This Election Could Wind Up In a Tie

I’m sure you have heard more than once the phrase “If the election were held today.” What could be more frustrating? Unless today happens to be November 6, you might as well be spitting into the wind.

We are still more than eleven weeks away from that fateful day when voters will choose either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in what is correctly being called the most important presidential  election of our lifetime.  Most of the polling organizations are still revving up, neither the Republican nor Democratic convention has yet been held, anything could happen.

There may be many millions of voters who have never even heard of Mitt Romney, who may only start thinking about him after the GOP convention brings him into the spotlight at the end of this month. I know that sounds astonishing, but as someone who has conducted opinion polls as a journalist, I can assure you that it is true.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s discuss what might happen if the election were held today!

Judging from the polling so far, the damned thing could wind up in a tie. It would be an incredible statistical freak if the popular vote were tied, but a tie in the Electoral College is entirely possible. There are, as always, 538 electoral votes up for grabs, which means that it takes 270 or more to win. There would be a tie if Obama and Romney each won 269.

How might this happen? Suppose Romney wins 180 electoral votes by taking the same states won by John McCain in 2008. Can anybody think of a state that voted for McCain that is likely to go for Obama this time? Not in this economy.

Then there are certain states that McCain lost but Romney is expected to carry, such as Indiana and North Carolina, and there are several others where Romney is either a slight favorite in the early polling or has a strong fighting chance.  There is more than one combination of plausible state-by-state outcomes that could throw this thing into a tie.

In that case the newly elected House would choose the president, with each state’s delegation casting a single vote.  A likely win for Romney. The Senate would choose the vice president, with one vote allotted to each senator. It’s too  early to say which party might win the Senate in November.
You have to wonder whether President Romney would invite Vice President Biden to his cabinet meetings.

However, I am willing to bet anyone a quarter – even money –that the electoral vote will not wind up in a tie.

The fact that people are talking about possible ties at this early date suggests strongly that Romney might pull this thing out. You may recall that Ronald Reagan was losing in the early polling in his 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter. It takes a while for the challenger to catch up in a race against an incumbent, because the incumbent starts out with tremendous name recognition, and with the power to distribute largesse that may bolster his support.
You should take a look at the electoral map compiled by the Rasmussen polling firm.  (See

As of this moment, Rasmussen shows 206 electoral votes either safe, likely or leaning to Romney, 247 in those same categories for Obama, and 85 votes considered tossups.

The tossup states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Rasmussen’s polling shows Romney ahead in Florida, Iowa and Wisconsin, tied in Colorado and Ohio, and behind in Virginia. If we exclude Colorado and Ohio for now, but give each candidate the states where he is ahead, the tentative outcome is 260 for Obama, 251 for Romney and 27 still up for grabs.

Given that scenario, Romney would have to win both Ohio and Colorado for a clear victory. If he lost Colorado but won Ohio, the electoral vote would be tied, and he would likely win in the House. If he lost Ohio, fuggedaboddit.

I have cited the Rasmussen poll because it is widely considered to be the most scientific. Other pollsters appear to be less precise in creating the demographic models from which they draw their predictions. Several polls have been accused of overweighting their polling samples with Democrats, or with including unlikely voters in the samples.
However, I do have a bone to pick with Rasmussen. So far it has polled in only 20 states. I can understand why they wouldn’t be in any hurry to poll in the likes of Illinois and New York, which we can assume are sure things for Obama, or in Utah and Wyoming, where Romney clearly has a lock.

But why no polling yet in Minnesota? Obama won 55 percent of the vote there
in 2008, but that is by no means an airtight margin, considering that he
appears to be doing worse than he did in 2008 in all but two of the 20
states where Rasmussen has polled. (The exceptions are New Mexico and Nebraska.)

While not doing any polling there, Rasmussen has labeled Minnesota – and its 10 electoral votes – a likely pick-up for Obama.

Ten electoral votes could be as good as 100 in this frustratingly close election.

