smallest jurisdictions.

    Table 9.34 Results of the 2004 election in the 39 smallest jurisdictions

    State

    Bush

    Kerry

    R percent

    R Margin

    D Margin

    R EV

    D EV

    Massachusetts

    1,071,109

    1,803,800

    37.3%

     

    732,691

     

    12

    Indiana

    1,479,438

    969,011

    60.4%

    510,427

     

    11

     

    Missouri

    1,455,713

    1,259,171

    53.6%

    196,542

     

    11

     

    Tennessee

    1,384,375

    1,036,477

    57.2%

    347,898

     

    11

     

    Washington

    1,304,894

    1,510,201

    46.4%

     

    205,307

     

    11

    Arizona

    1,104,294

    893,524

    55.3%

    210,770

     

    10

     

    Maryland

    1,024,703

    1,334,493

    43.4%

     

    309,790

     

    10

    Minnesota

    1,346,695

    1,445,014

    48.2%

     

    98,319

     

    10

    Wisconsin

    1,478,120

    1,489,504

    49.8%

     

    11,384

     

    10

    Alabama

    1,176,394

    693,933

    62.9%

    482,461

     

    9

     

    Colorado

    1,101,255

    1,001,732

    52.4%

    99,523

     

    9

     

    Louisiana

    1,102,169

    820,299

    57.3%

    281,870

     

    9

     

    Kentucky

    1,069,439

    712,733

    60.0%

    356,706

     

    8

     

    South Carolina

    937,974

    661,699

    58.6%

    276,275

     

    8

     

    Connecticut

    693,826

    857,488

    44.7%

     

    163,662

     

    7

    Iowa

    751,957

    741,898

    50.3%

    10,059

     

    7

     

    Oklahoma

    959,792

    503,966

    65.6%

    455,826

     

    7

     

    Oregon

    866,831

    943,163

    47.9%

     

    76,332

     

    7

    Arkansas

    572,898

    469,953

    54.9%

    102,945

     

    6

     

    Kansas

    736,456

    434,993

    62.9%

    301,463

     

    6

     

    Mississippi

    684,981

    458,094

    59.9%

    226,887

     

    6

     

    Nebraska

    512,814

    254,328

    66.8%

    258,486

     

    5

     

    Nevada

    418,690

    397,190

    51.3%

    21,500

     

    5

     

    New Mexico

    376,930

    370,942

    50.4%

    5,988

     

    5

     

    Utah

    663,742

    241,199

    73.3%

    422,543

     

    5

     

    West Virginia

    423,778

    326,541

    56.5%

    97,237

     

    5

     

    Hawaii

    194,191

    231,708

    45.6%

     

    37,517

     

    4

    Idaho

    409,235

    181,098

    69.3%

    228,137

     

    4

     

    Maine

    330,201

    396,842

    45.4%

     

    66,641

     

    4

    New Hampshire

    331,237

    340,511

    49.3%

     

    9,274

     

    4

    Rhode Island

    169,046

    259,760

    39.4%

     

    90,714

     

    4

    Alaska

    190,889

    111,025

    63.2%

    79,864

     

    3

     

    Delaware

    171,660

    200,152

    46.2%

     

    28,492

     

    3

    D. C.

    21,256

    202,970

    9.5%

     

    181,714

     

    3

    Montana

    266,063

    173,710

    60.5%

    92,353

     

    3

     

    North Dakota

    196,651

    111,052

    63.9%

    85,599

     

    3

     

    South Dakota

    232,584

    149,244

    60.9%

    83,340

     

    3

     

    Vermont

    121,180

    184,067

    39.7%

     

    62,887

     

    3

    Wyoming

    167,629

    70,776

    70.3%

    96,853

     

    3

     

    Total

    27,501,089

    24,244,261

    53.1%

     

     

    162

    92

    2012—Obama Ties in the 39 Smallest Jurisdictions

    In 2012, the 54,209,884 votes cast in the 39 smallest jurisdictions divided almost equally:

  • 26,578,682 votes were for Obama, and
  • 27,631,202 were for Romney.
  • Romney’s 1,052,520-vote margin in the 39 smallest jurisdictions give him a slender 51%–49% win from the 54,209,884 votes cast in those states.

    Having fought Romney to a near-tie in the 39 smallest jurisdictions, Obama then won the 12 biggest states by a margin of 6,019,465 votes (out of 72,618,625 votes cast in those states), thereby ending up with a margin of victory of 4,966,945 in the national popular vote.

    Table 9.35 shows the popular vote for Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama in the 2012 election in the 39 smallest jurisdictions.

    Table 9.35 Results of the 2012 election in the 39 smallest jurisdictions.

    State

    Romney

    Obama

    R percent

    R Margin

    D Margin

    R EV

    D EV

    Washington

    1,290,670

    1,755,396

    42.4%

     

    464,726

     

    12

    Arizona

    1,233,654

    1,025,232

    54.6%

    208,422

     

    11

     

    Indiana

    1,420,543

    1,152,887

    55.2%

    267,656

     

    11

     

    Massachusetts

    1,188,314

    1,921,290

    38.2%

     

    732,976

     

    11

    Tennessee

    1,462,330

    960,709

    60.4%

    501,621

     

    11

     

    Maryland

    971,869

    1,677,844

    36.7%

     

    705,975

     

    10

    Minnesota

    1,320,225

    1,546,167

    46.1%

     

    225,942

     

    10

    Missouri

    1,482,440

    1,223,796

    54.8%

    258,644

     

    10

     

    Wisconsin

    1,410,966

    1,620,985

    46.5%

     

    210,019

     

    10

    Alabama

    1,255,925

    795,696

    61.2%

    460,229

     

    9

     

    Colorado

    1,185,050

    1,322,998

    47.2%

     

    137,948

     

    9

    South Carolina

    1,071,645

    865,941

    55.3%

    205,704

     

    9

     

    Kentucky

    1,087,190

    679,370

    61.5%

    407,820

     

    8

     

    Louisiana

    1,152,262

    809,141

    58.7%

    343,121

     

    8

     

    Connecticut

    634,892

    905,083

    41.2%

     

    270,191

     

    7

    Oklahoma

    891,325

    443,547

    66.8%

    447,778

     

    7

     

    Oregon

    754,175

    970,488

    43.7%

     

    216,313

     

    7

    Arkansas

    647,744

    394,409

    62.2%

    253,335

     

    6

     

    Iowa

    730,617

    822,544

    47.0%

     

    91,927

     

    6

    Kansas

    692,634

    440,726

    61.1%

    251,908

     

    6

     

    Mississippi

    710,746

    562,949

    55.8%

    147,797

     

    6

     

    Nevada

    463,567

    531,373

    46.6%

     

    67,806

     

    6

    Utah

    740,600

    251,813

    74.6%

    488,787

     

    6

     

    Nebraska

    475,064

    302,081

    61.1%

    172,983

     

    5

     

    New Mexico

    335,788

    415,335

    44.7%

     

    79,547

     

    5

    West Virginia

    417,584

    238,230

    63.7%

    179,354

     

    5

     

    Hawaii

    121,015

    306,658

    28.3%

     

    185,643

     

    4

    Idaho

    420,911

    212,787

    66.4%

    208,124

     

    4

     

    Maine

    292,276

    401,306

    42.1%

     

    109,030

     

    4

    New Hampshire

    329,918

    369,561

    47.2%

     

    39,643

     

    4

    Rhode Island

    157,204

    279,677

    36.0%

     

    122,473

     

    4

    Alaska

    164,676

    122,640

    57.3%

    42,036

     

    3

     

    Delaware

    165,484

    242,584

    40.6%

     

    77,100

     

    3

    D.C.

    21,381

    267,070

    7.4%

     

    245,689

     

    3

    Montana

    267,928

    201,839

    57.0%

    66,089

     

    3

     

    North Dakota

    188,320

    124,966

    60.1%

    63,354

     

    3

     

    South Dakota

    210,610

    145,039

    59.2%

    65,571

     

    3

     

    Vermont

    92,698

    199,239

    31.8%

     

    106,541

     

    3

    Wyoming

    170,962

    69,286

    71.2%

    101,676

     

    3

     

    Total

    27,631,202

    26,578,682

    51.0%

     

     

    137

    118

    Table 9.36 shows the popular vote for Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama in the 2012 election in the 12 biggest states.

    Table 9.36 Results of the 2012 election in the 12 biggest states

    State

    Romney

    Obama

    R percent

    R Margin

    D Margin

    R EV

    D EV

    Virginia

    1,822,522

    1,971,820

    48.0%

     

    149,298

     

    13

    New Jersey

    1,478,088

    2,122,786

    41.0%

     

    644,698

     

    14

    North Carolina

    2,270,395

    2,178,391

    51.0%

    92,004

     

    15

     

    Georgia

    2,078,688

    1,773,827

    54.0%

    304,861

     

    16

     

    Michigan

    2,115,256

    2,564,569

    45.2%

     

    449,313

     

    16

    Ohio

    2,661,407

    2,827,621

    48.5%

     

    166,214

     

    18

    Illinois

    2,135,216

    3,019,512

    41.4%

     

    884,296

     

    20

    Pennsylvania

    2,680,434

    2,990,274

    47.3%

     

    309,840

     

    20

    Florida

    4,162,341

    4,235,965

    49.6%

     

    73,624

     

    29

    New York

    2,485,432

    4,471,871

    35.7%

     

    1,986,439

     

    29

    Texas

    4,569,843

    3,308,124

    58.0%

    1,261,719

     

    38

     

    California

    4,839,958

    7,854,285

    38.1%

     

    3,014,327

     

    55

    Total

    33,299,580

    39,319,045

    45.9%

     

     

    69

    214

    Appendix HH presents the 2012 two-party presidential vote for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in alphabetical order. [576] See table 9.45 for the presidential vote for Barack Obama (D), Mitt Romney (R), Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), and the other 22 minor-party and independent candidates who were on the ballot in 2012 in at least one state.

    Erroneous Statements about Big States May Possibly Be the Result of Misunderstanding the Way that the National Popular Vote Compact Operates

    The four statements quoted at the beginning of this section are so far removed from what actually happens in the real world that we should mention the following possibility. It is possible that all four statements quoted at the beginning of this section are based on a total misunderstanding of how the National Popular Vote compact would operate.

