The State of the Home States

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and their running mates have a fair claim to a number of "home" states. None of these are really “swing states,” but these in theory are the states that know these men best, so let's take a look at how the campaign is going in these states. Poll numbers are from Nate Silver's polling average as of Sunday, November 4.

State Claim to fame
Dem GOP Advantage
District of Columbia Obama resides in the White House (2009-present). 88.0% 8.0% Obama +80.0%
Hawaii Obama was born in Honolulu (August 4, 1961). 61.6% 33.6% Obama +27.5%
Illinois Obama moved to Chicago in 1991. He was Illinois State Senator 1997-2004 and Illinois’ US Senator 2004-2008. 56.6% 38.7% Obama +17.9%
Mass-achusetts Romney has degrees in business and law from Harvard University (1971-1975). He stayed in Boston where he worked for Bain Capital (1977-2002) and served as Bishop of the Ward for the LDS Church (1981-1986). He ran for Senate unsuccessfully (1994). He was elected Governor (2003-2007).
Obama has a degree in law from Harvard University (1988-1991).
56.8% 38.5% Obama +18.3%
Michigan Romney was born in Detroit (March 12, 1947). His father George Romney was President of the American Motors Company (1954-1962) and Governor of Michigan (1963-1969). 49.3% 44.6% Obama +4.7%
Utah Mitt and Ann Romney were married at the Salt Lake Temple (1969). Romney attended Brigham Young University. Romney ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Romney owns a home in Park City, UT. 24.3% 69.9% Romney +45.6%
California Romney owns a lavish beachfront home in La Jolla.
Obama attended Occidental College.
54.4% 38.8% Obama +15.6%
New Hampshire Romney owns a beachfront vacation home in Wolfeboro, NH. 48.7% 46.3% Obama +2.4%
Wisconsin Paul Ryan was born, raised and continues to live in Janesville, WI where he represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. 49.9% 45.7% Obama +4.2%
Pennsylvania Joe Biden was born in Scranton (Nov. 20, 1942) and lived there until 1953. 49.6% 44.8% Obama +4.8%
Delaware Biden moved to Delaware in 1953. He served as Delaware’s Senator (1973-2009). 57.1% 37.8% Obama +21.0%
Ohio Ryan attended Miami Univerity (Ohio). 48.7% 45.8% Obama +2.9%
New York Biden attended Syracuse University. 59.9% 35.0% Obama +24.9%

Voting Today in Maryland, DC and Wisconsin

The Romney campaign claims he has a lock on the nomination. However, he is saturating the airwaves in Wisconsin as if his political future depended on it. Wisconsin is voting today in a winner-take-all primary. It is an open primary so anyone can vote regardless of party affiliation.

According to Politico, “Romney’s campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future are spending a combined $1,917,764 over the next seven days, including $742,928 from the campaign and the balance from ROF. The pro-Romney super PAC is the only group on the radio in Wisconsin and has a major TV presence across the state.”

Meanwhile, Santorum is responding in kind (albeit with a much smaller budget). According to ABC News, “Rick Santorum is closing out his Wisconsin primary battle with a ferocious new television ad that portrays Romney and President Obama as the same person.”

According to projections from the Associated Press, Romney has 572 delegates (of 55% of the 1031 projected so far) which puts him exactly halfway to the total of 1144 to lock in the nomination. He would need 45.5% of the remaining delegates to avoid a brokered convention.

The Santorum campaign contests those numbers. Many of the states which have voted already have a multi-stage delegate selection process which has not yet been completed, and as we saw recently in North Dakota the results can diverge surprisingly from the initial straw vote. According to DemConWatch only 869 delegates have actually been chosen of which 503 have endorsed or are pledged to Romney. This includes the 50 delegates from Florida chosen in an early winner-take-all primary which is against the rules and likely to be challenged at the Republican National Convention.

However, in the battle for campaign merchandising, Santorum is beating Romney hands down. According to the Washington Post,

The campaign has looked for them, selling official Mitt Romney Super Fan T-shirts for $30 apiece. At last count, it had sold 346. Rick Santorum, by contrast, has sold 3,000 of his $100 souvenir sweater vests.

Primary results after the jump.
Color Key  

Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No Votes: Black.
No vote yet: Grey.

Next Contests  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

States Won

Newt Gingrich: SC GA

Agreement Among States to Elect President by National Popular Vote

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.

The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbiaand 8 states (VT, MD, WA, IL, NJ, MA, CA, HI) shown in green on the map. They total 132 electoral votes bringing us almost halfway towards the 270 necessary to activate the National Popular Vote.

Eleven more states (shown in purple) have passed NPV bills in at least one chamber of their legislature. For example, recently the Republican-controlled New York Senate passed NPV in a 47-13 vote. Republicans supported the bill 21-11 while Democrats supported it 26-2. Across the country, NPV has been endorsed by 2,124 state legislators.

The shortcomings of the current system stem from the winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state).

The winner-take-all rule has permitted a candidate to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in 4 of our 56 elections – 1 in 14 times. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected Kerry despite Bush’s nationwide lead of 3,000,000.

Another shortcoming of the winner-take-all rule is that presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign visits and ad money in the November general election campaign in just six closely divided “battleground” states — with 98% going to 15 states. This makes two thirds of the states mere spectators. (The maps on the left show a similar situation during the final five weeks of the 2004 Bush-Kerry election. Each purple hand represents a visit from a presidential or vice-presidential candidate and each dollar sign represents $1,000,000 spent on TV advertising.)

The winner-take-all rule treats voters supporting the candidate who comes in second place in a particular state as if they supported the candidate that they voted against.

