270 to win
Posted October 29, 2008 6:34 a.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2008 6:46 a.m. EDT
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. 270towin.com 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!