Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote

One-page explanation (PDF)

The National Popular Vote interstate compact would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The bill is a constitutionally conservative, state-based approach that preserves the Electoral College, state control of elections, and the power of the states to control how the President is elected.

The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 16 jurisdictions possessing 196 electoral votes, including 5 small jurisdictions (DC, DE, HI, RI, VT), 7 medium-size states (CO, CT, MD, MA, NM, OR, WA), and four big states (CA, IL, NJ, NY). The bill will take effect when enacted by states with 74 more electoral votes.  The bill has passed at least one chamber in 8 additional states with 75 more electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, OK).  A total of 3,408 state legislators from all 50 states have endorsed it.

The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President stem from “winner-take-all” laws that have been enacted by state legislatures in 48 states. These laws award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each state.

Because of these state winner-take-all statutes, presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion. In 2012, as shown on the map, all of the  253 general-election campaign events were in just 12 states, and two-thirds were in just 4 states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa). Thirty-eight states were completely ignored.

Campaign Events in 2012
      Campaign events in 2012

Here's a map of US with state sizes based on the number of campaign events in 2012.  This is how the candidates view the relevant voters (and their issues).  Notice that 38 states are missing altogether: 

State sizes based on 2012 campaign events
      State sizes based on campaign events in 2012

Similarly, in 2016, almost all campaign events (94%) were in the 12 states where Trump’s support was between 43% and 51%. Two-thirds of the events (273 of 399) were in just 6 states (OH, FL, VA, NC, PA, MI).

Campaign Events in 2016
      Campaign events in 2016

This is how the US map looks with state sizes based on the number of campaign events in 2016 (missing states received no campaign events):

State sizes based on 2016 campaign events
      State sizes based on campaign events in 2016

State winner-take-all statutes adversely affect governance. “Battleground” states receive 7% more federal grants than “spectator” states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions.

Also, because of state winner-take-all statutes, five of our 45 Presidents have come into office without having won the most popular votes nationwide.  The 2000 and 2016 elections are the most recent examples of elections in which a second-place candidate won the White House.  Near-misses are also common under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes.  A shift of 59,393 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected John Kerry despite President Bush’s nationwide lead of over 3,000,000 votes. 

The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1) gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors....” The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is state law. It is not in the U.S. Constitution. The winner-take-all rule was used by only three states in 1789, and all three repealed it by 1800. It was not until the 11th presidential election (1828) that even half the states used winner-take-all laws.

The National Popular Vote interstate compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538).  At that time, every voter in the country will acquire a direct vote for a group of at least 270 presidential electors supporting their choice for President.  All of this group of 270+ presidential electors will be supporters of the candidate who received the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC—thus making that candidate President. 

In contrast, under the current system, a voter has a direct voice in electing only the small number of presidential electors to which their state is entitled.  Under NPV, every voter directly elects 270+ electors.

Click here for a detailed explanation of each sentence in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact Bill.

Additional information is available in the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote and at www.NationalPopularVote.com.

Learn More

Click on any of the topics below to learn more. You can also read about the numerous myths.

  • Today, 48 states (all except Maine and Nebraska) have a so-called “winner-take-all” law that awards all of a state’s electors to the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes inside each separate state.
  • These winner-take-all laws are state laws—they are not part of the U.S. Constitution. The winner-take-all method of choosing presidential electors was never debated by the 1787 Constitutional Convention or mentioned in the Federalist Papers.
  • Only three states had winner-take-all laws in the first presidential election in 1789, and all three repealed them by 1800. In 1789, electors were chosen from congressional districts in Massachusetts, from special presidential-elector districts in Virginia, and by counties in Delaware. The Governor and his Council appointed the state’s presidential electors in New Jersey. State legislatures appointed presidential electors in the other states.
  • In the nation’s first competitive presidential election in 1796, Jefferson lost the Presidency by three electoral votes because presidential electors were chosen by district in the heavily Jeffersonian states of Virginia and North Carolina, and Jefferson lost one district in each state.
  • On January 12, 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote James Monroe (then governor of Virginia):

“On the subject of an election by a general ticket [winner-take-all], or by districts, … all agree that an election by districts would be best, if it could be general; but while 10 states choose either by their legislatures or by a general ticket [winner-take-all], it is folly and worse than folly for the other 6 not to do it.

