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
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.
The Electoral College from a Different Angle
About Those Zogby Interactive Polls...(The McCain Bounce Revisited)
The Electoral College Map (9/22/08)