WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — It’s not even clear who is running to be president in 2016, but one prominent political scientist has already sketched out a scenario of a deadlocked Electoral College.
Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia has laid out such a scenario where 269 votes go to both the Democrat and Republican running for president.
Here’s how: the Republican nominee would have to win all of the states former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won in 2012 while peeling off four states won by President Barack Obama — Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Florida and Ohio were Obama’s closest wins, and perhaps Iowa and Wisconsin can be put in play if the Democratic performance among working-class white people erodes further, Sabato speculates.
Sabato admits that such a combination isn’t likely — Colorado and Virginia would be more likely to be peeled off before Iowa and Wisconsin if there is a relatively uniform vote swing across the country.
But in the case that there is an Electoral College tie, the vote would go to the House of Representatives. With Republicans firms entrenched, it would take a national wave for the lower chamber to flip back to Democratic control, and a 269-269 tie would seem to rule out such a scenario.
That means that Republicans, who presently control 33 out of the 50 state U.S. House delegations, would decide who gets to be the next president.