  • As a result, Virginia quickly passed a winner-take-all law in time for the 1800 election—thereby assuring Jefferson of all the state’s electoral votes.
  • Meanwhile, the Federalist majority in the legislature of John Adam’s home state of Massachusetts—alarmed by rising support for Jefferson in the state—repealed the state’s district system—thereby assuring John Adams of all the state’s electoral votes in 1800.
  • This triggered a domino effect in which each state’s dominant political party adopted winner-take-all so that it could deliver the maximum number of electoral votes to its party’s nominee. Ten states enacted winner-take-all by 1824 when Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton said:

“The general ticket system [winner-take-all], now existing in 10 States was … not [the offspring] of any disposition to give fair play to the will of the people. It was adopted by the leading men of those states, to enable them to consolidate the vote of the State.”

  • By 1836, all but one state had enacted laws specifying that their state’s voters would vote for presidential electors on a winner-take-all basis. By 1880, all states were using this system.
  • In 1888, incumbent Democratic President Cleveland won the national popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. When Democrats won control of the legislature in the then-regularly-Republican state of Michigan in 1890, they replaced winner-take-all with district election of presidential electors. The Republicans challenged the Democrat’s change. In 1892, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld district elections and ruled in McPherson v. Blacker:

“The constitution does not provide that the appointment of electors shall be by popular vote, nor that the electors shall be voted for upon a general ticket [i.e., the winner-take-all rule], nor that the majority of those who exercise the elective franchise can alone choose the electors. … In short, the appointment and mode of appointment of electors belong exclusively to the states under the constitution of the United States.”

  • The Republicans restored winner-take-all in Michigan as soon as they regained control of the state legislature.
  • Maine adopted district elections for its electors in 1969, and Nebraska did so in 1992.
  • Massachusetts has changed its method of appointing electors 11 times.

While small states have a higher ratio of Electoral Votes to residents than larger states, the current winner-take-all state-by-state method of awarding electoral votes results in almost all small states being ignored in presidential elections:

  • Small states (the 13 states with only three or four electoral votes, including DC) are the most disadvantaged and ignored group of states under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes. The reason is that almost all of the small states are noncompetitive states in presidential elections, and political power in presidential elections comes from being a closely divided battleground state.
  • The 12 small non-battleground states have about the same population (11.5 million) as the closely divided battleground state of Ohio. These 12 small states have 40 electoral votes—more than twice Ohio’s 18 electoral votes. However, Ohio received 73 of 253 general-election campaign events in 2012, while the 12 small non-battleground states received none. In 2016, 11 of the small states received no campaign events, and Maine received a handful of campaign visits because its 2nd congressional district was competitive.
  • Even if the definition of a small state is expanded to include the 25 smallest states, only three of the smallest 25 states (New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada) received any general-election campaign events in 2012.
  • The current state-by-state winner-take-all system actually shifts power from small and medium-sized states to the accidental handful of big states that happen to be closely divided battleground states.
  • The fact that the small states are disadvantaged by the current state-by-state winner-take-all system has been recognized by prominent officials from those states for many years. In 1966, Delaware led a group of 12 predominantly small states in suing New York (then a closely divided battleground state) in the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to get state winner-take-all laws declared unconstitutional.
  • Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, a vote for President in Wyoming or Delaware is equal to a vote in California or Texas—they are all politically irrelevant.

For more details, see this memo and read about the small state myths.

Also, the small states are more evenly divided that most people realize. The smallest 13 states (those with 3 or 4 electoral college votes) have been almost evenly split over the last 7 presidential elections. As noted above, 12 of these states are non-battleground states and are completely ignored due to their winner-take-all choice of assigning their electoral votes. (Note that in 2016, Trump received one electoral vote in Maine by winning its 2nd congressional district. Clinton won the other congressional district, and the two state-wide electoral votes in Maine.)

