Will it be 2000 all over again? Will Mitt Romney take home the popular vote in November but lose the Electoral College?
In considering the latest round of polls, the Morning Joe panel on Friday posited the possibility all the while seemingly echoing Nate Silver's latest findings that "...Barack Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College increasing incrementally to 65.7 percent from 64.8 percent."
A Real Clear Politics average of polls currently has the president at 47% to Romney's 47.1%. The president still leads Romney in seven battleground states, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
Thursday's Gallup Daily tracking poll, which the group discussed this morning, has Mitt Romney at 52% to the president’s 45%, while a new NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll has the president leading with likely voters in Iowa with 51% to 43%. The same poll also has President Obama leading Romney 51% to 45% in Wisconsin. Adding to this is a new Marquette University poll has the president at 49% in Wisconsin to Romney’s 48%.
Weary of these numbers, host Joe Scarborough said: "I know Gallup usually does skew Republican, I take that into account...but here it's so jumbled, I don't know if there's a ghost in the machine...this year it's a lot more erratic in polling than it's been ever."
One possible outcome of the 2012 presidential election is Romney winning the popular vote and President Obama winning the Electoral College, suggested Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania.
"I think there is a growing likelihood that could happen," Scarborough added. "I don’t believe any of these numbers. I don’t believe the Gallup number that has Mitt Romney seven points ahead and nobody in either campaign believes that. Nobody in either campaign believes that Iowa is an eight-point spread. Nobody in either campaign believes that Wisconsin is a six-point spread. But the fascinating trend line is…it’s looking like it’s very possible that Mitt Romney could win the national vote and Barack Obama is still elected president because of the Electoral College advantage."
USA Today reminds us an Electoral College/popular vote split has happened in two other elections:
In 1888, when Benjamin Harrison defeated popular-vote-winning president Grover Cleveland; and in 1876, when Rutherford Hayes scraped by Samuel Tilden after disputed returns in four states. (We're not counting the multi-candidate election of 1824, decided by the House of Representatives.)
Last Word host Lawrence O'Donnell, who joined Morning Joe Friday, said he believes the possibility is great for an election night with no call while guest Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post seemed less swayed by the chance of a Electoral College/popular vote issue.
"It’s a possibility," Robinson said. "That would be fascinating because the electoral map really is so much more favorable to [President Obama] than Romney at this point yet Romney has had momentum…It could happen. That would be fascinating."