WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Could the United States see a President Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden following November’s presidential election? It’s not as crazy as it seems.
According to Nate Silver of The New York Times FiveThirtyEight forecast, there is a scenario where President Obama and Mitt Romney could be tied with 269 electoral votes — 270 is needed to win the White House.
If Obama secures the battleground states of Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, but Romney takes North Carolina, Florida and Nevada, and the rest of the states polling fall in place with the respective candidates, there could potentially be a tie.
In the event that this happens, the 12th Amendment calls for the House of Representatives to vote for the president and the Senate to vote for the vice president. The House would have until March 4 to elect a president.
With Republicans expected to still control the House and the Democrats still having the majority in the Senate, the nation could see a President Romney and Vice President Biden running the country.
“While it’s still pretty unlikely that a tie will happen, the fact that it’s a plausible outcome instead of a political junky fantasy at this point is amazing,” Mathews Pierson, director of politics at CBS Local, told CBSDC.
If this scenario plays out, it could be more controversial than the 2000 Bush-Gore election where the Supreme Court had the final say, especially if Obama wins the popular vote.
“If you thought people complained loudly about the 2000 election and Florida recount, it’ll be a pin-drop compared to the screaming this would cause,” Pierson explained to CBSDC. “I’d like to see someone try explaining to all the angry people that it’s not a constitutional crisis and it’s how the founders designed things.”
Even though the scenario is plausible, it is highly unlikely.
“Fortunately, such an outcome remains quite unlikely. Of the 25,001 simulations that we ran on Monday, a 269-269 tie came up in 152 model runs, or about 0.6 percent of the time,” Silver wrote in the Times. “Still, this probability has roughly doubled from a few weeks ago, when the chances had been hovering at about 0.3 percent instead.”
Despite several polls showing Obama with a lead with just over a month left until the election, Larry Sabato, director of the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia, said this race will go down to the wire.
“[T]he fundamentals of this election call for a close election,” Sabato told CBS News. “Yes, President Obama is ahead, and probably has the best chance to win, but this is going to be a tighter race than the polls show right now.”