State
1992
1996
2000
2004
2008
2012
2016
Delaware
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D.C.
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
Hawaii
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
Maine
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
Rhode Island
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
Vermont
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
New Hampshire
D
D
R
D
D
D
D
Montana
D
R
R
R
R
R
R
Alaska
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
Idaho
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
North Dakota
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
South Dakota
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
Wyoming
R
R
R
R
R
R
R
Total Democratic
8
7
6
7
7
7
7
Total Republican
5
6
7
6
6
6
6

Some people have wondered whether candidates might concentrate on big cities or ignore rural areas in an election in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most popular votes.

If there were any such tendency, it would be evident from the way real-world presidential candidates campaign today inside battleground states. Every battleground state contains big cities and rural areas. Presidential candidates—advised by the country’s most astute political strategists—necessarily allocate their candidate’s limited time and money between different parts of battleground states. The facts are that, inside battleground states, candidates campaign everywhere—big cities, medium-sized cities, and rural areas. Far from concentrating on big cities or ignoring rural areas, they hew very closely to population in allocating campaign events.

For more details on how a nationwide presidential campaign would be run, see this memo.

Large cities will not dominate a national popular vote – they are simply not as large as some people think compared to the entire population of the country:

  • The biggest 100 cities contain just one-sixth of the U.S. population (16%), and they voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
  • The rural areas (i.e., places outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas) contain one-sixth of the U.S. population, and they voted 60% Republican in 2004. That is, the biggest cities are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.
  • The remaining two thirds of the U.S. population live inside a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), but outside the central city. These suburban areas are evenly divided politically.

You can read more about the myths of big cities. As was discussed in the previous section, a close analogy for a national campaign is studying presidential campaigns in battleground states, where they do indeed campaign in cities, suburban and rural areas. While rural areas have lower population density, advertising and campaigning costs in those areas tend to be significantly lower than urban areas. The candidates need to win votes in all those areas to succeed overall.

Here are the number of general-election presidential campaign events (between the party convention and the general election) by state for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections:

Electoral votes
State
2008 events
2012 events
2016 events
9
Alabama
 
 
 
3
Alaska
 
 
 
11
Arizona
 
 
10
6
Arkansas
 
 
 
55
California
 
 
1
9
Colorado
20
23
19
7
Connecticut
 
 
1
3
D.C.
1
 
 
3
Delaware
 
 
 
29
Florida
46
40
71
16
Georgia
 
 
3
4
Hawaii
 
 
 
4
Idaho
 
 
 
20
Illinois
 
 
1
11
Indiana
9
 
2
6
Iowa
7
27
21
6
Kansas
 
 
 
8
Kentucky
 
 
 
8
Louisiana
 
 
 
4
Maine
2
 
3
10
Maryland
 
 
 
11
Massachusetts
 
 
 
16
Michigan
10
1
22
10
Minnesota
2
1
2
6
Mississippi
 
 
1
10
Missouri
21
 
2
3
Montana
 
 
 
5
Nebraska
 
 
2
6
Nevada
12
13
17
4
New Hampshire
12
13
21
14
New Jersey
 
 
 
5
New Mexico
8
 
3
29
New York
 
 
 
15
North Carolina
15
3
55
3
North Dakota
 
 
 
18
Ohio
62
73
48
7
Oklahoma
 
 
 
7
Oregon
 
 
 
20
Pennsylvania
40
5
54
4
Rhode Island
 
 
 
9
South Carolina
 
 
 
3
South Dakota
 
 
 
11
Tennessee
1
 
 
38
Texas
 
 
1
6
Utah
 
 
1
3
Vermont
 
 
 
13
Virginia
23
36
23
12
Washington
 
 
1
5
West Virginia
1
 
 
10
Wisconsin
8
18
14
3
Wyoming
 
 
 
