Democrat Joe Biden beat President Donald trumped by about 4.45 percent points, follow to Pew research study Center’s tabulation of last or near-final return from all 50 states and also the ar of Columbia. Biden received virtually 81.3 million votes, or 51.3% of all votes actors – a record, and more than 7 million much more votes than Trump.

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But when the 538 electors satisfy Dec. 14 in their corresponding states to actors the votes that will certainly formally make Biden the president-elect, his margin of success there most likely will be greater than his margin in the well-known vote. Barring any kind of defections native so-called “faithless electors,” Biden is on track to obtain 306 electoral votes, or 56.9% the the 538 complete votes available.

Biden’s victory will certainly be almost identical to Trump’s Electoral College victory in 2016, once Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton 304-227 regardless of receiving 2.8 millionfewerpopular votes. (Two Republican electors and also five autonomous electors cast “faithless” votes for various other people.)

That 2 such dissimilar elections could generate such comparable Electoral college margins illustrates an abiding feature of the unified States’ quirky means of selecting its height executive: The Electoral College consistently produces an ext lopsided results than the popular vote.


This write-up builds on job-related Pew Research facility did complying with the 2016 presidential election, and also a recent analysis of nearby state elections. We updated the electoral vote inflation (EVI) evaluation in the 2016 post with outcomes from this year Biden-Trump contest. EVI measures the disparity in between the winner’s famous vote and electoral poll margins.

To identify the EVI, we very first tabulated the votes actors in every 50 states and the ar of Columbia, as reported by every jurisdiction’s chief choice authority, to identify the famous vote margin. (In one state, because that which no official 2020 results have actually yet to be posted, us relied top top The Washington Post’s poll tracker.)

For every election, us then calculate the re-superstructure of all obtainable Electoral university votes actually actors for every candidate. By splitting the win electoral vote margin by the winning popular vote margin, we arrived at the EVI.


Looking earlier at every presidential election because 1828 (when they began to resemble today’s system), the winner’s electoral poll share has, top top average, been 1.36 times his popular vote share – what we call the electoral vote inflation (EVI) factor.


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The larger the EVI, the better the disparity between the winner’s popular vote and also electoral poll margins; the smaller the EVI, the closer the two margins space to every other. Based on the reported famous vote come date and also the supposed vote in the Electoral College, Biden’s EVI is 1.11 – smaller, in fact, 보다 Trump’s in 2016 (1.23), and the smallest due to the fact that George W. Bush’s two victories in 2000 and 2004 (1.05 both times).

The EVI aspect arises from 2 rules governing the Electoral university – one laid down in the Constitution and also one that’s come to be standard practice over the decades. Under the Constitution, each state it s okay one electoral poll for each senator and representative it has actually in Congress. Because every state, no issue how large or exactly how small, gets two senators, little states have better weight in the Electoral College than they would based upon their populace alone.

Second, all yet two states use a plurality winner-take-all system to award their presidential electors – anyone receives the most votes in a state wins every its electoral votes. Winning a state by 33 percent points, together Biden did in Massachusetts, doesn’t acquire you any kind of closer come the White residence than winning it by 0.3 clues (as Biden walk in Arizona).

In contrast, take into consideration the two states that don’t usage winner-take-all, Maine and also Nebraska. In those states, candidates acquire two electoral votes for winning the statewide poll plus one for each congressional ar they win.

In Maine this year, Biden winner 53.1% the the statewide vote and one of its 2 congressional districts, so he obtained 75% that Maine’s electoral votes (three out of four), not 100%. In Nebraska, Trump took 58.2% of the statewide vote and two of 3 congressional districts, for 80% (four out of five) that the state’s electoral votes. While not really proportional, those results an ext closely reflect the diversity the candidate assistance within Maine and Nebraska 보다 a winner-take-all system does.

For trump card in 2016 and also Biden in 2020, winning a handful of large, winner-take-all claims by very close spare proved key to your Electoral university victories. In 2016, Trump brought Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (total electoral votes: 75) by much less than 2 percent points each – or a linked total that 190,655 votes the end of more than 23.3 million cast in those states. This year, Biden carried Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and also Wisconsin (total electoral votes: 57) through that very same narrow margin – or a merged total that 124,364 votes the end of 18.6 million cast.

The greatest disparity in between the to win electoral and popular votes, with an EVI of 1.96, was in 1912 in the four-way slugfest between Democrat Woodrow Wilson, Republican incumbent wilhelm Howard Taft, steady Theodore Roosevelt (who had actually bolted indigenous the Republicans) and also Socialist Eugene V. Debs. Wilson winner a chuck 82% of the electoral votes – 435 the end of 531 – with less than 42% the the all at once popular vote. In fact, Wilson won renowned vote majorities in only 11 that the 40 states he carried – every in what to be then the solidly democratic South.

The following biggest void was the 1980 “Reagan landslide.” In that three-way contest, Ronald Reagan took just under 51% the the well-known vote, come Jimmy Carter’s 41% and independent man Anderson’s 6.6%. Yet Reagan soared past Carter in the Electoral College: 489 electoral votes (91% the the total) come 49, because that an EV inflation variable of 1.79.

Many the the elections through the most-inflated electoral votes featured prominent third-party candidates who organized down the winners’ popular vote share without being far-ranging Electoral College players themselves. ~ above the other hand, once the 2 major-party nominees ran reasonably evenly and there were no remarkable independents or 3rd parties, the Electoral college vote has actually tended come be much closer come the popular tally.

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Defenders the the Electoral college argue that the EVI is a feature, no a bug. As one observer wrote around the 1968 election, the system’s strength is in “delivering a clear, incontrovertible nationwide decision from a messy and also angry (and violent) project year.”

But countless Americans favor an altering the means we selected our presidents. A Pew Research facility survey indigenous this previous January uncovered that 58% the U.S. Adult favored amending the constitution so the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide wins; 40% desired keeping the existing system.