Electoral College Tie Possible (But Damned Unlikely)
Nate Silver offers a scenario where Obama and Romney each get 269 Electoral College votes.
Nate Silver’s latest forecast offers a scenario where Obama and Romney each get 269 Electoral College votes, thus sending the election to the House. The path is, to say the least, implausible:
[S]uppose there is a deterioration in his polls between now and Nov. 6 — or that the polls have overestimated his standing across the board. And so Mr. Obama wins the states where he has at least an 85 percent chance of victory in the forecast, but no others. Then we’d be left with the following map:
If you add up the electoral votes in that case, they come out to Obama 269, Romney 269: an exact Electoral College tie. The election would then be thrown to the House of Representatives, which would cast votes based on the provisions of the 12th Amendment.
Mitt Romney would probably win such an election, because Republicans will probably control a majority of state delegations in the incoming House of Representatives.
While this scenario is guaranteed to excite political junkies, the assumptions here are stacked heavily in Romney’s favor. Indeed, Silver notes, “Of the 25,001 simulations that we ran on Monday, a 269-269 tie came up in 152 model runs, or about 0.6 percent of the time. Still, this probability has roughly doubled from a few weeks ago, when the chances had been hovering at about 0.3 percent instead.”
Silver’s main model, though, shows a 320 to 218 Obama blowout and a whopping 85.7% chance of an Obama re-election. While it’s of course possible that some wild development in the campaign or in world or national affairs changes the current dynamic in the month remaining before the election, it’s pretty unlikely.