538
Total
300
253
399
  • In 2008, only 3 of the 13 smallest states (3 or 4 electoral votes) received any of the 300 general-election campaign events. The closely divided battleground state of New Hampshire received 12 events. Maine (which awards electoral votes by congressional district) received 2 events. The District of Columbia received one event. All the other states in this group were ignored. The small states are ignored not because they are small, but because (except for New Hampshire), they are one-party states in presidential elections.
  • In 2008, only 7 of the 25 smallest states (7 or fewer electoral votes) received any of the general-election campaign events. New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada each received a substantial number of events (12, 7, and 12, respectively). New Mexico (a battleground state at the time) received 8 events. West Virginia and the District of Columbia received 1 event each. All the other small states in this group were ignored.
  • In 2012, only 1 of the 13 smallest states (3 or 4 electoral votes) received any of the 253 general-election campaign events, namely the closely divided battleground state of New Hampshire. All the other states in this group were ignored.
  • In 2012, only 3 of the 25 smallest states (7 or fewer electoral votes) received any of the general-election campaign events. All the other small states were ignored. The 3 states that received attention were the closely divided battleground states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada. All the other states in this group were ignored.
  • In 2016, only 2 of the 13 smallest states (3 or 4 electoral votes) received any of the 399 general-election campaign events. New Hampshire received 21 because it was a closely divided battleground state. Maine (which awards electoral votes by congressional district) received 3 campaign events because its 2nd congressional district was closely divided (and, indeed, Trump carried it). All the other states in this group were ignored.
  • In 2016, only 9 of the 25 smallest states (7 or fewer electoral votes) received any general-election campaign events. New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada received attention because they were closely divided battleground states. Maine and Nebraska (which award electoral votes by congressional district) received some attention, since one of their congressional districts was closely divided. New Mexico received some attention (from the Republican campaign only) because former New Mexico Governor Johnson was running for President and it appeared his strong home-state support might make the state competitive. Utah received some attention from Republicans because the McMullin candidacy might have made the state competitive. Connecticut and Mississippi also received one campaign event. All the other small states in this group were ignored.

Another way to look at why states are ignored in presidential elections is to see which states consistently vote for one party or the other. This table shows that 16 states voted Democratic and 22 states voted Republican in all five presidential elections from 2000–2016. Because of the winner-take-all approach that states use to assign their electoral votes, these states, plus some of the others, are almost certain to deliver all their electoral votes to one candidate or the other, and therefore are ignored by the candidates.

Dem 5/5
16 states
Dem 4/5
5 states
Dem 3/5
4 states
Dem 2/5
2 states
Dem 1/5
2 states
Dem 0/5
22 states
CA (55)
MI (16)
VA (13)
FL (29)
IN (11)
AL (9)
CT (7)
NH (4)
CO (9)
OH (18)
NC (15)
AK (3)
DE (3)
NM (5)
NV (6)
 
 
AR (6)
DC (3)
PA (20)
IA (6)
 
 
AZ (11)
HI (4)
WI (10)
 
 
 
GA (16)
IL (20)
 
 
 
 
ID (4)
MA (11)
 
 
 
 
KS (6)
ME (4)
 
 
 
 
KY (8)
MD (10)
 
 
 
 
LA (8)
MN (10)
 
 
 
 
MO (10)
NJ (14)
 
 
 
 
MS (6)
NY (29)
 
 
 
 
MT (3)
OR (7)
 
 
 
 
NE (5)
RI (4)
 
 
 
 
ND (3)
VT (3)
 
 
 
 
OK (7)
WA (12)
 
 
 
 
SC (9)
 
 
 
 
 
SD (3)
 
 
 
 
 
TN (11)
 
 
 
 
 
TX (38)
 
 
 
 
 
UT (6)
 
 
 
 
 
WY (3)
 
 
 
 
 
WV (5)
196 EV
55 EV
34 EV
47 EV
26 EV
180 EV

Note: The number of electoral votes shown are for 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections. DC is counted as a state for purposes of this chart.

The states are listed below in order of Romney’s 2012 percentage—with the most Republican (red) states at the top. All of the 253 General-Election Campaign Events in 2012 occurred in states where Romney’s percentage of the two-party vote was between 45% and 51%.

The second column shows the total number of general-election campaign events for each state (out of a nationwide total of 253).

The only states that received any campaign events (second column) and any significant ad money (third column) were the 12 states (shown in black in the middle of the table) where the Romney received between 45% and 51% of the vote—that is, within 3 points of his nationwide percentage of 48%. Only 8 states received more than a handful of campaign events.

Only 1 of the 13 smallest states (with 3 or 4 electoral votes) received any of the 253 general-election campaign events, namely the closely divided battleground state of New Hampshire. All the other states in this group were ignored. Only 3 of the 25 smallest states (with 7 or fewer electoral votes) received any of the general-election campaign events. All the other small states were ignored. The 3 states that received attention were the closely divided battleground states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.

