BRAINTEASER – How Likely is a Tie in November Between Romney and Obama? What Would Happen If There Was A Tie?

Believe it or not, a tie is not outside the realm of possibility. Here’s how that could happen, and what the wild result would be.

As we all know, Romney has to get 270 electoral votes to defeat Obama. And at this point, the national polls average shows only a 0.8% difference between Romney and Obama. In other words, it’s a very close race at the moment.

Christian Heinze over at “The Hill” discussed three routes Romney could take to win the election. ”Route #3″ of Heinze’ scenarios has Romney winning the election by capturing about half the swing states, and Obama capturing the other half. (Romney would win Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Iowa. Under this scenario, Romney would lose the other swing states PA, CO, NV, VA, and MI.) It would make sense that roughly half the swing states would vote Romney and half would vote Obama.

“Route #3″ would result in a total score of:

 Romney – 273
 Obama –  265

But what would happen if Romney lost New Hampshire, but won all the other states in this “route?” New Hampshire has 4 votes and would lead to a grand total of:

Romney – 269
Obama – 269

A Tie!

Believe it or not, this is not an entirely unlikely possibility. Right now Obama is ahead of Romney in New Hampshire by 6.4% according to the most recent polls from RCP. That is a lot of ground for Romney to make up before November. Certainly not impossible, but New Hampshire is strongly tilting toward Obama at the moment. Likewise, VA is tilting toward Obama partly due to it having the lowest unemployment rate in the country. 

So it seems to me that a tie is a pretty realistic possibility at the moment. I want to know what knucklehead decided to have an even number of total electoral votes for the U.S.? This is about as smart as having an even number of Supreme Court justices!

What would happen in the event of a tie?

This is where things get weird and start to sound more like a John Grisham novel than real life. In the event of a tie, it would only take one person out of the 538 “delegates” to switch their vote and thus decide who is president for the whole country. One person. Many states have laws that restrict delegates from switching their vote, but many states do not. 

But if we assume that no delegate switches their vote, and we still have a tie, then the House of Representatives picks the president, and the Senate picks the Vice President. Right now the House is controlled by the Republicans and the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. Can you imagine a Romney/Biden ticket? Or maybe a Romney/Obama Ticket? 

As one source says, if you thought Bush v. Gore was controversial, this would be even more so. 

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6 Responses to BRAINTEASER – How Likely is a Tie in November Between Romney and Obama? What Would Happen If There Was A Tie?

  1. Jason says:

    One minor clarification to the Senate’s role in choosing a Vice President in the event of an Electoral College tie: from the 12th Amendment, the Senate’s choice is limited to those with the “two highest numbers” of electoral votes for Vice President. Assuming the Senate remains in Democrat control after the November Election then we would end up with Romney/ Biden.

  2. Sean says:

    Jason :One minor clarification to the Senate’s role in choosing a Vice President in the event of an Electoral College tie: from the 12th Amendment, the Senate’s choice is limited to those with the “two highest numbers” of electoral votes for Vice President. Assuming the Senate remains in Democrat control after the November Election then we would end up with Romney/ Biden.

    @Jason

    Is is the lame duck Congress that decides so yes a Democratic Senate would choose the Vice President even if Republicans win control of the Senate on election night.

  3. Ben Collins says:

    Thanks for the clarification. How crazy would that be if we had Romney/Biden?! Of course a tie is not what we want but when you consider Bush Vs. Gore had an electoral college count of 271 to 268, it is certainly a possibility.

  4. AfricansforRomney says:

    It won’t be a close election. Landslide! Obama is toast in Nov.

  5. Phil says:

    You can also arrive at a tie with all the states won as you’ve outlined in your map but with a few changes:

    Nevada goes to Romney
    Colorado goes to Romney
    Virginia goes to Romney
    Wisconsin goes to Obama
    Ohio goes to Obama
    New Hampshire goes to Obama

    Here’s how the tied map I came up with looks:
    http://www.270towin.com/2012_election_predictions.php?mapid=ngl#.T-Jxf2-0ChA.link

  6. Ben says:

    Africans for Romney, I agree with you. Romney is going to take it.

    Phil, very interesting work. I like it.