Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Electoral College Really Does Give Republicans a Massive Advantage in Close Elections, a New Paper Finds

Exhibit A.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrats are not fond of the Electoral College these days, for obvious reasons. Two Republicans, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, have won the presidency in the past 20 years, and both of them galumphed into the Oval Office after losing the popular vote. In this era of tight national races, the system has clearly given Republicans a built-in advantage that allows them to govern with a minority of the public’s support.
And now, a new working paper by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin has quantified just how big that edge might have been in recent decades.
In their baseline results, the authors find that during the past 30 years, a hypothetical Republican who earned 49 percent of the two-party popular vote—that is, the vote total won by Democrats and Republicans, excluding third parties—could expect to win the Electoral College about 27 percent of the time. A Democrat with that share of the vote would have just an 11 percent chance of winning. At 49.5 percent of the popular vote, a Republican would have enjoyed a 46 percent probability of walking away with the presidency, versus a 21 percent chance for a Democrat. In a photo finish where the two parties split the vote about 50-50, a Republican would have had a 65 percent chance of spending the next four years in office.

No comments: