Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All Over In a Fortnight, Unless ...

The 2012 election will be held in a fortnight - 2 weeks, 14 days, 336 hours - and it looks like it is going to be very close.

How close? RCP shows Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama in the national poll average 48% to 47.1%. Intrade puts the odds at 57% for Obama and 43% for Romney. That's because Mitt Romney, while narrowly leading in the national Gallup, Rasmussen, and ABC News/Washington Post polls, is narrowly trailing in several important battleground states.

If the election were to follow the RCP polls, Barack Obama would win 281 electoral votes to 257. In the battleground, that assumes Romney wins Colorado, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida but loses Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada.

But let's say that the last two states in the Obama list move over to Romney. Iowa and Nevada each have 6 electoral votes for a total of 12. That would bring the totals to 269 for Obama and 269 for Romney, a tie.

Update: I see Ann Althouse has noticed this same possibility. Under the 12th Amendment, the U.S. House voting by state has to pick the winner off list the candidates who got electoral votes:
"from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President"
Presumably Mitt Romney and Barack Obama would be #1 and #2. So who will be #3? The last time a third party party candidate got an electoral vote was 1972, when Virginia Elector Roger MacBride, pledged for Richard Nixon, cast his electoral votes for Libertarian candidate John Hospers.

The 2012 Libertarian Party candidate is Gary Johnson. He made this pitch in Tuesday's third party debate:
"Wasting your vote is voting for somebody that you don't believe in. That's wasting your vote. I'm asking everybody here, I'm asking everybody watching this nationwide to waste your vote on me."

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