As such a result would likely extend their time in the sun by several weeks, the political talking class has become fixated on the prospect of a “split decision” on Election Day. This scenario encompasses two different outcomes: One in which a candidate wins the electoral vote while the other wins the popular vote, and one wherein both candidates get 269 of the 538 votes in the Electoral College.
But what comes after a split decision, and how likely is one to actually occur? It depends on whom you talk to.
Charlie Cook, of the famed Cook Political Report, says that the chances of a popular vote/electoral vote split decision is “very real” given the closeness of the race in a variety of swing states, while Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey is more inclined to believe this is mostly just a mainstream media fantasy. The New York Times polling guru Nate Silver has used his model to predict a 0.4 percent chance that the race ends in an Electoral College tie, but says Mitt Romney has 5.8 percent chance of winning the popular vote and still losing the election, and President Obama has a 1.7 percent chance to do the same.