    The National Popular Vote compact would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (270 of 538).

    The assertion that the National Popular Vote compact would

    “give a handful of populous states a controlling majority of the Electoral College”

    could conceivably be true if the National Popular Vote compact were written so that it counted only the popular votes of the states belonging to the compact. If that were the case (and it is not) and if one makes the additional implausible assumption that the compact consisted only of the 12 biggest states, the four statements would be true. However, the National Popular Vote compact would not operate that way even if only the 12 biggest states belonged to the compact.

    The National Popular Vote compact would add up the votes cast in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine the national popular-vote winner regardless of whether a state is a member of the compact. Under the National Popular Vote compact, every vote in all 50 states would be counted in arriving at the national popular vote total for each candidate. Under the National Popular Vote compact, there would be nothing special about a vote cast in the member states (or in the 12 biggest states) in comparison to votes cast anywhere else. Every vote would be equal throughout the United States under the National Popular Vote compact.

    Note also that the National Popular Vote compact has not been enacted primarily by big states. As of 2012, the compact has been enacted by nine jurisdictions, including three small jurisdictions (Hawaii, Vermont, and the District of Columbia), three medium-sized states (Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington state), and three of the 12 biggest states (California, Illinois, and New Jersey).

    Role of Big Cities

    Many of the critics of a nationwide popular vote for President who argue that the 12 biggest states would control a nationwide election for President also claim that big cities, such as Los Angeles, would control a nationwide election.

    Big cities, such as Los Angeles, do not even control California elections, as evidenced by the historical fact that Republicans Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were all elected Governor without ever carrying Los Angeles (or San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, or most of the other big cities in the state). If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in its own state, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    While is certainly true that most of the biggest cities in the country vote Democratic, smaller cities and towns, exurbs, rural areas, and many suburbs usually vote Republican.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, every Governor and every U.S. Senator would be a Democrat in every state with a significant city. There are, of course, examples from every state with a significant city, of Republicans winning races for Governor and U.S. Senator without ever carrying the state’s biggest city.

    The origins of the myth about big cities may stem from the incorrect belief that big cities are bigger than they actually are, and that big cities account for a greater fraction of the nation’s population than they actually do.

    A look at our country’s actual demographics contradicts these misconceptions concerning big cities.

    Table 9.37 shows the population of the nation’s 50 biggest cities according to the 2010 census.

    Table 9.37 Population of the 50 biggest U.S. cities

    Rank

    City

    2010 Population

    1

    New York

    8,175,133

    2

    Los Angeles

    3,792,621

    3

    Chicago

    2,695,598

    4

    Houston

    2,099,451

    5

    Philadelphia

    1,526,006

    6

    Phoenix

    1,445,632

    7

    San Antonio

    1,327,407

    8

    San Diego

    1,307,402

    9

    Dallas

    1,197,816

    10

    San Jose

    945,942

    11

    Jacksonville

    821,784

    12

    Indianapolis

    820,445

    13

    Austin

    790,390

    14

    San Francisco

    805,235

    15

    Columbus

    787,033

    16

    Fort Worth

    741,206

    17

    Charlotte

    731,424

    18

    Detroit

    713,777

    19

    El Paso

    649,121

    20

    Memphis

    646,889

    21

    Boston

    617,594

    22

    Seattle

    608,660

    23

    Denver

    600,158

    24

    Baltimore

    620,961

    25

    Washington

    601,723

    26

    Nashville

    601,222

    27

    Louisville

    597,337

    28

    Milwaukee

    594,833

    29

    Portland

    583,776

    30

    Oklahoma City

    579,999

    31

    Las Vegas

    583,756

    32

    Albuquerque

    545,852

    33

    Tucson

    520,116

    34

    Fresno

    494,665

    35

    Sacramento

    466,488

    36

    Long Beach

    462,257

    37

    Kansas City

    459,787

    38

    Mesa

    439,041

    39

    Virginia Beach

    437,994

    40

    Atlanta

    420,003

    41

    Colorado Springs

    416,427

    42

    Raleigh

    403,892

    43

    Omaha

    408,958

    44

    Miami

    399,457

    45

    Tulsa

    391,906

    46

    Oakland

    390,724

    47

    Cleveland

    396,815

    48

    Minneapolis

    382,578

    49

    Wichita

    382,368

    50

    Arlington, Texas

    365,438

    Total

     

    46,795,097

    The combined population of the nation’s five biggest cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia) constitutes only 6% of the nation’s population of 308,745,538 (based on the 2010 census).

    The combined population of the 20 biggest cities constitutes only 10% of the nation’s population. To put this group of 20 cities in perspective, Memphis is the nation’s 20th biggest city. Memphis had a population of 646,889 in 2010.

    The combined population of the 50 biggest cities constitutes only 15% of the nation’s population. To put this group of 50 cities in perspective, Arlington, Texas, is the nation’s 50th biggest city (and had a population of 365,438 in 2010).

    To put it another way, 85% of the population of the United States lives in places with a population of less than 365,000 (the population of Arlington, Texas).

    Moreover, the population of the nation’s 50 biggest cities is declining. In 2000, the 50 biggest cities together accounted for 19% of the nation’s population (compared to 15% in 2010).

    Even if one makes the far-fetched assumption that a candidate could win 100% of the votes in the nation’s 50 biggest cities, that candidate would win only 15% of the national popular vote.

    In a nationwide vote for President, a vote cast in a big city would be no more (or less) valuable or controlling than a vote cast in a suburb, an exurb, a small town, or a rural area.

    When every vote is equal and the winner is the candidate who receives the most popular votes, candidates know that they need to solicit voters throughout their entire constituency in order to win.

    Perhaps the most convincing evidence for the fact that big cities do not control elections comes from looking at the way that presidential races are actually run today.

    Inside a battleground state in a presidential election today, every vote is equal, and the winner is the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

    When presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of a closely divided battleground state, they campaign throughout the state. The big cities do not receive all the attention—much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami have certainly not received all the attention when presidential candidates have campaigned in the closely divided battleground states of Ohio and Florida. Moreover, Cleveland and Miami manifestly do not control the statewide outcomes in Ohio and Florida, as evidenced by the outcome of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections in those states. The Democrats carried both Cleveland and Miami in 2000 and 2004, but the Republicans carried both states. In fact, Senator John Kerry won the five biggest cities in Ohio in 2004, but he did not win the state.

    In summary, under the National Popular Vote compact, every vote would be equal throughout the United States. Votes cast in all 50 states and the District of Columbia would be added together to determine the national popular vote winner. A vote cast a big city or big state would be no more, or less, valuable or “controlling” than a vote cast anywhere else.

    31.7  MYTH: Candidates would concentrate on Democratic-leaning metropolitan markets because of lower advertising costs.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • The cost per impression of television advertising (by far the costliest component of presidential campaigns) is generally higher—not lower—in major metropolitan media markets.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    John Samples of the Cato Institute has stated:

    “NPV will encourage presidential campaigns to focus their efforts in dense media markets where costs per vote are lowest.…

    “In general, because of the relative costs of attracting votes, the NPV proposal seems likely at the margin to attract candidate attention to populous states.” [577] [Emphasis added]

    Claremont College Professor Michael Uhlmann stated in a January 20, 2012, debate at the Sutherland Institute in Salt Lake City:

    “Under the National Popular Vote system, necessarily, there’s going to be tilting toward where the greater masses of votes are contained—in the larger cities and the immediate suburbs. That’s where the votes are. That’s where they can be reached the most cheaply. That’s where the maximum bang for the media buck gets paid. I think that’s the likely tendency.” [578] [Emphasis added]

    The arguments made by both Samples and Uhlmann are contrary to the facts.

    Television advertising (by far the costliest component of presidential campaigns) is generally higher on a per-impression basis in the larger media markets than in smaller markets.

    Based on 488 quotations from television stations in media markets of various sizes for 30-second prime-time television ads for the weeks of October 15 and 22, 2012, compiled by Ainsley-Shea (a Minneapolis public relations firm) in July 2012, the average cost per impression was:

  • 4.235 cents for the 1st–5th markets,
  • 4.099 cents for the 26th–30th markets, and
  • 3.892 cents for the 101st–105th markets.
  • The details of television advertising costs in the 1st, 26th, and 101st largest media markets further illustrate the conclusion that television advertising is generally more expensive in the larger media markets than in smaller markets.

    Table 9.38 shows the cost of a 30-second prime-time television slot in New York City—the nation’s No. 1 media market. Columns 1, 2, and 3 show the station, the time of day (all P.M.), and the program name, respectively. Columns 4, 5, and 6 show the rating, [579] share, and gross rating points (GRP), respectively, for adults age 18 and older. Column 7 shows the cost of the slot. Column 8 shows the cost per 1,000 impressions (that is, the cost in column 7 divided by the media market’s population of 15,334,000). The average cost for New York City was $51.90 per 1,000 impressions—5.190 cents per impression.

    Table 9.38 Television ads in New York City—the nation’s No. 1 media market—averaged 5.190 cents per impression.

