Eleven states needed to win the presidency

What is the fewest number of states needed to win the presidency? With our electoral college system it might be far fewer than you think.

You may not have misread the title, but you probably did not get the meaning. I do not mean, “The eleven states a candidate must carry to win.” I mean, “Any candidate can win the presidency by carrying only eleven states.”

You now have the idea.

It is possible to lose the the popular vote and lose 39 of the 50 states, yet still be the president of these United States.

How? The Electoral College.

The Electoral College was approved September 6, 1786, for reasons known only to the members of Skull and Bones and makers of “corn likker.” According to Wikipedia, “Delegates from the small states generally favored the Electoral College out of concern that the large states would otherwise control presidential elections.”

Smaller states, for purposes of the College, are not determined by size, but by population.

While polls can be a good measure of popular sentiment, they are not sufficient to gauge the electoral map. That is why you often hear of “swing states.” These are states candidate X, Y, or Z must get to reach the magical 270 electoral votes needed.

You can look elsewhere for more specifics on the electoral college (including what happens if no one reaches 270 votes). For now I just wanted to share the eleven states one can win to become president:

California (55 votes)
Texas (38 votes)
Florida (29 votes)
New York (29 votes)
Illinois (20 votes)
Pennsylvania (20 votes)
Ohio (18 votes)
Georgia (16 votes)
Michigan (16 votes)
North Carolina (15 votes)
New Jersey (14 votes)

electoral college map 2012

Electoral College map 2012 [Image credit]

You might be interested to know, based on 2011 data, 177,215,379 people live in those eleven states (total U.S. population 311,591,917). Another way of saying it is around 57% of the United States lives in these eleven states.

UPDATE: Click here to download a PDF map to color/fill-in on election night.

Click below to review these books on the electoral college:

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Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.