Author Bio:

Arthur Louis spent more than forty years as a print journalist, with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McGraw-Hill, Fortune magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, but he is not asking for sympathy. He is the author of two non-fiction books: The Tycoons, and Journalism and Other Atrocities, as well as a novel, The Little Champ. In retirement, he has decided unilaterally that he is a profound political pundit.
Author website:
  • Elaine Coyle

    I have a gut feeling that when voters are in that booth that the message that speaks lowdest to them will come fom their wallets. With gas & groceries sky high, I think that they will vote for a change.
    Again, in that booth, they will be away from the pressure of being labeled a bigot if they vote against Obama.
    I think Romney will have a decisive win.

    • Artlouis

       Good point, Elaine. Thank heaven for secret ballots.

      • James King

        Art, I really, really do not mean any disrespect and I hope Romney wins. I don’t think he will, but I hope he does. But my response to you is about thanking heaven. Heaven and God do not exist in reality, only in the minds of billions of people who were brainwashed into thinking that even there is no evidence, they believe anyway.

        But I digress. You should be thanking the Founding Fathers, for they created America, not some superstitution’s nonsense. We can easily show that these things are completely imaginary by using your immoral book the Bible. Thank the founders. They are the men who deserve your thanks.

        • Artlouis

           James, just a figure of speech. Not to be read literally.

  • FloridaJim

    Dick Morris is in agreement that Romney will win because never has anyone won with undecided voters going with the incumbent and the undecided will break, as always, for the opponent, Romney. I pray he is correct.

    • Artlouis

       I respect Morris, and am sure he wouldn’t risk his reputation by just making up propaganda.

  • Terry_Jim

    In Nebraska, the electoral votes are split by Congressional district.

    Obama won 1 E.V. from NE 2nd district in 2008.

    Redistricting shifted more Republicans into the district, making a repeat win for Obama
    there less likely.
    Does the tie scenario include that vote in Obama or Romney’s column? 

    • Artlouis

       Rasmussen seems to be assuming that all of Nebraska’s electoral votes will go for Romney. That one vote could have devastating consequences this time if it goes for Obama.

  • kegan05

    I really feel deep down that Republicans are going to win decisively.  By a margin of at least 6-8 points.

    Otherwise I have to double up on my psychothropic drugs!  The thought of 4 more years makes my head explode.


    • Xistentl1

      Amen,  hell I am down in Colombia staking out a new place to live if Obama wins.  The guy scares me.

  • brushfour

    Three weeks ago I would have said ” it’s going to be close.”  As the weeks go by, I’m starting to see Dick Morris’ prediction taking shape.  Romney could LOSE Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and OHIO, and still win the election.  In the last 15 days Romeny has caputured the lead in Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, and possibly Colorado,….and people still don’t know him yet.  He’ll do fine.

  • Kenneth Glenn Koons

    When I see Ras and Battleground and Zogby and Gallup all having some purple states going Mitt and….a few of the Bama red states from ’08 on Mitt’s side, I think the solid blue electoral states still favor Bama. It will take a huge swing in the purple states to go Mitt and the GOP will have to stop wounding their own, for this race to go GOP.

    • Artlouis

       Yes, there is some catching up to do. Obama won comfortably in ’08.

  • James King

    Art, I think you are right about the election result. It won’t be a tie, but I’m starting to think that Dick Morris, who I strongly agree and disagree with might be right when he said Romney is going to win in a landslide. But I base that on the Obama campaign.

    I lived in Chicago for many years. I now live in a Chicago suburb, and it is my observation that the Obama campaign is in full-thuggery mode because they also think they might lose in a landslide.

    Chicago pols are always thugs. It’s the nature of politics here. Of course they and their supporters will deny it, but they will only deny because they don’t want the general electorate to find out.

    • Artlouis

      It is always worthwhile to listen to Dick Morris. He thinks more clearly than just about any other election analyst, although he has a tendency to be too optimistic. For example, he was correct about the GOP landslide in the House last time, but he thought they would win even more seats than they did. 