    Program

    Castle

    Happy Endings

    Nashville

    Grey's Anatomy

    Shark Tank

    ABC College Football

    America's Funniest Home Videos

    The Voice

    Parenthood

    Law & Order SVU

    Rock Center

    Dateline FR–NBC

    Dateline

    NFL Regular Season Football

    How I met your mother/Partners

    Vegas

    Survivors

    BIG BANG–CBS/RLS–ENGMNT–CBS

    CSI:NY

    Average

    The Mentalist

    90210/Gossip Girl

    Hart of Dixie/Emily Owens

    Arrow/Supernatural

    Vampire Diaries/Beauty

    Top Model/Nikita

    Friends

    Seinfeld

    Total

    Station

    Time

    Rating

    Share

    Gross rating points

    Cost

    Cost per 1000

    WABC

    M 10–11

    4.2

    13.0%

    8.4

    $60,027

    $46.58

    WABC

    Tu 9–10

    7.4

    16.0%

    14.8

    $70,032

    $31.06

    WABC

    W 10–11

    4.4

    10.2%

    8.8

    $70,032

    $51.55

    WABC

    Th 9–10

    5.1

    11.1%

    10.2

    $100,045

    $63.94

    WABC

    F 8–9

    1.4

    4.0%

    2.8

    $36,016

    $81.45

    WABC

    Sa 8–11

    1

    3.8%

    2

    $24,011

    $74.53

    WABC

    Su 7–8

    1.3

    4.4%

    2.6

    $20,009

    $49.26

    WNBC

    M 8–10

    1.3

    3.6%

    2.6

    $80,036

    $203.05

    WNBC

    Tu 10–11

    2.8

    6.4%

    5.6

    $45,020

    $52.45

    WNBC

    W 9–10

    3.4

    7.5%

    6.8

    $60,027

    $57.14

    WNBC

    Th 10–11

    2.6

    6.1%

    5.2

    $30,014

    $37.50

    WNBC

    F 10–11

    2

    5.0%

    4

    $25,011

    $41.67

    WNBC

    Sa 9–10

    1

    3.6%

    2

    $15,007

    $49.02

    WNBC

    Su 8:15–11:30

    6.8

    20.1%

    13.6

    $100,045

    $47.98

    WCBS

    M 8–9

    4.1

    12.0%

    8.2

    $60,027

    $47.85

    WCBS

    Tu 10–11

    4.9

    11.1%

    9.8

    $50,023

    $33.47

    WCBS

    W 8–9

    3.6

    8.8%

    7.2

    $50,023

    $45.37

    WCBS

    Th 8–9

    5.6

    13.3%

    11.2

    $80,036

    $46.78

    WCBS

    F 8–9

    3.3

    9.2%

    6.6

    $30,014

    $29.41

    WCBS

    Sa 9–10

    2.2

    7.9%

    4.4

    $13,006

    $19.40

    WCBS

    Su 10–11

    3.2

    9.7%

    6.4

    $60,027

    $61.60

    WPIX

    M 8–10

    0.8

    2.2%

    1.6

    $28,013

    $115.70

    WPIX

    Tu 8–10

    1.1

    2.5%

    2.2

    $28,013

    $81.87

    WPIX

    W 8–10

    0.7

    1.7%

    1.4

    $28,013

    $127.27

    WPIX

    Th 8–10

    2.4

    5.4%

    4.8

    $28,013

    $38.25

    WPIX

    F 8–10

    0.8

    2.2%

    1.6

    $17,008

    $66.93

    WPIX

    Sa 8–10

    0.2

    0.9%

    0.4

    $17,008

    $223.68

    WPIX

    Su 8–10

    0.3

    0.9%

    0.6

    $17,008

    $173.47

     

     

     

     

    155.8

    $1,241,558

    $51.90

    The similarly computed cost of a 30-second prime-time television slot in Los Angeles—the nation’s No. 2 media market—averaged $56.53 per 1,000 impressions—5.653 cents per impression.

    Table 9.39 shows the cost of a 30-second prime-time television slot in Indianapolis—the nation’s No. 26 media market. Column 8 shows the cost per 1,000 impressions (that is, the cost in column 7 divided by the market’s population of 2,094,000). The average cost for Indianapolis was $39.80 per 1,000 impressions—3.980 cents per impression.

    Table 9.39 Television ads in Indianapolis—the nation’s No. 26 media market—averaged 3.980 cents per impression.

    Station

    Time

    Program

    Rating

    Share

    Gross rating points

    Cost

    Cost per 1000

    WRTV

    M 8–10

    Dancing with the Stars

    8.5

    15.6%

    17

    $16,007

    $44.94

    WRTV

    Tu 10–11

    Private Practice

    6

    12.6%

    12

    $16,007

    $63.49

    WRTV

    W 10–11

    Nashville

    5.5

    12.6%

    11

    $16,007

    $69.57

    WRTV

    Th 9–10

    Grey's Anatomy

    6.8

    12.4%

    13.6

    $20,009

    $70.42

    WRTV

    F 9–10

    Primetime

    2

    4.4%

    4

    $10,005

    $119.05

    WRTV

    Sa 8–11

    Saturday Movie

    2.7

    7.1%

    5.4

    $4,802

    $42.86

    WRTV

    Su 7–8

    America's Funniest Home Videos

    2.2

    4.8%

    4.4

    $12,005

    $130.43

    WTHR

    M 10–11

    Revolution

    3.2

    7.1%

    6.4

    $6,003

    $44.78

    WTHR

    Tu 10–11

    Parenthood–NBC

    4

    8.4%

    8

    $8,004

    $47.62

    WTHR

    W 9–10

    Law & Order

    6

    12.1%

    12

    $7,003

    $27.78

    WTHR

    Th 9–10

    Office/Parks & Recreation

    4.4

    8.1%

    8.8

    $8,004

    $43.48

    WTHR

    F 10–11

    Dateline FR–NBC

    2.9

    7.2%

    5.8

    $4,002

    $33.33

    WTHR

    Sa 8–9

    NBC Encores

    2.3

    6.4%

    4.6

    $2,401

    $25.00

    WISH

    M 10–11

    Hawaii 5–0–CBS

    6.2

    13.9%

    12.4

    $5,002

    $19.08

    WISH

    Tu 9–10

    NCIS:LA–CBS

    9

    17.7%

    18

    $8,004

    421.28

    WISH

    W 10–11

    CSI

    5.8

    13.1%

    11.6

    $6,003

    $25.00

    WISH

    Th 9–10

    PERSON–INT–CBS

    6

    11.0%

    12

    $10,005

    $39.68

    WISH

    F 8–9

    CSI:NY

    4.2

    10.9%

    8.4

    $3,201

    $18.18

    WISH

    Sa 10–11

    48 Hours

    4.5

    12.0%

    9

    $2,001

    $10.64

    WISH

    Su 9–10

    The Good Wife

    7

    11.7%

    14

    $7,003

    $23.81

    WTTV+S2

    M–Su 8–11

    Average

    1.2

    2.6%

    16.8

    $7,003

    $19.23

     

     

    Total

     

     

    215.2

    $178,480

    39.80

    Table 9.40 shows the cost of a 30-second prime-time television slot in the nation’s No. 101 media market—Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers, Arkansas. Column 8 shows the cost per 1,000 impressions (that is, the cost in column 7 divided by the market’s population of 573,000). The average cost for this market is $30.84 per 1,000 impressions—3.084 cents per impression.

    Table 9.40 Television ads in the Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers, Arkansas market—the nation’s No. 101 media market—averaged 3.084 cents per impression.

    Station

    Time

    Program

    Rating

    Share

    Gross rating points

    Cost

    Cost per 1000

    KHBS+S2

    M 9–10

    Castle

    8.7

    19.7%

    17.4

    $2,401

    $24.00

    KHBS+S2

    Tu 9–10

    Private Practice

    6.4

    14.9%

    12.8

    $2,401

    $32.43

    KHBS+S2

    W 9–10

    Nashville

    5.7

    15.2%

    11.4

    $2,601

    $39.39

    KHBS+S2

    Th 8–9

    Grey's Anatomy

    5.6

    12.0%

    11.2

    $3,602

    $56.25

    KHBS+S2

    F 8–9

    Shark Tank

    2.3

    6.1%

    4.6

    $700

    $26.92

    Su 6–7

    America's Funniest Home Videos

    3.8

    10.7%

    7.6

    $1,201

    $27.27

    KNWA

    M 9–10

    ROCK–WLLMS–NBC

    1.4

    3.2%

    2.8

    $1,921

    $120.00

    KNWA

    Tu 9–10

    Parenthood–NBC

    2.5

    5.8%

    5

    $3,602

    $128.57

    KNWA

    W 9–10

    AVG. ALL WKS

    1.5

    4.1%

    3

    $1,501

    $83.33

    KNWA

    Th 9–10

    PRIME SUSP–NBC

    1.2

    2.9%

    2.4

    $1,201

    $85.71

    KNWA

    F 8–9

    GRIMM–NBC

    3.9

    10.1%

    7.8

    $1,501

    $34.09

    KFSM

    M 7–8

    HW I–MOTHR–CBS/2BROKE GRL–CBS

    8.4

    18.3%

    16.8

    $1,601

    $16.67

    KFSM

    Tu 7–8

    NCIS–CBS

    14

    31.6%

    28

    $2,401

    $15.00

    KFSM

    W 8–9

    Criminal Minds

    5.5

    14.2%

    11

    $1,801

    $28.13

    KFSM

    Th 8–9

    PERSON–INT–CBS

    9.5

    20.4%

    19

    $1,901

    $17.59

    KFSM

    F 7–8

    CSI

    5.5

    17.1%

    11

    $1,201

    $18.75

    KFSM

    Sa 9–10

    48 Hour Mystery

    4.5

    12.7%

    9

    $1,000

    $19.23

    KFSM

    Su 9–10

    The Mentalist

    6.5

    15.8%

    13

    $1,901

    $25.68

     

     

    Total

     

     

    193.8

    $34,435

    $30.84

    An NPR story entitled “Ads Slice Up Swing States With Growing Precision” reported on presidential campaigning in Colorado’s small media markets:

    “Republicans outnumber Democrats in El Paso County more than 2 to 1. Barack Obama lost this part of Colorado to John McCain by 19 points in 2008.

    “‘It's not a matter of just winning; it's winning by how much,’ says Rich Beeson, a fifth-generation Coloradan and political director for the Romney campaign.

    “Presidential campaigns know exactly the margin of victory or defeat that they have to hit in each town in order to carry an entire state. Democratic media strategist Tad Devine says campaigns set extremely specific goals based on hard data.…

    “Although no one suggests that President Obama will win Colorado Springs, whether he loses it by 15 or 25 points could determine whether he carries Colorado.

    “Beeson of the Romney campaign says smaller cities are vital to this chess game, especially since they're cheaper to advertise in.

    “‘A lot of secondary markets are very key to the overall map, whether it's a Charlottesville in Virginia or a Colorado Springs in Colorado,’ he says. ‘You can’t ever cede the ground to anyone.’” [580] [Emphasis added]

    Soliciting every available vote is a strategic necessity when the winner of an election is the candidate who receives the most popular votes.

