David Herdson asks: What odds an electoral tie?

David Herdson asks: What odds an electoral tie?

If it happened we could a Romney-Biden pairing?

If the US presidential polling is correct, then Barack Obama is heading for a second term, on a much closer result than his first. It may be that Romney even wins the national vote but Obama’s narrow but consistent lead in key swing states would give him the 270+ Electoral College votes he needs for victory.

There is, however, enough uncertainty in the result that a tie remains a possibility, if an outside chance. As this Bloomberg article notes, there are some combinations of results that would produce the magic 269-each score. More scenarios open up if the winning candidates in Nebraska and Maine – the two states that don’t award their electors on a winner-take-all basis – fail to sweep the congressional districts there too.

There’s also the possibility that one of the Electors goes rogue. Unlike many so-called electoral colleges, which are just formulae for calculating the winner, the US presidential Electoral College consists of real electors casting real votes. If the winning candidate is projected to receive, say, 270 or 271 votes, there’s always the possibility that not all the electors will do as they’re meant to.

In the event that neither Obama nor Romney reaches 270 (and that doesn’t necessarily require a tie – a candidate abstaining or voting for a third party would similarly reduce the winner’s total), the vote for the presidency goes to the House, voting in state blocks. That gives a strong advantage to Romney, as many of the smaller states are Republican-leaning. On the other hand, the Senate would decide the vice-presidency and it’s the Democrats with the advantage there. An election with no winner in the Electoral College may produce the bizarre outcome of Romney-Biden.

Political geekery? Perhaps, but the election is close and if nothing else, it’s worth checking the terms of bets as to whether they’re necessarily settled on the November 6 ‘results’, as should it go down to the wire, it won’t be over until January.

PaddyPower make it a 100/1 shot. It might just be worth a teenner.

David Herdson

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