In a very tight race this November, Obama could lose the popular vote, and win the electoral college. Let me say that slightly differently: Romney could win the popular vote by more than 1 million votes and lose the electoral college to Obama by a margin of 272 to 266. What a difference in talking points that would mean for the two parties compared with the 2000 presidential election controversy.
Let me show how you I arrived at this scenario. Obama won the popular vote by a national percentage of just over 7 points in 2008. If we subtract 8 points from the margin in every state, Romney would have a little less than a 1-point victory nationally (which gives you the 1 million vote margin for him in the popular vote).
And as we subtract 8 points from every state’s margin, what happens to the electoral college? It gets much, much closer, but Obama still wins it by six electoral votes. So in one very possible scenario, Obama can lose the popular vote and still be reelected because he barely carries the electoral college.