    31.8  MYTH: Only citizens impact the allocation of electoral votes under the current system.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Even though they cannot vote for President, non-citizens impact the allocation of electoral votes. The U.S. Constitution requires that the census count all “persons”—including non-citizens—for the purpose of apportioning electoral votes among the states.
  • Under the current method of electing the President, legal voters in states that acquired additional electoral votes (because of the disproportionate presence of non-citizens in their states) deliver additional electoral votes to their candidate. Voters in states that lost electoral votes have correspondingly less influence.
  • Five states with disproportionally large numbers of non-citizens (relative to other states) acquired additional electoral votes as a result of the 2010 census, while 10 states each lost one electoral vote.
  • Overall, the Democrats have a net 10 electoral-vote advantage in the 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections from the 15 states whose representation was affected by the counting of non-citizens in allocating electoral votes among the states.
  • The National Popular Vote compact would eliminate the distortion in presidential elections caused by the disproportionate presence of non-citizens in certain states.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    Under federal law, non-citizens cannot vote in presidential elections. Nonetheless, non-citizens significantly impact presidential elections because they affect the allocation of electoral votes among the states.

    As Professor George C. Edwards III has pointed out:

    “Representation in the House is based on the decennial census, which counts all residents—whether citizens or not.… States … where non-citizens compose a larger percentage of the population receive more electoral votes than they would if electoral votes were allocated on the basis of the number of a state’s citizens.” [581]

    The U.S. Constitution requires that the census be used to determine each state’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Each state receives a number of electoral votes equal to the state’s number of U.S. Representatives plus two (representing the state’s two U.S. Senators).

    The Constitution specifies that the census count all “persons,” thereby including non-citizens living in the United States in the count:

    “Representatives … shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” [582], [583] [Emphasis added]

    The Census Bureau uses a mathematical formula (specified by a federal statute adopted in 1941) known as the “method of equal proportions” to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives automatically among the states. [584]

    A state having a disproportionally large number of non-citizens (relative to other states) acquires additional U.S. House seats and, hence, additional electoral votes.

    Because of the winner-take-all rule, legal voters in a state that acquired additional electoral votes by virtue of the disproportionate presence of non-citizens deliver an enlarged bloc of electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in their state. That is, the influence of the legal voters is increased because of the presence of non-citizens.

    Similarly, legal voters in a state that lost electoral votes deliver a diminished bloc of electoral votes.

    The apportionment of the U.S. House and Electoral College resulting from the 2010 census governs the 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections.

    Professor Leonard Steinhorn of American University has computed the effect of non-citizens on presidential elections. He plugged American Community Survey data on the number of citizens and non-citizens in each state in 2010 into the statutory formula to apportion U.S. House seat among the states. [585]

    In an article entitled “Without Voting, Noncitizens Could Swing the Election for Obama,” Steinhorn found that non-citizens affected the number of electoral votes possessed by 15 states.

    Five states gained between one and five electoral votes, and 10 states each lost one electoral vote because of non-citizens.

    Overall, the Democrats have a net 10 electoral-vote advantage in the 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections from the 15 states whose representation was affected by the counting of non-citizens in allocating electoral votes among the states.

    Democratic non-battleground states gained 7 electoral votes:

  • +5 for California
  • +1 for New York
  • +1 for Washington state.
  • Republican non-battleground states lost 3 electoral votes:

  • +2 for Texas.
  • –1 for Indiana
  • –1 for Missouri
  • –1 for Louisiana
  • –1 for Montana
  • –1 for Oklahoma.
  • Six battleground states were affected:

  • +1 Florida
  • –1 for Iowa
  • –1 for Michigan
  • –1 for North Carolina
  • –1 for Ohio
  • –1 for Pennsylvania.
  • Battleground states can, by definition, go either way, and therefore do not constitute a built-in advantage to either party.

    Excluding non-citizens from the calculation used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives would require a federal constitutional amendment.

    The National Popular Vote compact would eliminate the distortion in presidential elections caused by the disproportionate presence of non-citizens in certain states. Nationwide voting for President would equalize the vote of every legal voter in the country by guaranteeing the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    31.9  MYTH: The Republican Party has a lock on the Electoral College.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • An argument became prevalent during the 1980s that the Republican Party had a permanent “lock” on the Electoral College because numerous states had repeatedly voted Republican for President between 1968 and 1988.
  • Current political data do not support the notion of the existence of an “electoral lock” today in favor of the Republican Party.
  • Neither party has a lock on the Electoral College because the United States is, politically, an evenly divided country in which the cumulative nationwide vote for the two parties from the start of the modern political era in 1932 through 2008 has been virtually tied.
  • To the extent that this kind of “electoral lock” argument has a small element of validity, if the Electoral College map of 2012 were to persist, the electoral map would, if anything, be slightly unfavorable to the Republican Party. Of the 32 states that voted for the same party in all six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012, 19 states (possessing 242 electoral votes) voted Democratic in all six presidential elections, and 13 states (possessing 102 electoral votes) voted Republican in all six presidential elections. If the 2016 presidential election is conducted under the state-by-state winner-take-all rule and is reasonably close, it is likely that all (or almost all) of the 32 states that have voted for the same party in the past six presidential elections will continue to support that same party.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    An argument became prevalent during the 1980s that the Republican Party had a permanent “lock” on the Electoral College because a large number of states had repeatedly voted Republican for President between 1968 and 1988.

    The notion of a “lock” arose from the fact that Republicans won five of the six presidential elections during this period, and that Republicans won landslide victories in 1972 and 1984.

    In fact, neither party has a lock on the Electoral College because the United States is, politically, an evenly divided country in which the cumulative nationwide vote for the two parties from the start of the modern political era in 1932 through 2008 (table 9.25) has been virtually tied:

  • 746,260,766 total votes for the Democrats and
  • 745,502,654 total votes for the Republicans.
  • The Republican Party won five of the six presidential elections between 1972 and 1984. The reason for this result was that more voters (often in landslide numbers) voted for the Republican nominee during that period—not because of the mechanics of the Electoral College.

    In any event, the Republican Party does not have any such “electoral lock” today.

    To the extent that this kind of “electoral lock” argument has a small element of validity, if the Electoral College map of 2012 were to persist, the electoral map would, if anything, be slightly be unfavorable to the Republican Party.

    Table 9.41 shows that 32 states that voted for the same party in all six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012. These 32 states possess about two-thirds (64%) of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. Of these 32 states, 19 states (possessing 242 electoral votes after the 2010 census) voted Democratic in all six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012, and 13 states (possessing 102 electoral votes after the 2010 census) voted Republican in the six elections. The table is organized in terms of number of elections (from zero to six) in which a state voted Democratic. The number of electoral votes shown in the table are those applicable to the 2012 election.

    Table 9.41 The 32 states that voted for the same party in the six presidential elections between 1992 and 2012

    Dem 6 times

    Dem 5 times

    Dem 4 times

    Dem 3 times

    Dem 2 times

    Dem 1 time

    Dem 0 times

    CA (55)

    CT (7)

    DE (3)

    D.C. (3)

    HI (4)

    IL (20)

    MA (11)

    ME (4)

    MD (10)

    MI (16)

    MN (10)

    NJ (14)

    NY (29)

    OR (7)

    PA (20)

    RI (4)

    VT (3)

    WA (12)

    WI (10)

    IA (6)

    NH (4)

    NM (5)

    NV (6)

    OH (18)

     

    CO (9)

    FL (29)

     

    AR (6)

    KY (8)

    LA (8)

    MO (10)

    TN (11)

    VA (13)

    WV (5)

    AZ (11)

    GA(16)

    IN (11)

    MT (3)

    NC (15)

    AL (9)

    AK (3)

    ID (4)

    KS (6)

    MS (6)

    NE (5)

    ND (3)

    OK (7)

    SC (9)

    SD (3)

    TX (38)

    UT (6)

    WY (3)

    242 EV

    15 EV

    24 EV

    Β 38EV

    61 EV

    56 EV

    102 EV

    Table 9.41 reflects one aspect of the current polarization of American politics. One possible cause of this polarization may be the tendency, discussed in Bill Bishop’s book The Big Sort, of like-minded Americans to cluster together geographically. [586]

    Regardless of the causes behind the behavior shown in table 9.41, if the 2016 presidential election is conducted under the state-by-state winner-take-all rule and is reasonably close, it is likely that most of the 32 states that have voted consistently for the same party in the past six presidential elections would continue to support that same party. [587]

    In any event, table 9.41 certainly does not support the notion of the existence today of an “electoral lock” in favor of the Republican Party.

    Table 9.42 shows a simulation of the 2012 presidential election produced by applying a tie-producing uniform shift to actual election returns (as shown in table 9.35, table 9.36, table 9.45, and appendix HH). In 2012, Governor Romney received 48.0418657% of the two-party national popular vote—a shortfall of 1.9581343%. Column 2 shows the simulated figures for Romney obtained by applying a uniform upward adjustment of 1.9581343% to Romney’s actual vote in each state (and a corresponding downward adjustment to Obama’s actual vote in each state), thereby producing a virtual tie in the national popular vote (63,414,254 to 63,414,255). Column 4 shows Romney’s percentage of the two-party vote using this method of simulation. Columns 5 and 6 show the Republican and Democratic margins, respectively, for each state using this method of simulation. Columns 7 and 8 show the Republican and Democratic electoral votes, respectively, for each state using this method of simulation. The table is sorted according to the simulated Republican percentage in column 4.

    Table 9.42 Simulated tie-producing uniform shift of 2012 election data

    State

    Romney

    Obama

    R-percent

    R- Margin

    D-Margin

    R-EV

    D-EV

    D.C.