      Certainly there is a potential for a landslide. An incumbent president would normally be doing better than 50-50 this early in the campaign, unless he had worn out his welcome in his first term. I very much doubt that Romney will lose support from here on. He is much more likely to gain new adherents as he gets more exposure.

    • brushfour

      I also lived in Chicago for several years, and your observations about Dem thuggery on absolutely correct!!  It’s very strange to watch that stuff go on in Chicago as it does. Very strange.


    Artlouis, you may be right in some cases, but allow my smart female friends and I to still vote against Obama.

    • Artlouis

       Happy to oblige, MaryJoe. Should I rent a bus?

      • MARYJOE

        No, we are in walking distance. I would crawl if I had to. Thanks for the offer.

  • bobemakk

    Bernie, this is a matter of great concern since Obama/Biden are dividing the country so much.  I am concerned myself.  Romney/Ryan must win or we will be a third world country in short order.

    • Xistentl1

      That has been my prediction since the 60s and everything I predicted back then has slowly come to pass and if Obama is re-elected I see no turning back unless the military steps in, which of course is not our tradition but this is as good a time as any to  change that tradition. 

  • BurtPrelutsky

    An excellent article and some excellent comments, aside from Awee, that is.  What a lout! 

    • Artlouis

      Thanks, Burt. I wasn’t previously aware of him. 


    As a woman, I may be able to get away with saying this. Some of the dumbest voter are woman. During the 2008 election I heard woman commenting that Obama was cute!! are you kidding me. Who cares if they are cute, handsome or ugly. I care about the country, if the Hunchback of Notre Dame could help this country I would vote for him. A few years ago as I was channel surfing I saw Dionne Warwick, Joy Behar
    and Connie Francis talking about Obama, they were like school girls saying how cute he is. Connie also said that she has had sexual dreams about him! What are they 16 yrs old? If looks count and they don’t, then it should be a landslide for Mitt!!
    Are you listening Joy, Dionne and Connie?

    • Artlouis

       I can believe it, MaryJoe. I think Whoopi Goldberg’s last remaining wish in life is to get it on with the president.

      I hope you will take a look at the piece I wrote here not long ago about whether it is time to repeal women’s suffrage.

    • bobemakk

      Maryjoe, you are so right.  I think that women feel sorry for him because he is the first African-American (maybe not really American born) who ran for president.  My cousin went to school with Joy Behar, she is a fool and so are the rest of the celebrities who support Obama, they don’t care about US at all.  Any movies or shows where celebrities appear who support Obama I refuse to watch.  You are a good woman for expressing the truth.

      • MARYJOE

        Thanks, I agree about the celebs, they don’t live in the real world.
        I would not go to a movie and spend our hard earned money to see these idiots!! If they care so much about this country and make so much money then why don’t they help the poor!! The  celebs that put their money where their mouth is , is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
        They do a lot for people all over the world. Let’s not forget what Gary Sinese and Wayne Newton do for the military people. There are others but not too many.

    • Xistentl1

      OMG, tell me you are just joking.

  • joer1

    Here’s a thought …. There are a “lot” of people who are holding their Presidential vote close to the vest.  Perhaps they don’t want to “get into it” with anyone … if they say they are voting for Romney, they could be called a “racist” and that is difficult to live down … whatever…. many feel it is best to be quiet, walk into the booth, close the curtain, vote for Romney and correct the “Obama Mistake”.  Under that scenario, the election will be a romp and I have a lot of faith in the American people … I think …. but you never know, there are a lot of people who are DEMOCRATS FIRST … Americans second.  There are Jewish folks who are Democrats and Liberals, first … supporters of Israel – second.  Many folks are a part of groups that have been bought with “things” and then there is the usual Democrat Fraud that will be in high gear this year so, brace for the worse and hope for the best!

    • Artlouis

       Makes sense to me.

      • joer1


        I really feel I make my comments as an AMERICAN … not as a Republican. It is a VERY consequential election … I am 70 years old … this is the only “consequential” election of my lifetime.