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states exclusive control over the manner of awarding their electoral votes:

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

The winner-take-all rule is not in the Constitution. It was used by only three states in our nation’s first election in 1789. The current method of electing the President was established by state laws, and that these state laws may be changed at any time.

Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes – that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).

The bill preserves the Electoral College, while assuring that every vote is equal and that every vote will matter in every state in every presidential election.

The bill has been endorsed by New York Times, Sacramento Bee, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Common Cause, FairVote, LWVUS, and NAACP.

As seen in this state polls are extremely favorable. Supports ranges from a “low” of 67% in Arizona to a high of 83% in Tennessee. On this map, shades of blue represent the highest support and 50/50 support would be represented in purple.

The movement for the National Popular Vote is bipartisan: The national advisory board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R-UT), Birch Bayh (D-IN), and David Durenberger (R-MN) as well as former congressmen John Anderson (R-IL, I), John Buchanan (R-AL), Tom Campbell (R-CA), and Tom Downey (D-NY). Former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Governors Bob Edgar (R-IL) and Chet Culver (D-IA) are champions.

This Spring, Pennsylvania House Bill 1270 was introduced by Rep. Tom C. Creighton (R-Lancaster County) and Senate Bill 1116 was introduced by Senators Alloway, Argall, Boscola, Erickson, Fontana, Leach, Mensch, Solobay, Vance and Waugh. These bills have not yet be acted upon action by the State Government Committees.

Additional information is available in the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote.

Pennsylvania poll results follow the jump.

To support National Popular Vote efforts, donate money, contact your state legislator and get involved.
Pennsylvanians Strongly Support Popular Vote for President

Two out of three Pennsylvanians believe the President should be the candidate who “gets the most votes in all 50 states”, according to a recent poll conducted by noted Political Science Professor Dr. Terry Madonna.

The strong showing came in Madonna’s March Omnibus Poll involving a telephone survey of more than 800 Pennsylvania residents and voters. Among those interviewed, seven in ten agreed “it would be unjust to have a President who did not receive the most popular votes.”

The survey findings were released by the National Popular Vote Project even as state House and Senate sponsors are garnering additional support for enabling legislation on the matter.

Madonna said polling showed bipartisan public support for the project. “A clear majority of Republicans and Democrats favor popular voting in place of the Electoral College’s current method for choosing the President,” Madonna said. “The fundamental reasons the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College system no longer exist, and the voters of Pennsylvania understand that.”

The prime sponsor of the legislation in the House, Republican state Rep. Tom Creighton of Lancaster County, is quick to point out that his legislation (HB 1270) does not seek to supplant the Electoral College, but rather seeks to direct the electors as provided in the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution, Creighton notes, spells out in Article II, Section 1, that only the state legislatures may set rules on electors and that, in fact, the term “Electoral College” does not appear in the Constitution.

“Right now, most states allow electors to abide by a ‘winner take all’ approach which casts all of a state’s electoral college votes for the candidate who wins that state,” no matter if the candidate wins by a single vote or in a landslide. That “winner take all” practice has resulted in four elections where the candidate who received the most popular votes was not seated as President. A half dozen other elections resulted in “near misses.”

Only about one in four persons surveyed believe that electing a President by the national popular vote will favor one party over another. And of those who believe that, there is a clear split over which party would be favored.

Support was strong for the popular vote across the state although the most vigorous support was noted in Northwestern Pennsylvania, where 72% supported the concept. Philadelphia and suburban counties came next with 69% supporting a National Popular Vote. 63% supported the concept in both Southwestern(including Pittsburgh) and Northeastern Pennsylvania. A clear majority (58%) supported the idea in Central Pennsylvania.

The Madonna survey included the questions on the presidential election at the request of the National Popular Vote Project, a non-partisan, non-profit organization promoting the issue nationwide. Interviews were conducted with 807 residents, of whom 659 were registered voters, using a random digit telephone number selection system that allowed for the inclusion of cell phone users, in addition to regular landline respondents. The sample error was plus or minus 3.4%.

Results in the survey were similar to those reported in a 2008 automated survey of more than 1,000 Pennsylvania voters conducted by Public Policy Polling. In that poll about 70% favored the election of the President by the national popular vote.

Why Wyoming and Not Washington D.C.?

Daniel E. Loeb

The 2010 Census figures released yesterday show that Washington D.C. now has 601,723 residents whereas the State of Wyoming only has 563,626. In fact, Wyoming has never had as many residents as the District of Columbia.

So why does Wyoming get two Senators and a Congressmen while Americans living our nations capital have no representation in Congress?

Similarly, while Alaska currently has more residents than Washington D.C., it had far less in the census prior to Statehood.

The situation in Puerto Rico is even worse. 3,725,789 Americans live in Puerto Rico, but they do not have a vote in Congress, nor do they have any influence in the November Presidential election.

When I was an American living in France, I had the right to cast an absentee ballot in my state of origin. Does this make any sense? Should an American in France have more rights than American’s in our nation’s capital, Puerto Rico and the other territories.

An effort to give a single Representative to DC was defeated last year by the introduction of a poison-pill amendment promoted by the NRA.

This year, the House passed the Puerto Rico Democracy Act by a vote of 223-169. However, the Republican minority was able to prevent this bill from coming up for a vote. This act would would have allowed Puerto Ricans to vote on their status and either become a U.S. State, continue as a U.S. Territory, or become an independent country.

If the United States is to be a beacon of Democracy throughout the world, it must allow Americans in D.C. and Puerto Rico the same rights it gives Wyomans, Alaskans and Americans Abroad.