Local Real Estate Comments and Ramblings


Why the electoral college?

I was just reading Susan McQaudes article "Election-Projection-269-269" .  If you haven't seen that one yet, you can read it here.  She quite accurately points out that there are a few reasonable scenarios where we can end up in an electoral tie.

After the election of 2000, where Al gore won the populat vote but lost the electoral vote the question has been asked "Why don't we just do a popular vote?"

In their great wisdom our founding fathers established the electoral process to keep any one or two states from having too much of a say on the national elections. 

Imagine this scenario.  It is the election of 2000, which by every account was an extremely close race. Al Gore wins 49 states by a clear but narrow margin of 10,000 votes.  That would be an average.  some states he wins by more and some by less.  But after counting those 49 states Al gore leads by 490,000 votes.

But wait ... George Bush is the Governor of the highly populated state of Texas.  His actual winning margin in Texas in 2000 was over 1,000,000 votes!   If that scenario would have played out then George Bush would have won the popular vote and Al Gore goes back home after winning a majority in 49 states.

The reality is that it would never play out exactly like that, but hopefully you get the picture. 

If you are interested you can see electoral map projections based on data from multiple polls at RealClearPolitics.com.

Here is the link to the poll showing toss up states   http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/

Here is a link showing the electoral map if you take the polls straight up without factoring toss ups  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/?map=10

On the second map you can also go in and create you rown map by changing any state to vote for the other candidate. Hint: John McCain has always done very well in Hew Hampshire.  Change the outcome in NH and see where the electoral vote is!


Bob Southard, e-ProRealtor®, Solid Source Realty, Inc.Buy or sell a home in Powder Springs, Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Dallas, Hiram, Cobb County, Paulding County, Douglas County, North Fulton County, South Cherokee County

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Comment balloon 7 commentsBob Southard • September 12 2008 07:03AM


Hi Bob,
I think it's time we do away with the electoral process and since we are now able to have an actual count we should use it. It's time for change. Which candidate said that? I think both.

Posted by Robert Calistri, Broker Of Record Services (Homes Plus Realty, llc,) almost 12 years ago

Bob -

The demise of the Electoral College has been debated for decades!  My father even talked about it in the early 1960's.

Remembering my old U.S. History classes, I believe the founding fathers wanted some sort of buffer so the uneducated masses didn't select the important post of President of the United States too directly.

That need seems now gone.  However, with some of those nut-jobs running around out there these days, perhaps . . .

Happy Voting!


Posted by Dean Moss, Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team (Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL) almost 12 years ago

Bob - I think the electoral college is more important now than ever before. This is one thing that the founding fathers and drafters of the constitution really had prescience about. There is already too much influence from California, New York and Chicago on the remainder of the country. People who have no vested interest are now making decisions that affect those that do (Alaska).

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) almost 12 years ago

Bob and Mike - you have it right.

In the absence of the Electoral College, the election would be waged and won in less than a dozen major urban media markets.  The rest of the country would never see a candidate nor have any effective participation in the system.  It would change the nation immediately and for all time - and I do not feel the change would be positive.  Our republic is based on representation of all citizens. The format adopted by the Framers of the Constitution was never more important than it is today in our age of mass communications.

I thought that the Electoral College was fairly safe as a Constitutional amendment was needed to change it - but an insidious plan is now in progress that would alter the political balance and destroy the effectiveness of the Electoral College.  The individual states have the power to apportion their Electoral Votes in their own way.  (all to the winner in their states or apportioned based upon percentage of votes received in their states).  There is now a move - already adopted in several states - to award the state's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.  I do not like it and will oppose it in every way I can.  But it may be the way the 2012 election for President is run.  On its face, it seems ridiculous to award a state's electoral votes based upon how other states vote - but the effect, if universally adopted, is to eliminate the protections of the Electoral College.  No Constitutional amendment needed - very neat. But a change in the checks and balances systems of this country from which we will not recover.

Posted by Ted Baker, MidFloridaMediation.com (Carmody and Associates LLC) almost 12 years ago

Great comments and thanks for the feature in this group.

Robert and Dean: It seems from your comments that you would support going to a strictly popular vote. I must say that I dis agree.  In a straight poular vote it would be entirely feasible for a candidate to win by taking large majorities in only 2 or 3 states.  idon't care how you do the math, i think that is unfair.

Mike: My point exactly thanks for the comment.

Ted:  !!! I had no idea that is in the works.  Thanks for your insightful comments.  If tht were to come to pass it would be a national nightmare.

Posted by Bob Southard, e-Pro - Cobb, Cherokee, North Fulton (Atlas Realty Service, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Bob - Thanks for the plug! If the electoral college would be eliminated, the only states that would matter would NY, CA and a few others.  With McCains popularity skyrocking in the Southern states, and the election coming down to 1 or 2 states, it's more likely than not that he would be the next Al Gore. 

Posted by Susan McQuaide (Keller Williams) almost 12 years ago

People don't understand that the USA is a republic and not a democracy.  The founding fathers were trying to avoid popularity contests and keep some checks & balances in the system.  Thus the electoral college.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

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