The fourth column in the table shows donations from each state (scroll the table left to see all the columns).

 
Romney Percent
Campaign events
TV ad spending
Donations
State
Romney (R)
Obama (D)
R-Margin
D-Margin
R-EV
D-EV
 
75%
0
$0
$11,230,092
Utah
740,600
251,813
488,787
 
6
 
 
71%
0
$0
$2,225,204
Wyoming
170,962
69,286
101,676
 
3
 
 
67%
0
$1,300
$7,129,393
Oklahoma
891,325
443,547
447,778
 
7
 
 
66%
0
$290
$3,586,883
Idaho
420,911
212,787
208,124
 
4
 
 
64%
0
$100
$1,985,666
WV
417,584
238,230
179,354
 
5
 
 
62%
0
$0
$3,296,533
Arkansas
647,744
394,409
253,335
 
6
 
 
62%
0
$400
$6,079,673
Kentucky
1,087,190
679,370
407,820
 
8
 
 
61%
0
$80
$6,736,196
Alabama
1,255,925
795,696
460,229
 
9
 
 
61%
0
$0
$4,796,947
Kansas
692,634
440,726
251,908
 
6
 
 
61%
0
$0
$3,128,691
Nebraska
475,064
302,081
172,983
 
5
 
 
60%
0
$346,490
$844,129
ND
188,320
124,966
63,354
 
3
 
 
60%
0
$1,440
$11,967,542
Tennessee
1,462,330
960,709
501,621
 
11
 
 
59%
0
$3,990
$7,510,687
Louisiana
1,152,262
809,141
343,121
 
8
 
 
59%
0
$1,810
$1,267,192
SD
210,610
145,039
65,571
 
3
 
 
58%
0
$2,570
$64,044,620
Texas
4,569,843
3,308,124
1,261,719
 
38
 
 
57%
0
$0
$2,153,869
Alaska
164,676
122,640
42,036
 
3
 
 
57%
0
$0
$2,295,005
Montana
267,928
201,839
66,089
 
3
 
 
56%
0
$0
$3,525,145
Mississippi
710,746
562,949
147,797
 
6
 
 
55%
0
$40,350
$14,631,204
Arizona
1,233,654
1,025,232
208,422
 
11
 
 
55%
0
$300
$8,210,564
Indiana
1,420,543
1,152,887
267,656
 
11
 
 
55%
0
$127,560
$11,512,255
Missouri
1,482,440
1,223,796
258,644
 
10
 
 
55%
0
$710
$6,686,788
SC
1,071,645
865,941
205,704
 
9
 
 
54%
0
$6,020
$21,906,923
Georgia
2,078,688
1,773,827
304,861
 
16
 
 
51%
3
$80,000,000
$18,658,894
NC
2,270,395
2,178,391
92,004
 
15
 
 
50%
40
$175,776,780
$56,863,167
Florida
4,162,341
4,235,965
 
73,624
 
29
 
48%
73
$148,000,000
$20,654,423
Ohio
2,661,407
2,827,621
 
166,214
 
18
 
48%
36
$127,000,000
$32,428,002
Virginia
1,822,522
1,971,820
 
149,298
 
13
 
47%
23
$71,000,000
$20,695,557
Colorado
1,185,050
1,322,998
 
137,948
 
9
 
47%
27
$52,194,330
$4,780,400
Iowa
730,617
822,544
 
91,927
 
6
 
47%
13
$55,000,000
$6,717,552
Nevada
463,567
531,373
 
67,806
 
6
 
47%
13
$34,000,000
$4,389,577
NH
329,918
369,561
 
39,643
 
4
 
47%
5
$31,000,000
$27,661,702
Pennsylvania
2,680,434
2,990,274
 
309,840
 
20
 
47%
18
$40,000,000
$10,011,235
Wisconsin
1,410,966
1,620,985
 
210,019
 
10
 
46%
1
$0
$11,112,922
Minnesota
1,320,225
1,546,167
 
225,942
 
10
 
45%
1
$15,186,750
$19,917,206
Michigan
2,115,256
2,564,569
 
449,313
 
16
 
45%
0
$1,162,000
$5,770,738
New Mexico
335,788
415,335
 
79,547
 
5
 
44%
0
$460
$10,463,528
Oregon
754,175
970,488
 
216,313
 
7
 
42%
0
$195,610
$3,452,126
Maine
292,276
401,306
 
109,030
 
