Big vs. Small - Who has more clout?

While scholars argue that the electoral college favors, or is advantageous to smaller states, there is also an argument that it favors larger states.  Small states are 'protected' by receiving a proportionally high amount of electoral votes in reference to their populations, arguably giving them more clout.  See Providence Journal article on small state power

Simultaneously though, voters in large states have more power through voting potential, because they have the chance to affect a large amount of electoral votes with their raw vote.  As presidential historian Allan Lichtman explains, "you've got to have a majority 270 votes in the Electoral College to win, and you accumulate them state-by-state, with large states like California having the lions-share of the Electoral College vote."

According to Lawrence D. Longley and Neal Peirce in their book “Electoral College Primer 2000” (not updated in 2004), the states enjoying a higher-than-average advantage in Electoral College that year were the larger ones with the most Electoral College votes.  Note that this finding is in direct opposition to the broad assumption that smaller states have a greater advantage because of the Electoral College.  In descending order, these states were

California – 55 votes

Texas – 34 votes

New York – 31 votes

Florida – 27 votes

Pennsylvania – 21 votes

Illinois – 21 votes

*Vote totals are current for 2001-2010

Longley and Peirce also declared that those states with the lowest amount of clout in the Electoral College are typically those that are argued to be favored by it, including Maine, Montana, Nevada and Utah, each of which has 5 or fewer electoral votes

This data turns out to be extremely hopeful, considering that since only six states enjoy a large amount of influence under the Electoral College system, the remaining 44 might not put up such a fight when it comes to abolishing it.  Perhaps the key comes in convincing the smaller states of the greater advantage to them in abolishing the Electoral College.  Despite the loss of “clout” to smaller states without the Electoral College, they would gain a proportionally balanced advantage by causing the larger states to lose their massively overwhelming advantage in the system.

The Case for Reform

Electoral College Table of Contents

April 17th 2009
In our view, April 17: Equal Voting

Editorial in the Columbian in favor of the national popular vote plan, which is likely to be passed into law soon in the state of Washington.

February 5th 2009
Push continues to defeat Electoral College
Associated Press

Associated Press wire story on National Popular Vote moving in Vermont features FairVote analysis

January 20th 2009
Initiative could make elections more fair
The Columbia Tribune

Missouri ally of the National Popular Vote plan writes oped in local paper.

January 10th 2009
Abolish the Electoral College
Sarasota Herald Tribune

Editorial strongly in favor of a national popular vote for president via constitutional amendment or the 'compelling' National Popular Vote plan.

December 22nd 2008
Time to eliminate Electoral College?

Editorial supports a national popular vote for president, citing FairVote's research.

[ Previous ] [ Next ]