    27,029

    261,422

    9.37%

     

    234,392

     

    3

    HI

    129,389

    298,284

    30.25%

     

    168,894

     

    4

    VT

    98,415

    193,522

    33.71%

     

    95,108

     

    3

    NY

    2,621,665

    4,335,638

    37.68%

     

    1,713,972

     

    29

    RI

    165,759

    271,122

    37.94%

     

    105,364

     

    4

    MD

    1,023,754

    1,625,959

    38.64%

     

    602,205

     

    10

    CA

    5,088,528

    7,605,715

    40.09%

     

    2,517,186

     

    55

    MA

    1,249,204

    1,860,400

    40.17%

     

    611,196

     

    11

    DE

    173,475

    234,593

    42.51%

     

    61,119

     

    3

    NJ

    1,548,598

    2,052,276

    43.01%

     

    503,678

     

    14

    CT

    665,047

    874,928

    43.19%

     

    209,881

     

    7

    IL

    2,236,152

    2,918,576

    43.38%

     

    682,423

     

    20

    ME

    305,857

    387,725

    44.10%

     

    81,867

     

    4

    WA

    1,350,316

    1,695,750

    44.33%

     

    345,434

     

    12

    OR

    787,946

    936,717

    45.69%

     

    148,771

     

    7

    NM

    350,496

    400,627

    46.66%

     

    50,131

     

    5

    MI

    2,206,893

    2,472,932

    47.16%

     

    266,038

     

    16

    MN

    1,376,353

    1,490,039

    48.02%

     

    113,686

     

    10

    WI

    1,470,336

    1,561,615

    48.49%

     

    91,280

     

    10

    NV

    483,049

    511,891

    48.55%

     

    28,841

     

    6

    IA

    761,030

    792,131

    49.00%

     

    31,101

     

    6

    NH

    343,615

    355,864

    49.12%

     

    12,250

     

    4

    CO

    1,234,161

    1,273,887

    49.21%

     

    39,726

     

    9

    PA

    2,791,474

    2,879,234

    49.23%

     

    87,760

     

    20

    VA

    1,896,820

    1,897,522

    49.99%

     

    701

     

    13

    OH

    2,768,890

    2,720,138

    50.44%

    48,751

     

    18

     

    FL

    4,326,791

    4,071,515

    51.52%

    255,276

     

    29

     

    NC

    2,357,508

    2,091,278

    52.99%

    266,230

     

    15

     

    GA

    2,154,125

    1,698,390

    55.91%

    455,736

     

    16

     

    AZ

    1,277,886

    981,000

    56.57%

    296,886

     

    11

     

    MO

    1,535,432

    1,170,804

    56.74%

    364,627

     

    10

     

    IN

    1,470,934

    1,102,496

    57.16%

    368,438

     

    11

     

    SC

    1,109,586

    828,000

    57.27%

    281,585

     

    9

     

    MS

    735,687

    538,008

    57.76%

    197,678

     

    6

     

    MT

    277,127

    192,640

    58.99%

    84,486

     

    3

     

    AK

    170,302

    117,014

    59.27%

    53,288

     

    3

     

    TX

    4,724,104

    3,153,863

    59.97%

    1,570,241

     

    38

     

    LA

    1,190,669

    770,734

    60.70%

    419,935

     

    8

     

    SD

    217,574

    138,075

    61.18%

    79,499

     

    3

     

    ND

    194,455

    118,831

    62.07%

    75,623

     

    3

     

    TN

    1,509,776

    913,263

    62.31%

    596,514

     

    11

     

    KS

    714,827

    418,533

    63.07%

    296,293

     

    6

     

    NE

    490,282

    286,863

    63.09%

    203,418

     

    5

     

    AL

    1,296,098

    755,523

    63.17%

    540,576

     

    9

     

    KY

    1,121,782

    644,778

    63.50%

    477,003

     

    8

     

    AR

    668,151

    374,002

    64.11%

    294,149

     

    6

     

    WV

    430,426

    225,388

    65.63%

    205,037

     

    5

     

    ID

    433,320

    200,378

    68.38%

    232,941

     

    4

     

    OK

    917,464

    417,408

    68.73%

    500,055

     

    7

     

    WY

    175,666

    64,582

    73.12%

    111,085

     

    3

     

    UT

    760,033

    232,380

    76.58%

    527,653

     

    6

     

    Total

    63,414,254

    63,414,255

     

     

     

    253

    285

    The result of the tie-producing uniform shift shown in table 9.42 is that President Obama loses Florida (29 electoral votes) and Ohio (18 electoral votes), but still ends up with a 285–253 lead in the Electoral College. Thus, even if Romney had received enough additional voter support to create a tie in the national popular vote (preserving each candidate’s relative profile in each state), Obama would still have ended up with a lead of 28 electoral votes using this method of simulation.

    Table 9.42 also shows that Obama’s lead in Virginia (13 electoral votes) shrinks to an eminently recountable 701 votes (1,897,522 to 1,896,820) using this method of simulation. Even if Romney had won Virginia, Obama would still have had a 272–266 lead in the Electoral College.

    In a second simulation (shown in table 9.43), Romney’s actual results are adjusted uniformly upward by 2.732% in each state (with Obama’s vote receiving a corresponding downward adjustment in each state). This adjustment would give Romney a lead of 1,962,965 votes nationwide (64,395,737 to 62,432,772). This adjustment is just sufficient to move both Virginia and Pennsylvania (by 8 votes) into Romney’s column, thus giving Romney a winning 286–252 margin in the Electoral College. The table is sorted according to the simulated Republican percentage in column 4.

    Table 9.43 Simulated uniform shift producing a 1,962,965-vote nationwide lead for Romney

    State

    Romney

    Obama

    R-percent

    R- Margin

    D-Margin

    R-EV

    D-EV

    D.C.

    29,261

    259,190

    10.14%

     

    229,928

     

    3

    HI

    132,699

    294,974

    31.03%

     

    162,275

     

    4

    VT

    100,674

    191,263

    34.48%

     

    90,590

     

    3

    NY

    2,675,506

    4,281,797

    38.46%

     

    1,606,292

     

    29

    RI

    169,140

    267,741

    38.72%

     

    98,602

     

    4

    MD

    1,044,259

    1,605,454

    39.41%

     

    561,195

     

    10

    CA

    5,186,765

    7,507,478

    40.86%

     

    2,320,714

     

    55

    MA

    1,273,268

    1,836,336

    40.95%

     

    563,067

     

    11

    DE

    176,632

    231,436

    43.29%

     

    54,803

     

    3

    NJ

    1,576,464

    2,024,410

    43.78%

     

    447,946

     

    14

    CT

    676,964

    863,011

    43.96%

     

    186,047

     

    7

    IL

    2,276,043

    2,878,685

    44.15%

     

    602,642

     

    20

    ME

    311,225

    382,357

    44.87%

     

    71,133

     

    4

    WA

    1,373,889

    1,672,177

    45.10%

     

    298,289

     

    12

    OR

    801,293

    923,370

    46.46%

     

    122,077

     

    7

    NM

    356,309

    394,814

    47.44%

     

    38,506

     

    5

    MI

    2,243,109

    2,436,716

    47.93%

     

    193,607

     

    16

    MN

    1,398,535

    1,467,857

    48.79%

     

    69,322

     

    10

    WI

    1,493,799

    1,538,152

    49.27%

     

    44,353

     

    10

    NV

    490,749

    504,191

    49.32%

     

    13,442

     

    6

    IA

    773,049

    780,112

    49.77%

     

    7,062

     

    6

    NH

    349,028

    350,451

    49.90%

     

    1,423

     

    4

    CO

    1,253,570

    1,254,478

    49.98%

     

    908

     

    9

    PA

    2,835,358

    2,835,350

    50.00%

    7

     

    20

     

    VA

    1,926,183

    1,868,159

    50.76%

    58,025

     

    13

     

    OH

    2,811,367

    2,677,661

    51.22%

    133,706

     

    18

     

    FL

    4,391,783

    4,006,523

    52.29%

    385,259

     

    29

     

    NC

    2,391,936

    2,056,850

    53.77%

    335,086

     

    15

     

    GA

    2,183,939

    1,668,576

    56.69%

    515,362

     

    16

     

    AZ

    1,295,367

    963,519

    57.35%

    331,848

     

    11

     

    MO

    1,556,374

    1,149,862

    57.51%

    406,513

     

    10

     

    IN

    1,490,849

    1,082,581

    57.93%

    408,268

     

    11

     

    SC

    1,124,580

    813,006

    58.04%

    311,574

     

    9

     

    MS

    745,543

    528,152

    58.53%

    217,392

     

    6

     

    MT

    280,762

    189,005

    59.77%

    91,757

     

    3

     

    AK

    172,525

    114,791

    60.05%

    57,735

     

    3

     

    TX

    4,785,069

    3,092,898

    60.74%

    1,692,171

     

    38

     

    LA

    1,205,848

    755,555

    61.48%

    450,292

     

    8

     

    SD

    220,326

    135,323

    61.95%

    85,004

     

    3

     

    ND

    196,879

    116,407

    62.84%

    80,472

     

    3

     

    TN

    1,528,527

    894,512

    63.08%

    634,016

     

    11

     

    KS

    723,597

    409,763

    63.85%

    313,835

     

    6

     

    NE

    496,296

    280,849

    63.86%

    215,446

     

    5

     

    AL

    1,311,975

    739,646

    63.95%

    572,330

     

    9

     

    KY

    1,135,452

    631,108

    64.27%

    504,345

     

    8

     

    AR

    676,216

    365,937

    64.89%

    310,278

     

    6

     

    WV

    435,501

    220,313

    66.41%

    215,188

     

    5

     

    ID

    438,224

    195,474

    69.15%

    242,749

     

    4

     

    OK

    927,794

    407,078

    69.50%

    520,715

     

    7

     

    WY

    177,526

    62,722

    73.89%

    114,803

     

    3

     

    UT

    767,713

    224,700

    77.36%

    543,012

     

    6

     

    Total

    64,395,737

    62,432,772

     

     

     

    286

    252

    In other words, it takes a national popular vote lead of almost two million votes to yield a simulated win for Romney in the Electoral College using this method of simulation.

    If Romney’s simulated lead were to be increased slightly beyond the 1,962,965-vote nationwide lead shown in table 9.43, Colorado (nine electoral votes), New Hampshire (four electoral votes), Iowa (six electoral votes), and Nevada (six electoral votes) would move into the Republican column.

    Of course, no future election will exactly replicate the state-by-state percentage contour of the two major parties in 2012. President Obama cannot run for another term, and Governor Romney will almost certainly not be a candidate in 2016. Candidates with different personalities and records will compete on the basis of different issues in a political environment consisting of a different history of immediate past events and changed demographics.

    Nonetheless, the simulations in table 9.42 and table 9.43 certainly do not support the notion of the existence today of an “electoral lock” in favor of the Republican Party.

    31.10          MYTH: The rural states would lose their advantage in the Electoral College under a national popular vote.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • The facts are that the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes diminishes the influence of rural states because rural states are generally not battleground states.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    The mythology that the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is advantageous to rural states is not supported by the facts.

