Fair Vote, an organization that advocates switching the presidential-election process to a national popular vote, analyzed six possible new scenarios in six swing states that went blue this year despite having Republican state legislatures and governors. (They were Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Florida.) In two of the scenarios — proportional and a slight variation on proportional — Obama still would have won, despite the proportional awarding of votes in those six states.

But if votes had been awarded by congressional districts, Romney would have won in two of three scenarios. In the first situation, in which most of the electoral votes were awarded based on congressional-district outcomes but two of them were given to the candidate who had won the most votes overall in the state, Obama narrowly edged out Romney, with 270 votes to Romney’s 268. But in the other two scenarios — in which two electoral votes were awarded proportionally, or to whichever candidate had won the most congressional districts (not votes) — Romney would have won. In the first case, the final national electoral count would have been 274 for Romney and 264 for Obama; in the second, 280 for Romney and 258 for Obama.

In other words, if 44 states and D.C. kept their policies exactly the same, Republican state legislators in these particular six states could still succeed in paving a much easier path for a GOP presidential candidate by changing the way electoral votes are awarded.