4
 
42%
0
$0
$23,600,404
Washington
1,290,670
1,755,396
 
464,726
 
12
 
41%
0
$330
$18,644,901
Connecticut
634,892
905,083
 
270,191
 
7
 
41%
0
$0
$2,141,203
Delaware
165,484
242,584
 
77,100
 
3
 
41%
0
$270
$107,928,359
Illinois
2,135,216
3,019,512
 
884,296
 
20
 
41%
0
$0
$24,062,220
New Jersey
1,478,088
2,122,786
 
644,698
 
14
 
38%
0
$320
$137,804,736
California
4,839,958
7,854,285
 
3,014,327
 
55
 
38%
0
$0
$35,927,766
Mass
1,188,314
1,921,290
 
732,976
 
11
 
37%
0
$1,120
$25,579,933
Maryland
971,869
1,677,844
 
705,975
 
10
 
36%
0
$55,600
$76,743,682
New York
2,485,432
4,471,871
 
1,986,439
 
29
 
36%
0
$0
$2,226,963
Rhode Island
157,204
279,677
 
122,473
 
4
 
32%
0
$0
$2,732,572
Vermont
92,698
199,239
 
106,541
 
3
 
28%
0
$0
$3,217,863
Hawaii
121,015
306,658
 
185,643
 
4
 
7%
0
$0
$16,670,938
DC
21,381
267,070
 
245,689
 
3
 
48.0%
253
$831,106,980
$937,609,770
Total
60,930,782
65,897,727
 
 
206
332

http://archive3.fairvote.org/research-and-analysis/presidential-elections/2012chart

In 2016, there were 399 general-election campaign events. Almost all campaign events (94%) were in the 12 states where Trump’s support was between 47% and 55% of the two-party vote. Two-thirds of the events (273 of 399) were in just 6 states (OH, FL, VA, NC, PA, MI).

12 battleground states in 2016 accounting for 94% of the campaign events (375 of 399)

Trump %
Events
State
Trump
Clinton
R-Margin
D-Margin
R-EV
D-EV
Population
55%
21
Iowa
800,983
653,669
147,314
 
6
 
3,053,787
54%
48
Ohio
2,841,006
2,394,169
446,837
 
18
 
11,568,495
52%
55
North Carolina
2,362,631
2,189,316
173,315
 
15
 
9,565,781
52%
10
Arizona
1,252,401
1,161,167
91,234
 
11
 
6,412,700
51%
71
Florida
4,617,886
4,504,975
112,911
 
29
 
18,900,773
50%
14
Wisconsin
1,405,284
1,382,536
22,748
 
10
 
5,698,230
50%
54
Pennsylvania
2,970,733
2,926,441
44,292
 
20
 
12,734,905
50%
22
Michigan
2,279,543
2,268,839
10,704
 
16
 
9,911,626
49.8%
21
New Hampshire
345,790
348,526
 
2,736
 
4
1,321,445
49%
17
Nevada
512,058
539,260
 
27,202
 
6
2,709,432
47%
19
Colorado
1,202,484
1,338,870
 
136,386
 
9
5,044,930
47%
23
Virginia
1,769,443
1,981,473
 
212,030
 
13
8,037,736
51%
375
 
22,360,242
21,689,241
 
 
125
32
94,959,840

Notes: (1) Trump percentage is of the two-party vote (2) Population is from 2010 census.

Only 2 of the 13 smallest states (with 3 or 4 electoral votes) received any of the 399 general-election campaign events. New Hampshire received 21 because it was a closely divided battleground state. Maine (which awards electoral votes by congressional district) received 3 campaign events because its 2nd congressional district was closely divided (and, indeed, Trump carried it). All the other states in this group were ignored.

