Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

270 to win

Posted October 29, 2008

The national popular vote is meaningless.  The presidential election in the United States consists of 50 separate elections.  The winner takes all of a state's electoral votes (except for ME and NE, which distribute them differnetly).  The candidate who wins a majority of electoral votes – 270 – wins.

That means there are many different combinations of states that can lead to victory. is a site that lets you look at those possiblities.  Clicking on a state will change the color to red, blue or beige, which means that it's too close to call.  A chart below the map keeps a tally of the vote total.

Another neat feature: When neither candidate on the map has 270 votes, the site tells you how many possible state combinations each ticket has to reach the magic number. 

So, here's a fun exercise.  When you load the site, you see several states that are "too close to call."  Start clicking.  Give NH, VA, NC, FL, OH, IN and NV to McCain.  Give CO to Obama.  Look at the vote total.  It's possible!


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • winonedog Oct 29, 2008

    does McCain win the 50 electoral votes from Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland if he wins the Popular Vote?

  • mvymvy Oct 29, 2008

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


  • mvymvy Oct 29, 2008

    The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote -- that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).


  • m0nky Oct 29, 2008

    man...yea even if you give mccain PA and all the listed swing states besides colorado and nevada, he lacks a couple points. even if you are generous and give him some other states where the polls are close, he's got himself an up hill battle.

About this Blog:

WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.