November 18, 2020

UPDATE: How Would A Proportional Electoral College Work?

With the election results all but final, we revisited our Proportional Electoral College model to see how well the system would have worked in this unusual 2020 election. Previously, with only partial returns in, we found that the proportional system almost exactly matched the popular vote totals.

As the new, updated chart shows, that scenario (once again) holds—with the actual popular vote closely matching what would have been the proportional Electoral College allocations:

                                                            BIDEN  (271)          TRUMP (267)

PROPORTIONAL EC VOTES           50.6%                    49.4%

POPULAR VOTE                               51.0%                    47.3%*

*balance of vote going to third parties

This proportional Electoral College system much more clearly reflects the closeness of this year's race than the current 'winner-take-all' system. Under our current system, Biden received 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump (a misleading 57% to 43% margin). Once again, this one simple switch to a proportional system would dramatically improve electoral representativeness—and still give the nation the same winners and losers.