During late December, we published preliminary results of how the 2016 electoral vote would have turned out using some alternative allocation methodologies. Those projections still look good.
While some vote data is still incomplete, we're now able to provide a pretty good estimate of how the map would have looked* if each state voted as they do in Maine and Nebraska.
Those two states use the congressional district method, which allocates two electoral votes to the popular vote winner in the state, with one going to the popular vote winner in each individual congressional district. In 2016, this approach led to Donald Trump winning one of Maine's four electoral votes.
The actual electoral map (ignoring faithless electors) was Trump 306, Clinton 232. Moving Maine to winner take all would make it 305-233. Under the congressional district method, 15 electoral votes shift to Clinton, and Trump wins a closer race, by a 290-248 total. This is opposite of what we saw in 2012, when Mitt Romney's 206 electoral votes would have become 274, putting him into the White House.
There aren't that many battleground congressional districts in 2010's-era America. This makes the congressional district method much more stable than winner take all. Trump is estimated to have won 230 congressional districts, little changed from the 226 won by Romney in 2012. He also won 6 states that Romney lost. So, while those six states gave Trump 99 more electoral votes than Romney (excl. Maine district), he only improved on Romney's 274 by 16 (6 states @2 each, 4 districts @1 each) with this allocation methodology applied nationwide.
*Campaigns make strategic and tactical decisions based on the rules in place. If each state used the methodology discussed here, more resources would have been deployed to 'battleground districts'. That in mind, there's no way to know for sure how the map would have actually turned out.
We've updated our series of 'Same Since' electoral maps, which go back through time to show presidential election single party voting streaks. There are 13 such maps, one for each election from 1964-2012.
In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won six states (and a district in Maine) that Barack Obama had won in 2012. Three of these states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin), as well as the Maine district had been blue for a generation or more. The other three states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio) were last 'red' in 2004.
Click the image above to view full-sized versions of the map, along with a short description of the changes associated with each election.
One of the more popular questions we get asked is how the election would have turned out using some other allocation methodology. We analyzed this for the 2012 election, and plan to update that for 2016 once all the data is finalized. Look for that over the next month or so.
Enough information is now available to make a pretty good estimate how things would have turned out with each alternative approach*. The bottom line is that in most cases, Donald Trump would still have surpassed 270 electoral votes, but his winning margin would be less than the 74 (306-232, ignoring faithless) electoral votes by which he actually won. However, the impact of these alternate methods is insignificant compared to 2012.
All electoral votes discussed below (and in the table above) are based on Election Day results. Faithless electors are assumed to have voted as pledged.
Winner Take All: Only Maine and Nebraska use a method other than winner take all. This year, Trump won an electoral vote in Maine, which he would not have won if Maine used winner take all.
Congressional District (CD): This is the method currently used by Maine & Nebraska, where two electoral votes go to the popular vote winner of the state, with one awarded to the popular vote winner in each congressional district. In 2012, Romney would have gained 68 electoral votes from the 206 he won, putting him in the White House with 274. This year, Trump would have lost 16, giving him 290. Trump won a number of states that Romney lost, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, with a large portion of conservative districts. As a result, in these states, the congressional district method would be less beneficial to Trump than winner take all.
CD Majority: This method awards two electoral votes to the winner of the majority of CD in the state, with one awarded to the popular vote winner in each CD. This method will only yield different results than the other CD method when the state popular vote winner doesn't also win the majority of districts. That was infrequent in the 2016 election. Clinton won two states (Minnesota, Virginia), where Trump won a majority of the districts. She also won three states, where the two split the districts. As a result, Trump did 7 better (297 to 290) with this variant of the CD method.
Popular Vote 1 & 2: These two methods allocate electoral votes based on state-by-state popular vote. With Popular Vote 1, two electoral votes go to the winner of the state, with the remainder allocated based on the percentage of popular vote. Popular Vote 2 allocates all the electoral votes based on popular vote percentage. Since Clinton won the popular vote nationally, we would expect these results to be close, and indeed they are. Trump still wins with Popular Vote 1 because he won many more states (30) than Clinton (20+DC). That fact still benefits him - although less so - in Popular Vote 2 because the allocation is done state-by-state. Due to the relative success of third party candidates in 2016, neither Trump nor Clinton would have achieved 270 electoral votes with Popular Vote 2 methodology, throwing the election to the House of Representatives.
*Keep in mind that campaigns make strategic and resource decisions based on the rules in place. If the rules were different, the strategy would be different. That in mind, there's no way to know for sure how the 2016 election would have turned out if another methodology had been in place.
Donald J. Trump was confirmed as president-elect today by members of the Electoral College, winning at least 304 electoral votes. Texas put Trump over the top as it cast its vote after 5PM ET today. 304 is likely to be Trump's final number, as the three states yet to vote - California, Nevada and Hawaii - were won by Hillary Clinton on Election Day. Should those electors all vote as pledged, Clinton will end up with 228 votes.
In the end, there wasn't a lot of drama in the vote. There were 6 faithless electors, however, including 4 in Washington and two in Texas. While a small number, this is the highest number of faithless electors for president since the 19th century. There were attempts by electors in Colorado, Maine and Minnesota to cast faithless votes, but these were disallowed.
Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president at noon on January 20, 2017.
The Washington Secretary of State is reporting 4 faithless electors in today's ballot, with 8 votes going to Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote there.
Hillary Clinton wins 8 WA electoral votes. 4 "faithless" electors votes for others— Secretary of State (@secstatewa) December 19, 2016
Three of the faithless electors voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, with one voting for Faith Spotted Eagle.
Donald Trump has reached 240 electoral votes this hour. Texas, with its 38 votes, is expected to push the president-elect across 270, making this all official, in the next hour.
Florida's 29 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Idaho's 4 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Michigan's 16 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Minnesota's 10 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
North Dakota's 3 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Oregon's 7 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
Utah's 6 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Wyoming's 3 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Electoral votes continue to come in during the 1PM (ET) hour. Donald Trump is within 100 of the required 270, as no faithless electors have yet materialized.
Alabama's 9 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Kansas' 6 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Louisiana's 8 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Maryland's 10 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
Wisconsin's 10 electors have voted for Donald Trump
South Dakota's 3 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Arizona's 11 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Connecticut's 7 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
Delaware's 3 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
Georgia's 16 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Kentucky's 8 electors have voted for Donald Trump
New York's 29 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
North Carolina's 15 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Pennsylvania's 20 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Ohio's 18 electors have voted for Donald Trump (not yet shown on image)
Rhode Island's 4 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
Also shown on image: Louisiana and South Dakota for Trump
Arkansas' 6 electors have voted for Donald Trump.
Mississippi's 6 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Oklahoma's 7 electors have voted for Donald Trump.
Illinois' 20 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton
South Carolina's 9 electors have voted for Donald Trump
Thus far, all electors have voted as pledged. Noon hour sees about a dozen more states, including GA, PA, OH and NC.
Tennessee's 11 electors have voted for Donald Trump.
New Hampshire's 4 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton.
Vermont's 3 electors have voted for Hillary Clinton.
That completes the 10AM states
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