Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Links (9/23/08): Debates and Nightmares

Recently, I posted links to Thomas Holbrook's convention bounce predictions and wrap up and now he is out with a look at debate effects. The conclusion? Individual debate effects are minimal, but the cumulative effect of the entire series of debates is where a difference can be made.

And the nightmare? Larry Sabato has an item up on the BBC discussing the possibility of an electoral college tie. [Yeah, Nancy Pelosi was surprised too. I couldn't not include that picture.] As far-fetched as the chance of a tie may seem, it as been increasing in likelihood as McCain has become more competitive in some state polls. Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are all narrowing currently and all are leaning toward Obama. As we've seen in the recent maps it won't take much to bring this about. If Obama wins all the current blue states but loses Colorado New Hampshire, then a 269-269 tie is the outcome. This was also made clear in the map that resulted from Scott's analysis of the Pollster averages. If Obama wins the blue states and New Mexico while McCain takes the red states and the remaining five toss ups, again a 269-269 tie is the result.

Fine, we can move states around to get the outcome we want -- a tie -- but what happens in case of a tie? Well, the tie doesn't go to the incumbent party. [And since, according to Sabato, 90% of Americans don't know about this contingency plan, Democrats not in the know just breathed a huge sigh of relief.] The decision on the presidency goes to the House for a vote by each state delegation (not individual members) and the VP choice goes to the Senate.

For more on how that may play out, check out FiveThirtyEight's look at the possibilites from back in May. The circumstances may have changed since then, but it is an excellent exercise in how this situation would work.

Recent Posts:
The Electoral College from a Different Angle

About Those Zogby Interactive Polls...(The McCain Bounce Revisited)

The Electoral College Map (9/22/08)


Rich Clark said...

Okay, I'm commenting on an older post, but with recent information. Is McCain's request for postponing the Friday night debate a political ploy or a show of real statemanship?

Josh Putnam said...

I'm going to shift your comment into the post I have on the subject.