Republican lawmakers in several key swing states are considering plans to allocate their electoral college votes by Congressional district, in a move that would give Republican presidential candidates a new advantage in future elections. The policy, if applied nationally, would seriously impact the way presidential elections turn out by giving out electoral votes by congressional districts already drawn to be favourable for Republicans.
Here, we look at the past eleven presidential elections to see how they would turn out if every state allocated their presidential electoral votes along congressional district lines. The electoral college numbers are estimates, arrived at by finding the number of congressional districts each candidate’s party won, and adding two votes for each outright majority in a state.
What would have happened: Despite the fact that Democratic Senator George McGovern only won an outright majority in one state and the District of Columbia -- and that he lost the election to President Richard Nixon by 18 million votes -- the Democratic candidate would have come within 23 electoral votes of the Oval Office, buoyed by a victory in 242 congressional districts.
What really happened: Nixon crushed McGovern, 520 - 17.
What would have happened: Despite only having a popular vote margin of victory of 2.1 per cent, Georgia's Democratic Governor Jimmy Carter would have finished with 341 electoral votes, thumping President Gerald Ford's 197 votes.
What really happened: Carter beat Ford, 297 to 240 electoral votes.
What would have happened: Carter would have come within 12 electoral votes of victory, despite losing to Ronald Reagan by 8.4 million votes and losing 44 states.
The final electoral vote count: Reagan 280 - Carter 258.
What really happened: The election was a landslide. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to Carter's 49, and finished with a double digit margin of victory in the popular vote spread.
What would have happened: Despite losing the popular vote by 16.8 million votes -- 18 per cent -- former Vice President Walter Mondale would have come very close to the presidency, with 258 electoral votes to Reagan's 280. (An impressive feat for a candidate who lost every state but Minnesota, his home state.)
What really happened: Reagan crushed Mondale, sweeping 49 states and winning 525 electoral votes, the highest total ever recieved by a presidential candidate.
What would have happened: Despite losing the popular vote by 7.8 points, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis would have become the 41st President of the United States, boosted by Democratic victories in 260 congressional districts.
Although he dominated nationally, Vice President George H.W. Bush would have come up short with 255 electoral votes to Dukakis' 283.
What really happened: Bush won 426 electoral votes and a near landslide in the popular vote.
What would have happened: Then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton would have beaten the Republican incumbent 325 electoral votes to 212 electoral votes, after Democrats won in 258 congressional districts.
What really happened: Clinton defeated Bush by 5.8 million votes, taking 370 electoral votes.
What would have happened: Republican Senator Bob Dole would have come within 26 electoral votes of Clinton, 293 to 244, despite losing the popular vote by nearly 10 per cent, or 8.2 million votes.
What really happened: Clinton won a resounding electoral victory, with 379 electoral votes to Dole's 159.
What would have happened: Despite losing the popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush would have handily defeated Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College, 283 votes 254.
What really happened: After a tortuous recount and Supreme Court hearing, Bush won the presidency by a single electoral vote.
What would have happened: Bush still would have defeated Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, but it would have been a much stronger victory due to GOP dominance in congressional districts. The final tally would be 294 electoral votes to 243 electoral votes.
What really happened: Bush beat Kerry by a slimmer margin of victory, 286 electoral votes- 251 electoral votes.
What would have happened: Then-Senator Barack Obama would have beaten Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, 317 to 221 in the Electoral College, winning 28 states and 258 congressional districts.
What really happened: Obama won 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173. In Nebraska, which already has the system where the state's electoral votes are allocated by district, Obama won in the centrist 2nd District while McCain won the remainder of Nebraska's 5 electoral votes.
What would have happened: Despite winning the popular vote by 5 million votes, Obama would have lost his re-election bid to his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, 256 to 282 electoral votes, making it the third time in 25 years when the candidate who won the popular vote did not win the presidency.
What really happened: Obama won reelection with 332 electoral votes.
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