Michael Geruso, Dean Spears, Ishaana Talesara, 19 October 2019

The candidate who won the popular vote in the US has not won the presidency four times in the past two centuries, most recently in 2016. This column uses state-level voting data in presidential races extending back to 1836 to examine just how likely these Electoral College inversions are. The findings suggest that in 45% of presidential races decided by less than one percent of the vote, the popular vote winner will lose. Over the last 30 years, the probability has been about 70% that if an inversion occurs, it would have been a Democratic popular vote majority but a Republican Electoral College win.


CEPR Policy Research