Only 9 of the 25 smallest states (with 7 or fewer electoral votes) received any general-election campaign events. New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada received attention because they were closely divided battleground states. Maine and Nebraska (which award electoral votes by congressional district) received some attention since just one of their congressional districts was closely divided. New Mexico received some attention (from the Republican campaign only) because former New Mexico Governor Johnson was running for President and it appeared his strong home-state support might make the state competitive. Utah received some attention from Republicans because the McMullin candidacy might have made the state competitive. Connecticut and Mississippi also received one campaign event. All the other small states in this group were ignored.

39 spectator states in 2016 accounting for 6% of the campaign events (24 of 399)

Trump %
Events
State
Trump
Clinton
R-Margin
D-Margin
R-EV
D-EV
Population
76%
0
Wyoming
174,419
55,973
118,446
 
3
 
568,300
72%
0
West Virginia
489,371
188,794
300,577
 
5
 
1,859,815
70%
0
North Dakota
216,794
93,758
123,036
 
3
 
675,905
69%
0
Oklahoma
949,136
420,375
528,761
 
7
 
3,764,882
68%
0
Idaho
409,055
189,765
219,290
 
4
 
1,573,499
66%
0
South Dakota
227,721
117,458
110,263
 
3
 
819,761
66%
0
Kentucky
1,202,971
628,854
574,117
 
8
 
4,350,606
64%
0
Alabama
1,318,255
729,547
588,708
 
9
 
4,802,982
64%
0
Arkansas
684,872
380,494
304,378
 
6
 
2,926,229
64%
0
Tennessee
1,522,925
870,695
652,230
 
11
 
6,375,431
64%
2
Nebraska
495,961
284,494
211,467
 
5
 
1,831,825
62%
1
Utah
515,231
310,676
204,555
 
6
 
2,770,765
61%
0
Kansas
671,018
427,005
244,013
 
6
 
2,863,813
61%
0
Montana
279,240
177,709
101,531
 
3
 
994,416
60%
0
Louisiana
1,178,638
780,154
398,484
 
8
 
4,553,962
60%
2
Indiana
1,557,286
1,033,126
524,160
 
11
 
6,501,582
60%
2
Missouri
1,594,511
1,071,068
523,443
 
10
 
6,011,478
59%
1
Mississippi
700,714
485,131
215,583
 
6
 
2,978,240
58%
0
Alaska
163,387
116,454
46,933
 
3
 
721,523
57%
0
South Carolina
1,155,389
855,373
300,016
 
9
 
4,645,975
55%
1
Texas
4,685,047
3,877,868
807,179
 
38
 
25,268,418
53%
3
Georgia
2,089,104
1,877,963
211,141
 
16
 
9,727,566
49%
2
Minnesota
1,323,232
1,367,825
 
44,593
 
10
5,314,879
48%
3
Maine
335,593
357,735
 
22,142
1
3
1,333,074
45%
3
New Mexico
319,667
385,234
 
65,567
 
5
2,067,273
44%
0
Delaware
185,127
235,603
 
50,476
 
3
900,877
44%
0
Oregon
782,403
1,002,106
 
219,703
 
7
3,848,606
43%
1
Connecticut
673,215
897,572
 
224,357
 
7
3,581,628
43%
0
New Jersey
1,601,933
2,148,278
 
546,345
 
14
8,807,501
42%
0
Rhode Island
180,543
252,525
 
71,982
 
4
1,055,247
41%
1
Washington
1,221,747
1,742,718
 
520,971
 
12
6,753,369
41%
1
Illinois
2,146,015
3,090,729
 
944,714
 
20
12,864,380
38%
0
New York
2,819,557
4,556,142
 
1,736,585
 
29
19,421,055
36%
0
Maryland
943,169
1,677,928
 
734,759
 
10
5,789,929
35%
0
Massachusetts
1,090,893
1,995,196
 
904,303
 
11
6,559,644
35%
0
Vermont
95,369
178,573
 
83,204
 
3
630,337
34%
1
California
4,483,814
8,753,792
 
4,269,978
 
55
37,341,989
33%
0
Hawaii
128,847
266,891
 
138,044
 
4
1,366,862
4%
0
D.C.
12,723
282,830
 
270,107
 
3
601,723
48%
24
 
40,624,892
44,164,411
 
 
181
200
214,825,346

Notes: (1) Trump percentage is of the two-party vote (2) Population is from 2010 census.