NPV targets Idaho
The idea of a national popular vote appeals to some people. It sounds simple: the candidate with the most votes becomes president. Hawaii, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, and most recently Washington have signed on to this idea.
But Idaho offers an example of why NPV would not better represent the will of the people and the nation.
First, more than half of the U.S. population lives within the 40 largest urban areas. And not one of those areas is in Idaho. In fact, only the smallest urban area on that list (Jacksonville, Florida) has a population less than the entire state of Idaho.
At least under the Electoral College, Idaho stands a chance before every election of becoming a swing state. After all, swing states are just those states that happen to be the most politically moderate, evenly divided states during a given presidential election. The Electoral College gives Idaho a chance, NPV is all empty promises.
Second, how represented would the people of Idaho have felt if their 61% majority vote for Sen. McCain had resulted in four more electoral votes for Sen. Obama? That’s what NPV would have done to Idaho in 2008.