The likelihood of the 2012 presidential election ending in a tie is greater than you think.
National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar looked at the possibilities and found that a 269-269 electoral college vote tie isn’t very hard to imagine at all, given the current political map. If President Obama keeps all the states that went blue in 2004 save New Hampshire, where he is struggling — and added New Mexico, Colorado and Virginia — he would end up with 269 electoral votes.
For this scenario, the Republican candidate would have to win Florida, Ohio, Nevada and North Carolina, all of which are swing states with some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Virginia and Colorado, on the other hand, have lower than average unemployment rates and have high amounts of the college-educated, white collar workers that tend Democratic.
Needless to say, this is still a long-shot scenario, and the U.S. hasn’t had an electoral college tie since the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800. But it isn’t outside the realm of possibility, either, at which point the election would go to the House of Representatives.
Each state delegation in the House would be entitled to one vote in the event of a tie. That would give the GOP a 33 – 16 state advantage if it were to occur today, with Minnesota’s delegation evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.