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Saturday
Oct202012

RCP Moves NH To Romney--A Tie Possibility Harkens Us Back To 1824

In an indication of national movement toward Mitt Romney, Real Clear Politics today moved both New Hampshire and Virginia into the Mitt Romney column in its calculation that forces every state into one column or the other...in other words, no toss-ups allowed.
RCP now has Obama ahead only 277-261 with 270 needed for an electoral college win, but keep in mind that 269 would provide a tie in which case Romney would almost certainly win in the House of Representatives.  That's an interesting scenario in itself.  Each state would get one vote, so Vermont counts as much as California.  26 votes would be needed, and states which have two Congressmen (New Hampshire should Guinta and Kuster win, for example) would most likely not cast votes at all.
There are in fact scenarios making the rounds which get us to a 269-269 tie.
Only twice in history has an election been decided in the House, perhaps most famously when Thomas Jefferson and his Vice President Aaron Burr tied in electoral votes in 1800.
However, a more interesting case is 1824 when Andrew Jackson led John Quincy Adams, but in a four candidate field, he failed to achieve a majority.  Many books relate the story; I'm still in the process of reading Merrill Peterson's The Great Triumvirate which offers an excellent account. Jackson had 99 electoral votes, Adams 84, Georgina William Crawford (who was near death at the time) 41, and Henry Clay 37 (he had won Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri).  The Constitution provided that the House pick the winner from the top three, and Clay threw his weight to Adams in what has gone down in history, most likely improperly, as a corrupt bargain--Adams made Clay his Secretary of State.
There's another great story from that year. 13 states were required to win the presidency back then.  The New York Representatives were 17 for Adams, 16 for Crawford, and one for Jackson when Stephen Van Rensselaer, no fan of Adams, allegedly bowed his head in prayer, saw an Adams ballot at his feet, picked it up and stuffed it in the box.
Ah such fun!
With only two candidates today, about the only way to get an election into the House is a 269-269 tie.
RCP has Romney ahead 201-206 in electoral votes if toss-ups are not counted in.
It also has the popular vote exactly even at 47.1-47.1 today.
A further indication that Romney may be pulling ahead in New Hampshire is that PPP, the solidly Democratic polling firm, has Romney up 49-48 here.  If PPP has a Republican ahead, you can be sure the Republican really is ahead!
PPP has Maggie Hassan ahead 45-43 in the race for Governor, but Rasmussen flipped yesterday from a narrow lead for Maggie to a 48-46 lead for Ovide giving him a lead in three of five recent polls.  Only Channel 7 and PPP now have Maggie ahead; ARG and UNH join Rasmussen in having Ovide ahead.

Son of the second President, John Quincy was deemed dour and not terribly popular, but he most likely was not guilty of striking a corrupt bargain with Henry Clay to "steal" the 1824 election from Andrew Jackson in the House of Representatives.  Chances are we'll hear a lot about that election as the 2012 race comes down to the wire.  By the way, JQA's exercise regimen included frequent swims in the Potomac River...I kid you not!  After serving one term as President, he went on to a long career in the House (very much anti-slavery) in fact, he died in the very building circa 1848.

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