Presidential Race: Electoral College Outcome Could Be 269-269

Race Would Be Decided By House of Representatives

Looking at the current swing states in the presidential election, one possible outcome is that President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will each receive 269 electoral college votes.

The current Real Clear Politics average of recent national polls shows Obama at 46.9 percent and Romney at 47.4 percent, indicating that with 19 days until Election Day, the race is very close.

There are currently 11 swing states which carry a total of 146 Electoral College votes -- Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (6), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10). With the remaining states, Romney has 191 Electoral College votes and Obama has 201 Electoral College votes.

In a Thursday blog post, University of Virginia political scientists Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley point out that a tie in the electoral college, 269-269, is a real possibility.

For the Electoral College to end in a tie, Romney would win Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia. Obama would win Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.

Given recent polls, this scenario is not hard to imagine. It shows each candidate winning states where polls show them polling slightly better than their opponent, with one exception -- Nevada. Sabato, Kondik and Skelley point out that of all the states on the 269-269 map, Romney winning Nevada is the least likely.

According to Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, if the Electoral College is tied, the newly elected House of Representatives will choose the president with each state delegation getting one vote.

Given current projections for the U.S. House races, Kondik predicts that in a tie race Romney would become president. He would receive the votes of at least 29 state delegations, while Obama would receive the votes of at least 15 state delegations, and six state delegations would either be tied or too close to call.

Kondik, Sabato and Skelley hope, though, the race will not be decided by the House.

"We don't have a dog in this race, but we are rooting for one thing: no tie! A 269-269 Electoral College outcome would inevitably be a national crisis on par -- or worse -- with the 2000 Florida cliffhanger, especially if Romney lost the popular vote," they wrote.

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