    Tara Ross, an opponent of the National Popular Vote plan, writes:

    “NPV will lessen the need of presidential candidates to obtain the support of voters in rural areas and in small states.”[588] [Emphasis added]

    Hans von Spakovsky has stated:

    “The NPV scheme would … diminish the influence of smaller states and rural areas of the country.” [589]

    The opposite is the case.

    Political influence in the Electoral College is based on whether the state is a closely divided battleground state. The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because most rural states are not battleground states.

    Table 9.44 shows, for each state, the rural population (column 2 using the 2000 definition found in the Statistical Abstract of the United States), the state’s total population (column 3), the rural percentage (column 2 divided by column 3), and the rural index (obtained by dividing the state’s rural percentage by the overall national rural percentage of 20.11%). An index above 100 indicates that the state is more rural than the nation as a whole, whereas an index below 100 indicates that the state is less rural. Thirty-three states have an index above 100 (meaning that more than 20.11% of their population is rural), whereas 18 have an index below 100 (that is, they are less rural than the nation as a whole).

    Table 9.44 Rural population of the United States

    State

    Rural population

    Total population

    Rural percent

    Rural index

    Vermont

    376,379

    621,000

    60.61%

    301

    Maine

    762,045

    1,317,000

    57.86%

    288

    West Virginia

    975,564

    1,815,000

    53.75%

    267

    Mississippi

    1,457,307

    2,903,000

    50.20%

    250

    South Dakota

    363,417

    771,000

    47.14%

    234

    Arkansas

    1,269,221

    2,753,000

    46.10%

    229

    Montana

    414,317

    927,000

    44.69%

    222

    North Dakota

    283,242

    634,000

    44.68%

    222

    Alabama

    1,981,427

    4,530,000

    43.74%

    218

    Kentucky

    1,787,969

    4,146,000

    43.13%

    214

    New Hampshire

    503,451

    1,300,000

    38.73%

    193

    Iowa

    1,138,892

    2,954,000

    38.55%

    192

    South Carolina

    1,584,888

    4,198,000

    37.75%

    188

    North Carolina

    3,199,831

    8,541,000

    37.46%

    186

    Tennessee

    2,069,265

    5,901,000

    35.07%

    174

    Wyoming

    172,438

    507,000

    34.01%

    169

    Oklahoma

    1,196,091

    3,524,000

    33.94%

    169

    Alaska

    215,675

    655,000

    32.93%

    164

    Idaho

    434,456

    1,393,000

    31.19%

    155

    Wisconsin

    1,700,032

    5,509,000

    30.86%

    153

    Missouri

    1,711,769

    5,755,000

    29.74%

    148

    Nebraska

    517,538

    1,747,000

    29.62%

    147

    Indiana

    1,776,474

    6,238,000

    28.48%

    142

    Kansas

    767,749

    2,736,000

    28.06%

    140

    Minnesota

    1,429,420

    5,101,000

    28.02%

    139

    Louisiana

    1,223,311

    4,516,000

    27.09%

    135

    Georgia

    2,322,290

    8,829,000

    26.30%

    131

    Virginia

    1,908,560

    7,460,000

    25.58%

    127

    Michigan

    2,518,987

    10,113,000

    24.91%

    124

    New Mexico

    455,545

    1,903,000

    23.94%

    119

    Pennsylvania

    2,816,953

    12,406,000

    22.71%

    113

    Ohio

    2,570,811

    11,459,000

    22.43%

    112

    Oregon

    727,255

    3,595,000

    20.23%

    101

    Delaware

    155,842

    830,000

    18.78%

    93

    Washington

    1,063,015

    6,204,000

    17.13%

    85

    Texas

    3,647,539

    22,490,000

    16.22%

    81

    Colorado

    668,076

    4,601,000

    14.52%

    72

    Maryland

    737,818

    5,558,000

    13.27%

    66

    New York

    2,373,875

    19,227,000

    12.35%

    61

    Connecticut

    417,506

    3,504,000

    11.92%

    59

    Illinois

    1,509,773

    12,714,000

    11.87%

    59

    Utah

    262,825

    2,389,000

    11.00%

    55

    Arizona

    607,097

    5,744,000

    10.57%

    53

    Florida

    1,712,358

    17,397,000

    9.84%

    49

    Rhode Island

    95,173

    1,081,000

    8.80%

    44

    Massachusetts

    547,730

    6,417,000

    8.54%

    42

    Hawaii

    103,312

    1,263,000

    8.18%

    41

    Nevada

    169,611

    2,335,000

    7.26%

    36

    New Jersey

    475,263

    8,699,000

    5.46%

    27

    California

    1,881,985

    35,894,000

    5.24%

    26

    D.C.

    0

    554,000

    0.00%

    0

    Total

    59,061,367

    293,658,000

    20.11%

    100

    As can be seen from table 9.44, the 10 most rural states are:

  • Vermont (60.61% rural),
  • Maine (57.86% rural),
  • West Virginia (53.75% rural),
  • Mississippi (50.20% rural),
  • South Dakota (47.14% rural),
  • Arkansas (46.10% rural),
  • Montana (44.69% rural),
  • North Dakota (44.68% rural),
  • Alabama (43.74% rural), and
  • Kentucky (43.13% rural).
  • None of the 10 most rural states is a closely divided battleground state. The battleground states that receive attention in presidential campaigns are generally not rural states.

    In contrast, under the National Popular Vote compact, votes cast in rural states would all become politically relevant.

    31.11          MYTH: A national popular vote would be a guarantee of corruption because every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the Presidency.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • Under the current system of electing the President, every vote in every precinct matters inside every battleground state. If it were true that an election in which the winner is the candidate who receives the most popular votes is “a guarantee of corruption,” then we should see today a wealth of evidence of rampant fraud in presidential elections inside every battleground state. Similarly, we should see evidence of rampant fraud today in every gubernatorial election in every state.
  • Executing electoral fraud without detection requires a situation in which a very small number of people can have a very large impact.
  • Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, there are huge incentives for fraud and mischief, because a small number of people in a battleground state can affect enough popular votes to swing all of that state’s electoral votes.
  • In 2004, President George W. Bush had a nationwide lead of 3,012,171 popular votes. However, if 59,393 Bush voters in Ohio had shifted to Senator John Kerry, Kerry would have carried Ohio and thus become President. It would be far easier for potential fraudsters to manufacture 59,393 votes in Ohio than to manufacture 3,012,171 million votes (51 times more votes) nationwide. Moreover, it would be far more difficult to conceal fraud involving three million votes.
  • In 2012, a shift of 214,390 popular votes in four states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire) would have elected Governor Romney as President, despite President Obama’s nationwide lead of almost five million votes. It would be far easier for potential fraudsters to manufacture 214,390 votes in four states than to manufacture five million votes nationwide (23 times more votes). Moreover, it would be far more difficult to conceal fraud involving five million votes.
  • There were seven closely divided battleground states possessing 102 electoral votes that President Obama carried and that had Republican Attorneys General in November 2008. President Obama received 95 more electoral votes than the 270 electoral votes necessary for election. Where were the prosecutions for election fraud in these states in the period immediately following the November 2008 election?
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    The 2012 Republican National Platform states that electing the President by a national popular vote would be

    “a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the Presidency.” [590]

    Under the current system of electing the President, every vote in every ballot box matters inside every closely divided battleground state and therefore today represents “a chance to steal the Presidency.”

    If an election in which the winner is the candidate who receives the most popular votes is “a guarantee of corruption,” then we should see voluminous evidence today of rampant corruption inside every battleground state in every presidential election and, in particular, the elections of 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

    Similarly, every vote in every precinct matters in gubernatorial elections today in all 50 states. If conducting a popular-vote election is “a guarantee of corruption,” then we should see evidence today of rampant fraud in every gubernatorial election in all 50 states.

    Executing electoral fraud without detection requires a situation in which a very small number of people can have a very large impact. Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, there is a huge payoff for fraud and mischief in the closely divided battleground states, because a small number of people in a battleground state can use a small number of popular votes to flip 100% of that state’s electoral votes.

    Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, those who wish to cheat know exactly where they need to go in order to potentially sway the national outcome (namely the battleground states).

    In 2012, a shift of 214,390 popular votes in four states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire) would have elected Governor Romney as President, despite President Obama’s nationwide lead of 4,966,945 votes. [591] It would be far easier for potential fraudsters to manufacture 214,390 votes in four states than to manufacture five million votes nationwide (23 times more votes). Moreover, it would be far more difficult to conceal fraud involving five million votes.

    In 2004, President George W. Bush had a nationwide lead of 3,012,171 popular votes. However, if 59,393 Bush voters in Ohio had shifted to Senator John Kerry, Kerry would have carried Ohio and thus become President. It would be far easier for potential fraudsters to manufacture 59,393 votes in Ohio than to manufacture 3,012,171 million votes (51 times more votes) nationwide. Moreover, it would be far more difficult to conceal fraud involving three million votes.

    In 2000, a significant number of electoral votes were determined by a relatively small number of popular votes:

    Florida537 votes,

    Iowa4,144 votes,

    New Hampshire7,211 votes,

    New Mexico366 votes,

    Oregon6,765 votes, and

    Wisconsin5,708 votes.

    None of these blocks of votes was large in comparison to the nationwide margin of 537,179 in the national popular vote in 2000.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, accusations of voter fraud by both political parties were commonplace in numerous states. In the 1960 presidential election, a switch of 4,430 votes in Illinois and a simultaneous switch of 4,782 votes in South Carolina would have denied Kennedy a majority of the electoral votes. Four thousand votes in two states would not have been decisive in 1960 in terms of changing the outcome if the outcome had been based on the national popular vote. John F. Kennedy led Richard M. Nixon by 118,574 popular votes nationwide. The potential switch of 4,430 or 4,782 votes was only relevant in 1960 because of the state-by-state winner-take-all rule.

    In short, the outcome of a presidential election is less likely to be affected by fraud with a single large nationwide pool of votes than under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system.

    As former Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo (R–Colorado) wrote in an article entitled “Should Every Vote Count?”

