Determining States’ A Priori Preferences for the Electoral College: 1788 – 2016

24 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017

Date Written: November 30, 2017

Abstract

Here I review some of the basic institutional elements and empirical regularities of the U.S. electoral college. Historical election results confirm the expected dominance of the winner-take-all allocation of electors. Of greater interest is the array of state preferences for the electoral college, given a national-popular-vote as the contemplated alternative. The analysis demonstrates that well over half of the states, the smaller-population ones, prefer the electoral college. Indeed, the inverse relationship between state size and electoral-college preference, as well as the majority-of-states preference for the system, have existed throughout the entire history of U.S. presidential elections. Those characteristics are certain to persist for the foreseeable future.

Keywords: Electoral College, State Preferences

JEL Classification: H11

Suggested Citation

Godek, Paul, Determining States’ A Priori Preferences for the Electoral College: 1788 – 2016 (November 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3081042 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3081042

Paul Godek (Contact Author)

Navigant Economics ( email )

1200 19th Street
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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