What the research says: Apportioning electoral votes by congressional district would be a seriously biasing idea

Given that the apportion-electoral-votes-by-congressional-votes idea is in the news again, I thought it would be a good idea to point to some recent research on the topic.

Here’s what Andrew Thomas, Gary King, Jonathan Katz, and I found in a paper published a couple months ago in the journal Statistics, Politics, and Policy:

We investigate the effect on presidential elections if states were to assign their electoral votes according to results in each congressional district, and conclude that the direct popular vote and the current electoral college are both substantially fairer compared to those alternatives where states would have divided their electoral votes by congressional district.

That’s what the research shows. Apportioning by CD would lead to huge, huge bias in the system. Personally, I’d prefer a popular vote system but that’s another story. Doing it by CD would be a disaster.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Andrew Gelman

Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.