    “The issue of voter fraud … won't entirely go away with the National Popular Vote plan, but it is harder to mobilize massive voter fraud on the national level without getting caught, than it is to do so in a few key states. Voter fraud is already a problem. The National Popular Vote makes it a smaller one.” [592]

    U.S. Senator Birch Bayh (D–Indiana) summed up the concerns about possible fraud in a 1979 Senate speech by saying:

    “Fraud is an ever present possibility in the electoral college system, even if it rarely has become a proven reality. With the electoral college, relatively few irregular votes can reap a healthy reward in the form of a bloc of electoral votes, because of the unit rule or winner take all rule. Under the present system, fraudulent popular votes are much more likely to have a great impact by swinging enough blocs of electoral votes to reverse the election. A like number of fraudulent popular votes under direct election would likely have little effect on the national vote totals.

    “I have said repeatedly in previous debates that there is no way in which anyone would want to excuse fraud. We have to do everything we can to find it, to punish those who participate in it; but one of the things we can do to limit fraud is to limit the benefits to be gained by fraud.

    “Under a direct popular vote system, one fraudulent vote wins one vote in the return. In the electoral college system, one fraudulent vote could mean 45 electoral votes, 28 electoral votes.

    “So the incentive to participate in ‘a little bit of fraud,’ if I may use that phrase advisedly, can have the impact of turning a whole electoral block, a whole State operating under the unit rule. Therefore, so the incentive to participate in fraud is significantly greater than it would be under the direct popular vote system.” [593] [Emphasis added]

    At any given time, there are about two dozen Republican and about two dozen Democratic state Attorneys General. Specifically, there were 26 Republican state Attorneys General and 24 Democratic Attorneys General in November 2012. There are also, at any given time, roughly two thousand Republican county prosecuting attorneys and roughly a thousand Democratic county prosecuting attorneys.

    If conducting an election in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most popular votes is “a guarantee of corruption,” then we should have seen a voluminous number of prosecutions for election fraud in presidential elections in battleground states (and in gubernatorial elections in all 50 states).

    Where are the prosecutions?

    In November 2008, there were Republican Attorneys General in seven closely divided battleground states that Barack Obama carried. These states possessed more electoral votes (102) than Obama’s 95-vote margin of victory in the Electoral College in 2008:

  • Colorado (9 electoral votes),
  • Florida (27),
  • Michigan (18),
  • New Hampshire (4),
  • Pennsylvania (21),
  • Virginia (13), and
  • Wisconsin (10).
  • Were these seven Republican Attorneys General derelict in the period immediately following the November 2008 election in fulfilling their legal duty to prosecute crime in their own states?

    Are these seven Republican Attorneys General also guilty of not promoting the interests of their own political party in attempting to prosecute cases of election fraud that would, at the minimum, embarrass (if not convict) members of the Democratic Party?

    If it were actually true that an election in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most popular votes is

    “a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the Presidency,” [594]

    then we should surely have seen a voluminous number of prosecutions involving the tens of thousands of ballot boxes in these seven outcome-determining states in the period immediately following the 2008 election.

    In November 2012, there were Republican Attorneys General in most of the battleground states that determined the outcome of the 2012 presidential election:

  • Florida—29 electoral votes, [595]
  • Ohio—18 electoral votes,
  • Virginia—13 electoral votes,
  • Wisconsin—10 electoral votes,
  • Colorado—9 electoral votes,
  • Pennsylvania—20 electoral votes, and
  • Michigan—16 electoral votes.
  • These seven battleground states with Republican Attorneys General together possessed 115 electoral Votes. President Obama won each of these battleground states by low-single-digit margins. In 2012, President Obama received only 64 more than the 270 electoral votes necessary for election.

    As of the time of this writing, there have been no reports of prosecutions involving the tens of thousands of ballot boxes in these seven outcome-determining states in the 2012 presidential election.

    If it is conceded that fraud is not rampant today in presidential elections in the battleground states (or gubernatorial elections in all 50 states), then why would one suddenly expect a massive outbreak of criminal activity in the 40 or so states that are currently politically irrelevant in the presidential election if the National Popular Vote compact were to become operative?

    31.12          MYTH: Fraud is minimized under the current system because it is hard to predict where stolen votes will matter.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • It is not hard to predict where stolen votes will matter under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of electing the President. Stolen votes matter in the closely divided battleground states.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    Tara Ross, an opponent of the National Popular Vote plan, made the following comment about fraud under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of electing the President:

    “Fraud is minimized because it is hard to predict where stolen votes will matter.” [596]

    Contrary to what Ross asserts, there is no difficulty in determining where stolen votes will matter—they matter in the closely divided battleground states.

    The battleground states are well-known to anyone who follows politics. For example, in a July 2012 article describing his “3-2-1 strategy,” Karl Rove identified six states that he believed would probably decide the 2012 election. [597] Most political observers agreed with Rove’s list of states.

    Five and a half months before Election Day in 2012, Mitt Romney acknowledged the small number of battleground states during a fund-raising dinner in Boca Raton, Florida. In the May 17, 2012, Mother Jones video, Romney said:

    “All the money will be spent in 10 states.”

    The 2012 Obama campaign, of course, operated on a similar basis.

    In October 2000, the New York Times reported:

    The parties and the presidential candidates are concentrating their campaigns in Florida in these last, tense days before the election on the cities and towns along Interstate 4.

    “The nearly three million voters who live more or less along the maddeningly overcrowded, 100-mile-long highway that bisects the state from Daytona Beach on the Atlantic Coast to the Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico are the swing voters in this, the largest of the swing states.

    “They may be getting more attention these days than any other voters in the country as the candidates compete for Florida’s 25 electoral votes.

    “‘This state is the key to this election,’ Vice President Al Gore declared at a rally in Orlando earlier this month, ‘and Central Florida is the key to this state.’” [598] [Emphasis added]

    Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, those who wish to cheat know exactly where they need to go in order to potentially sway the national outcome. In 2000, for example, a significant number of electoral votes were determined by a small handful of popular votes:

    Florida537 votes,

    Iowa4,144 votes,

    New Hampshire7,211 votes,

    New Mexico366 votes,

    Oregon6,765 votes, and

    Wisconsin5,708 votes.

    Under a National Popular Vote, the amount of fraud that would have to be perpetrated to impact the outcome of an election would be so massive that it could not go unnoticed.

    31.13          MYTH: The 2000 election illustrates the Republican Party’s structural advantage under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • The Republicans won the 2000 presidential election because of George W. Bush’s 537-vote margin in Florida—not because of any built-in Republican structural advantage conferred by the state-by-state winner-take-all rule.
  • It is impossible to say whether Al Gore would have been elected President in 2000 under the National Popular Vote system, because the campaign would have been conducted very differently.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    It is sometimes argued that the Republican victory in the 2000 election is evidence that the Republican Party has a built-in structural advantage under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system.

    George W. Bush won Florida by a margin of 537 popular votes out of 5,963,110 votes cast.

    When an election is decided by a margin of 537 votes out of 5,963,110, numerous factors (large and small) necessarily affected the outcome.

    We select two relatively minor and politically neutral factors to make the point that Bush’s 537-vote margin in Florida can be explained by entirely accidental factors operating locally in Florida—not any built-in Republican structural advantage conferred by the state-by-state winner-take-all rule.

    A 2007 study in The Journal of Politics analyzed the effect of the weather on election outcomes:

    “Using GIS interpolations, we employ meteorological data drawn from over 22,000 U.S. weather stations to provide election day estimates of rain and snow for each U.S. county. We find that, when compared to normal conditions, rain significantly reduces voter participation by a rate of just less than 1% per inch, while an inch of snowfall decreases turnout by almost .5%. Poor weather is also shown to benefit the Republican party’s vote share.…

    “The results of the zero precipitation scenarios reveal only two instances in which a perfectly dry election day would have changed an Electoral College outcome. Dry elections would have led Bill Clinton to win North Carolina in 1992 and Al Gore to win Florida in 2000. This latter change in the allocation of Florida’s electors would have swung the incredibly close 2000 election in Gore’s favor. Of course, the converse is that a rainier day would have increased George W. Bush’s margin and may have reduced the importance of issues with the butterfly ballot, overvotes, etc.” [599] [Emphasis added]

    A Democratic election administrator in one county designed a ballot that presented the candidates’ names in a confusing arrangement (the so-called “butterfly ballot”). The ballot’s confusing arrangement resulted in third-party candidate Pat Buchanan receiving thousands of votes that were, as Buchanan acknowledged, almost certainly intended for Al Gore. A paper in the American Political Science Review agreed with Buchanan’s assessment and concluded that this action by a Democratic election administrator was alone sufficient to cause Gore to lose Florida.

    “The butterfly ballot used in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the 2000 presidential election caused more than 2,000 Democratic voters to vote by mistake for Reform candidate Pat Buchanan, a number larger than George W. Bush’s certified margin of victory in Florida.…

    “Multiple methods and several kinds of data [were used] to rule out alternative explanations for the votes Buchanan received in Palm Beach County.…

    “In Palm Beach County, Buchanan’s proportion of the vote on election-day ballots is four times larger than his proportion on absentee (non-butterfly) ballots, but Buchanan’s proportion does not differ significantly between election-day and absentee ballots in any other Florida county.

    “Unlike other Reform candidates in Palm Beach County, Buchanan tended to receive election-day votes in Democratic precincts and from individuals who voted for the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate.”

    “Among 3,053 U.S. counties where Buchanan was on the ballot, Palm Beach County has the most anomalous excess of votes for him.” [600]

    Immediately prior to Election Day in 2000, neither Republicans nor anyone else thought that there was any structural advantage working in favor of the Republican Party because of the state-by-state winner-take-all rule. In the week before Election Day in 2000, most polls indicated that George W. Bush was poised to win the national popular vote—but not necessarily the electoral vote. Indeed, the Bush campaign was planning for just that eventuality. As the New York Daily News reported on Wednesday November 2, 2000, “Bush [is] set to fight an Electoral College loss.”

    “Quietly, some of George W. Bush’s advisers are preparing for the ultimate ‘what if’ scenario: What happens if Bush wins the popular vote for President, but loses the White House because Al Gore won the majority of electoral votes?”

    “‘The one thing we don’t do is roll over,’ says a Bush aide. ‘We fight.’

    “How? The core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course.

    “In league with the campaign—which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College’s essential unfairness—a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged. ‘We’d have ads, too,’ says a Bush aide, ‘and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted.’

