Category Archives: What-if?

2012 Presidential Election with Six Californias

The Six Californias Initiative is in the news for having submitted signatures for a ballot measure to split the state of California into six smaller states.  How would such a dramatic change have impacted the 2012 General Election for President?

Six Californias Map

Six Californias Initiative Map

The proposed states are defined as follows: Jefferson (red), consisting of 14 counties in the north of the state to the Oregon Border, North California (gold) consisting of 13 counties running north of San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, Silicon Valley (green) consisting of eight counties from Contra Costa to Monterey, Central California (cyan) consisting of 14 counties north of Los Angeles and south of Sacramento, West California consisting of the four counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara, and South California (magenta) consisting of the five counties in the southern part of the state south and east of Los Angeles.

To determine the number of Presidential Electors for the six new states, the representatives apportioned to each state is calculated using the Method of Equal Proportions based on the population figures from the 2010 U.S. Census.  Jefferson would become the seventh smallest state with more population than Delaware but less than Montana any have only one representative. North California would have five, Silicon Valley nine, Central California six, West California 16, and South California 15.  The combined number of representatives of the six Californias is 52, one fewer than the whole of California today.  The one representative lost by the “Californias” is picked up by North Carolina.  However, the six Californias would pick up 10 new U. S. Senators, for a total of 64 electoral votes in all (nine more than the current 55 electoral votes).  The table below shows the breakdown of the total representatives and electoral votes for the proposed states, assuming that the size of the House of Representatives remains at 435.

Proposed StatePopulation (2010)RepSenEV
North California3,742,229527
Silicon Valley6,597,3329211
Central California4,124,776628
West California11,335,45516218
South California10,504,92415217

The Presidential Election results for these six states are quite interesting.  Three of the states – Jefferson, Central California, and South California – are competitive with a margin of victory less than 3.5%.  Romney wins Jefferson and Central California, while Obama wins the remaining four.  The table below shows the data.

Proposed StateTotal VoteMargin%%O%RVote ObamaVote Romney
N. California1,536,378289,96418.9%57.9%39.0%889,742599,778
Silicon Valley2,590,8141,295,98150.0%73.5%23.5%1,904,135608,154
C. California1,147,44731,0112.7%47.3%50.0%542,933573,994
W. California3,798,6301,385,35536.5%67.0%30.5%2,543,2191,157,864
S. California3,601,22486,3852.4%50.0%47.6%1,798,7051,712,320

The electoral vote breakdown from the six Californias is 11 for Romney and 53 for Obama, with an additional one vote for Romney picked up in North Carolina due to the apportionment of one more representative to North Carolina as mentioned above.  The overall electoral vote total is: Obama 330 to Romney 218.  The national electoral vote map for this scenario is shown below:

Six Californias Scenario 2012 Electoral Vote Map

Six Californias Scenario 2012 Electoral Vote Map

Forum discussion topic is located here.

Proportional Method Applied to 2000

The last two entries discussed the Colorado initiative to change the manner in which the state chooses electoral votes from the winner-take-all system to a proportional one. Below is a summary of a hypothetical result of the 2000 election if the method was used in all states.

The Method Applied to 2000
If the proposed Colorado method of allocating Presidential Electors is applied to all states in the 2000 Election, the Electoral Vote count is much closer to the popular vote and yields no electoral majority:

Candidate Popular Vote %Pop Vote Elec Vote %Elec Vote
Gore 51,003,926 48.38% 269 50.0%
Bush 50,460,110 47.87% 263 48.9%
Nader 2,883,105 2.73% 6 1.1%

Rounding Error bonus electors (as described below) are granted to Gore in California, Illinois, Michigan, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Oregon, New Mexico, Iowa, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Bonus electors are awarded to Bush in Florida, Kansas, Utah, and Colorado. Nader loses one elector in Minnesota.

The result listed above does not account for the abstention in the District of Columbia.

Since the Republicans controlled the majority of state delegations in the House of Representatives (109th congress), its a good bet that the parties would have fought over Florida for the one elector in an attempt to give Gore a majority in the Electoral College. Gore wins the bonus electors in most of the close states (NM, IA, OR, WI) and Bush has only four bonus electors (in KS, UT, CO, and FL). The next closest chance for Gore to gain a vote is Colorado where Gore requires an increase of 1.36 percentage points (about 23,000 votes). The election likely would have been decided by the House of Representatives in January of 2001.

Detailed tables of the result for each state are included in a summarized article in the Information section.