    • Hillplus

      I live in Colorado and regularly wear my ROMNEY shirts when out running errands. I can not tell you how many people surreptitiously give me a thumbs up or whisper ‘GO ROMNEY’. One older lady asked me if I was not afraid to wear my shirt around town. NOPE! Say it loud and proud!  I think that many keep it to themselves who they are voting for. Here is to hoping for a Romney/Ryan landslide!!

      • MARYJOE

        Good for you!!  Keep wearing your shirt proudly!!

      • Artlouis

         Colorado would be a very important pick-up.

  • Berryraymond

    What an argument for voter I.D.   When these factors that can be so close the fact that illegal’s may vote, or even some dead people could easily make the difference in an Obama second term.  Not to mention how difficult it is going to be for union workers to rush a few thousand illegals to the DMV for picture ID’s at a friendly DMV.  When I hear Democrats argue against voter ID it almost makes me laugh.  It’s like someone trying to keep a serious face while defending the statement that “their son’s little league baseball team can actually beat the New York Yankees. ”  Then to hear a willing media defend the statement is even more stupid.  For any media company to even pretend to have no bias, they need to take at least a neutral stance on voter Picture  ID’s.  Their now precious Supreme Court even up holds all the state voter ID laws.  In a close race this can make a great difference. 

    • Artlouis

       Amen, and thanks for your comment.


    If People in this country don’t know who Romney is, then they don’t deserve to vote.
    If they lack the interest then they can’t care that much. Romney has been to TV and Radio almost daily for at least 6 months. There are so many people in this country that shouldn’t be allowed to vote. They are too stupid!!

    • Artlouis

      This has been a problem throughout our history. Very few people  live up to their responsibilities as voters.  I don’t  know what can be done about it.

      • CCNV

         The only time people will sit up and notice is once everything they’ve worked for, and taken for granted, is GONE.

        • Artlouis

          That should be the GOP motto this year.

    • Brushfour

      Mary Joe you have a point, but really it’s because they’re Independant voters who did not watch the GOP Primary debates, and are still in the summer lull newswise.  Don’t worry, they’ll catch up to speed once the end of August hits. I’m waiting to see what kind of bounce Romney/Ryan gets from the GOP Convention in Florida.

  • Cyberquill

    In my lifetime, I don’t recall a single presidential election that wasn’t being plugged by the commentariat as the “most important election in our lifetime.” 

    Anyhow, looking forward to the Supreme Court taking on Romney v. Obama. 

    • Artlouis

       Cyber, I don’t recall an election where the candidates were so far apart on so many issues. They are not a matched pair, so that is what makes it important. It isn’t one of those elections where anyone can say it doesn’t matter who wins.

  • Awee

    Mitt is a lifetime Mormon cult servant, Sunday teacher , priest.
    Mitt can never separate religion form politics. religions was business life for Mitt.

    President Mitt the priest is middle east age like…just many more crusades…
    Mitt doesn”t fitt

    • ROB

      Get a life!

      • Banjo12

        Awee has a life. It’s just not a very good one.

    • joer1

       It is incredible that in the year 2012 in the 21st Century … we still have people judging others by their religion.  It might be best to evaluate candidates by their LACK of religion!

      • Artlouis

         Joer, How about if we judge them by what they have done and what they say they will do, whether they belong to a religious group or not?

        • joer1

          Artlouis ,

          ABSOLUTELY! however, if religion is in the mix … the standard should be whether a candidate has a religious faith. I am NOT a secularist ..and I believe in a God. The particular “flavor” of a candidate’s ” religiosity ” is not relevant to me.

    • theneighborhoodguy01

      Funny how I can’t find Awee’s profile anywhere…Discus cannot find it.  Just another “Autotroll”, I guess.

      Guerrilla trolling…the Socialist agenda’s best friend when they want to reach the lowest common group…the “group think” lefties… 

    • hillplus

      Put down the pitchfork, dude!! Romney has a paper trail that can be followed that prove you wrong!! You are embarrassing yourself!!