    “Local business leaders will be urged to lobby their customers, the clergy will be asked to speak up for the popular will and Team Bush will enlist as many Democrats as possible to scream as loud as they can. ‘You think ‘Democrats for Democracy’ would be a catchy term for them?’ asks a Bush adviser.

    “The universe of people who would be targeted by this insurrection is small—the 538 currently anonymous folks called electors, people chosen by the campaigns and their state party organizations as a reward for their service over the years.…

    “Enough of the electors could theoretically switch to Bush if they wanted to—if there was sufficient pressure on them to ratify the popular verdict.” [601]

    31.14          MYTH: Al Gore would have been elected President under a national popular vote in 2000.

    QUICK ANSWER:

  • It is impossible to say whether Al Gore would have been elected President in 2000 under the National Popular Vote system, because the campaign would have been conducted very differently.
  • Soliciting every available vote is a strategic necessity when the winner of an election is the candidate who receives the most popular votes.
  • MORE DETAILED ANSWER:

    There is no way to say whether Al Gore would have become President had the 2000 campaign been conducted under the National Popular Vote plan.

    The 2000 campaign would have been conducted very differently if the candidates had gone into the election under a different electoral system.

    The pattern of candidate travel and advertising would have been entirely different under a national popular vote because candidates would have solicited votes in every state—not just 15.

    Candidates certainly would not have ignored 35 or so states during the campaign. Candidates would not have concentrated their efforts so heavily on Florida. Candidates would certainly not have ignored Ohio (as they did in the 2000 campaign).

    The issues discussed in the 2000 campaign would have been different because the candidates would have had to appeal to more than just the battleground-state voters.


    556 Detailed reports on all of these polls (and others), including the cross-tabs, are available at the web site of National Popular Vote at http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/pages/polls.php.

    557 The exception is that George W. Bush carried New Hampshire in 2000.

    558 The exception is that Bill Clinton carried Montana in 1992 (undoubtedly because of Ross Perot’s presence on the ballot).

    559 A 46%–54% margin is generally viewed as the boundary that places a state out of reach for the opposition during a typical presidential campaign (as discussed in section 1.2.1). Thus, the Democrats secured all the electoral votes from these three states (Delaware, Hawaii, and Maine) without having to devote any effort or money to win them.

    560 Nebraska awards three of its five electoral votes by congressional district. In 2008, Barack Obama won one electoral vote by carrying the 2nd congressional district of Nebraska (the Omaha area). Thus, Nebraska’s electoral votes in 2008 were divided 4–1 in favor of McCain. In 2012, Governor Romney won all three of Nebraska’s congressional districts.

    561 Tancredo, Tom. Should every vote count? November 11, 2011. http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=366929.

    562 Von Spakovsky, Hans A. Protecting Electoral College from popular vote. Washington Times. October 26, 2011.

    563 See table 2.1 for the distribution of electoral votes for the elections between 1992 and 2020.

    567 Von Spakovsky, Hans A. Protecting Electoral College from popular vote. Washington Times, October 26, 2011.

    568 McConnell, Mitch. The Electoral College and National Popular Vote Plan. December 7, 2011. Washington, DC.

    569 Note that Gillespie’s statement that the 11 biggest states possessed 56% of the nation’s population was correct according to the 2000 census, but not according to the 2010 census. Hence, criticisms of this genre are couched in terms of both 11 and 12 states.

    570 Gillespie, Ed. National Popular Vote compact won't be popular, or democratic. Washington Examiner. January 30, 2012.

    571 Letter dated June 29, 2011.

    572 Belenky, Alexander S. 2008. A 0-1 knapsack model for evaluating the possible Electoral College performance in two-party U.S. presidential elections. Mathematical and Computer Modelling. Volume 48. Pages 665–676.

    573 In 2004, Bush received 62,040,610 votes nationwide and Kerry received 59,028,439 votes. Bush’s nationwide margin of victory was 3,012,171 votes. Bush received 51.2% of these 121,069,049 votes.

    574 In 2012, Obama received 65,897,727 votes nationwide and Romney received 60,930,782 votes. Obama’s nationwide margin of victory was 4,966,945 votes. Obama received 51.96% of these 126,828,509 votes.

    575 The 2012 election returns shown in table 9.35, table 9.36, table 9.45, and appendix HH were obtained from the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) web site at http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/2012/popular-vote.html. The NARA web site presents the number of votes shown on each state’s Certificate of Ascertainment. There are two differences between our tables and that on the NARA web site. First, the NARA web site presents votes by party, whereas our table is based on votes by candidate. This difference in treatment creates a difference in the case of New York (which uses fusion voting). The NARA web site (as of January 4, 2013) showed the 141,056 votes that the Obama-Biden slate received on the Working Families Party line (and contained in New York’s Certificate of Ascertainment) as minor-party votes in column 6 of their table, instead of showing these votes as Obama-Biden votes in column 2 of their table. Similarly, the web site shows the 256,171 votes that the Romney-Ryan slate received on the Conservative Party line as minor-party votes in column 6, instead of showing these votes as Romney-Ryan votes in column 3. Our table puts these Obama-Biden votes and Romney-Ryan votes in columns 2 and 3, respectively, in conformity with the practice of the New York State Board of Elections. Thus, our table shows (in column 6) only 8,652 votes for minor-party candidates in New York. See section 2.10 for additional details on fusion in New York and figure 2.11 for an example of a presidential ballot in New York. Secondly, our table reflects the adjustment (certified on December 31, 2012) to New York state’s vote totals resulting from the fact that an executive order issued on the evening before Election Day allowed voters in counties affected by Hurricane Sandy to cast a provisional ballot at any polling place in the state. A total of 400,629 additional ballots (over 300,000 in New York City alone) were counted as a result of this executive order.

    576 Samples, John. A Critique of the National Popular Vote Plan for Electing the President. Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 622. October 13, 2008.

    577 The debate at the Sutherland Institute on January 20, 2012, in Salt Lake City involved Dr. John R. Koza, Chair of National Popular Vote, Claremont College Professor Michael Uhlmann, and Trent England (a lobbyist opposing the National Popular Vote compact and Vice-President of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation of Olympia, Washington). The event was moderated by Sutherland President Paul T. Mero.

    578 The Nielsen “Live+3” ratings track both live airings and DVR playback (through 3:00 A.M.). Based on November 2011 DMA.

    579 Shapiro, Ari. Ads slice up swing states with growing precision. NPR. September 24, 2012. http://www.npr.org/2012/09/24/161616073/ads-slice-up-swing-states-with-growing-precision.

    580 Edwards, George C., III. 2011. Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Second edition. Page 46.

    581 U.S. Constitution. Article I, section 2, clause 3. The provisions concerning indentured servants, “Indians not taxed,” and slaves (“other persons”) are not applicable today.

    582 No doubt, the reason why the Constitution specified that the census would count “persons,” instead of trying to count eligible voters, was that the states had complicated and widely varying criteria for voter eligibility in 1787. In most states, eligibility depended on property, wealth, or income. Moreover, the requirements for voting often differed for the lower versus upper house of the state legislature.

    583 The mathematical formula is presented at https://www.census.gov/population/apportionment/about/computing.html. The history of methods used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is discussed at https://www.census.gov/population/apportionment/about/history.html. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the “method of equal proportions” in 1992 in Department of Commerce v. Montana (112 S.Ct. 1415) and Franklin v. Massachusetts (112 S.Ct. 2767).

    584 Steinhorn, Leonard. Without voting, noncitizens could swing the election for Obama. Washington Post. October 5, 2012.

    585 Bishop, Bill. 2008. The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    586 Nine of the states in table 9.41 that voted Democratic once or twice between 1992 and 2012 did so during the Clinton years. Since then, these nine states have voted Republican in presidential elections consistently between 2000 and 2012. These nine states are Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, and Montana. Thus, there are 41 states that have voted for the same party between 2000 and 2012.

    587 Written testimony submitted by Tara Ross to the Delaware Senate in June 2010.

    589 2012 Republican National Platform adopted in Tampa, Florida, on August 28, 2012.

    590 The four states involved are Florida (29 electoral votes), Ohio (18), New Hampshire (4), and Virginia (13). They cumulatively possess 64 electoral votes. A shift of 64 electoral votes would have given Mitt Romney the 270 electoral votes needed for election. See appendix HH for the two-party results of the 2012 election. Table 9.45 presents the presidential vote for Barack Obama (Democrat), Mitt Romney (Republican), Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), and the other 22 minor-party and independent candidates who were on the ballot in 2012 in at least one state.

    591 Tancredo, Tom. Should every vote count? November 11, 2011. http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=366929.

    592 Congressional Record. March 14, 1979. Page 5000.

    593 2012 Republican National Platform adopted in Tampa, Florida, on August 28, 2012.

    594 The number of electoral votes shown here are those applicable to the 2012 presidential election.

    595 Written testimony submitted by Tara Ross to the Delaware Senate in June 2010.

    596 Rove, Karl. Romney’s roads to the White House: A 3-2-1 strategy can get him to the magic 270 electoral votes. Wall Street Journal. May 23, 2012.

    597 Rosenbaum, David E. The 2000 campaign: The Battlegrounds: Florida interstate’s heavy campaign traffic. New York Times. October 25, 2000.

    598 Brad T. Gomez, Brad T.; Hansford, Thomas G.; and Krause, George A. 2007. The Republicans should pray for rain: weather, turnout, and voting in U.S. Presidential Elections. The Journal of Politics. Volume 69, number 3. August 2007. Pages 649–663.

    599 Wand, Jonathan N.; Shotts, Kenneth W.; Sekhon, Jasjeet S.; Mebane, Walter R.; Herron, Michael C.; and Brady, Henry E. The butterfly did it: The aberrant vote for Buchanan in Palm Beach County, Florida. American Political Science Review. Volume 95. Number 1. December 2001. sekhon.berkeley.edu/elections/election2000/butterfly.review.pdf.

    600 Kramer, Michael. Bush set to fight an electoral college loss: They’re not only thinking the unthinkable, They’re planning for it. New York Daily News. November 1, 2000. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2000-11-01/news/18145743_1_electoral-votes-popular-vote-bush-aide.

    601 Eligon, John. Kansas ballot challenge over Obama’s birth is ended. New York Times. September 14, 2012.

    Reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote reflects the nationwide popular vote for President