Larry Sabato outlines how it is possible — not likely, but not exactly far-fetched — that the presidential election next month will end in an electoral college tie, which would throw the outcome of the election to the House of Representatives and guarantee Romney would get the win.
The simplest way to explain this scenario is that Obama retains all the states John Kerry won in 2004, while adding New Mexico and Ohio. Under the 2004 map, that would make Obama president. But the 2010 reapportionment sent a handful of electoral votes from the Blue states to the Red states: just enough to make this scenario an exact 269-269 tie. But 269 would make Romney president, because in the event of a tie, the new House of Representatives would pick the president: each of the 50 delegations would get a single vote. Given that Republicans are almost assuredly going to control a solid majority of House delegations in the next Congress (see below), Romney would win.
Of course, this scenario involves Romney winning Nevada, but that might be very difficult. The Democratic machine in the Silver State that carried Sen. Harry Reid (D) over the finish line in 2010 appears to still be operating at full efficiency; Democrats continue to have a wide registration advantage in Nevada, and Jon Ralston, the prominent Nevada politics expert, believes that Obama has a lead there and that polls understate his advantage, much like they did for the president in 2008 and for Reid in 2010.
We don’t have a dog in this race, but we are rooting for one thing: no tie! A 269-269 Electoral College outcome would inevitably be a national crisis on par — or worse — with the 2000 Florida cliffhanger, especially if Romney lost the popular vote.
If that last paragraph had a “like” button, I’d push it about a thousand times. I really, really hope that doesn’t happen. The results would be very, very ugly.