If the election on Tuesday had been closer it is possible that President Obama could have won the Electoral College while losing the national popular vote. Looking at the national vote in the key swing states, Obama significantly outperformed in the states that mattered.
President Obama ended up winning the popular vote 50.5 percent to Mitt Romney at 48 percent, yet Obama won the tipping point state of Colorado by a significantly larger margin of 51.2 percent to 46.5 percent.
If, across the board, 1.8 percent of Obama voters switched to Romney, Romney would have won the national popular vote by a wide margin but still have lost the presidency. That increase would have resulted in Romney also carrying Florida, Virginia and Ohio, but that would have only given Romney 266 electoral votes.
Obama ended winning by a large enough margin that this issue did not come into play, but a look at the results shows concerns about a possible Electoral College/national popular vote split going into the election were well founded. It is possible Romney could have easily gotten a million more votes than Obama and still have lost the election.
The fact that our election rules means that the candidate a clear majority of Americans voted for could still easily lose should be a national disgrace. Hopefully now that the Electoral College has shifted from benefiting Republicans in 2000 to strongly favoring Democrats today, we can finally get bipartisan support for ending this idiotic way of selecting a leader. It is time for every American’s vote to count the same.
Map by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license.