Virginia’s Republican-controlled legislature advanced a bill this week from state Sen. Bill Carrico that would have drastically altered how the state would apportion Virginia’s Electoral College votes.Alan Abramowitz, a senior columnist with political handicapper Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball newsletter in Virginia, took a look in a recent column at how proposed bills similar to Virginia’s would have affected last year’s Electoral College process.
In theory, a nationwide system like Virginia’s plan would favour the winner of the most Congressional districts throughout the country. It would award one vote to the winner of each Congressional district plus two votes for the winner of the most districts in the state.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney won 228 total House districts nationwide in 2012 to President Barack Obama’s 207. Romney swept up rural areas, while Obama claimed victories in more populous cities and their surrounding suburbs.
Abramowitz used a slightly different method that is in consideration in many states, in which a vote would be awarded to the winner of each Congressional district. The remaining votes would be awarded to the statewide popular vote winner. Abramowitz found that under the method, Romney would have won 276 electoral votes to Obama’s 260.
Under the current system, Obama won 332 votes to Romney’s 226. In addition, Obama won the popular vote by nearly 4 percentage points and nearly 5 million total votes.
Getting to 276 electoral votes under the current system proved impossible for Romney in 2012. He would’ve had to have won Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ohio — all states in which Obama won comfortably last year.
This post has been updated.
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