# By How Many Votes Could a Candidate Lose the Popular Vote and Still Win the Election?

Please, no debating, and no potshots at Bush or Kerry.

So, here’s a question for those with a calculator, an intuitive mind, and too much time on their hands to figure out:

Assume that every last registered voter in the US (there are, what, 175 million?) votes in a presidential election. By how many votes can the loser win the popular vote but lose the election?

Its hard to say because it really depends on voter turn out per state, but if say all the eligable voters from every showed up to vote and were counted the biggest gap in popular vote and still have a winner would be if everybody in New Jersey, North Carolina (you could switch out Gorgia with NC or Jersy if you wanted), Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Texas and California all voted for the same guy and in every other state the vote was 50% + 1 for the other guy. Little states have much more power per population so they pack a lot more bang for their buck. Wyoming for instance has less than 1/53 as many people as California but they still get about 1/20 the vote. Bastards.

I couldn’t find 2004 registration data, so I based my estimate on 2000(using 2000 electoral votes).

Winner 44,500,000
Loser 115,500,000
Diff. 71,000,000

This assumes the winner gets one vote more in states won, no votes in the others and all registered voters voted for one of the two. About 27.8%.

I believe my calculationed estimate is only slightly higher than the absolute minimum.