Dems Vs. GOP For Most People Governed

Here's an intriguing thing to watch election night: when the dust settles and everyone's sworn in, will more Americans be living under Democratic or Republican Governors?

Most recent popuilation estimates say there are roughly 306 million Americans living in the 50 states (not including DC, which has no governor, and the territories, which I'm not including).

Right now, neither party technically gets to the magic halfway point of 153 million. There are 25 states with Democratic governors, with roughly 147 million residents; and 24 with Republicans, with 140 million. The upper hand depends on how you count Independent Charlie Crist of Florida (with 19.5 million residents) -- is he the Republican he was until recently, or the Democrat he says he'll caucus as if elected to the US Senate? 

Looking forward, 37 states hold gubernatorial elections tomorrow. More states are expected to switch from blue to red than vice-versa -- but California, with its 37 million people, makes up for an awful lot of smaller states.

The GOP starts with Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Virginia, whose governors are not on the block this year. It looks like they'll likely hold onto Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah; and probably add Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

That gets them 27 states, with a smidge under 140 million people. If Bill Bradley wins Illinois -- a close race where he's favored -- that adds 12.9 million people, and gets the GOP to almost exactly 153 million people, or half the country.

To get above the half-way mark, they need to also win either Ohio or Florida -- both looking neck-and-neck right now. If Democrats Ted Strickland and Alex Sink win those races, and all the other gubernatorial races go as expected, the US population will be almost precisely evenly divided.

OK, it's not as exciting as when the Presidential elections came down to those states, in 2004 and 2000, but it's still something that you might find interesting to watch.

In that scenario, of course, other states could make the difference. Oregon or Massachusetts, among others, could easily go Republican; Democrats could win Illinois, or perhaps Georgia.

If not, the winner might again be determined by an Independent -- this time, in Rhode Island. It's just a million people, but if Lincoln Chafee keeps it out of Democratic hands, as seems likely, that just might be the difference.

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