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Estimating Partisan Bias of the Electoral College Under Proposed Changes in Elector Apportionment

14 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2012 Last revised: 28 Aug 2012

A.C. Thomas

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Statistics

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science

Gary King

Harvard University

Jonathan N. Katz

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Date Written: August 27, 2012

Abstract

In the election for President of the United States, the Electoral College is the body whose members vote for an elect the President directly. Each state sends a number of delegates equal to its total number of representatives and senators in Congress; all but two states (Nebraska and Maine) assign electors pledged to the candidate that wins the state’s plurality vote. We investigate the effect on presidential elections if states were to assign their electoral votes according to results in each congressional district, and conclude that the current electoral college and direct popular vote are both substantially fairer compared to those alternatives where states would have divided their electoral votes by congressional district.

Keywords: presidential election, electoral college, congressional district

Suggested Citation

Thomas, A.C. and Gelman, Andrew and King, Gary and Katz, Jonathan N., Estimating Partisan Bias of the Electoral College Under Proposed Changes in Elector Apportionment (August 27, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2134776 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2134776

A.C. Thomas (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Statistics ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Baker Hall 132
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Andrew Gelman

Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-4883 (Phone)
212-663-2454 (Fax)

Gary King

Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-500-7570 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://gking.harvard.edu

Jonathan Katz

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-4191 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://jkatz.caltech.edu

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