Nebraska has five votes in the Electoral College, but, like Maine, allocates its electoral votes by congressional district, as opposed to using the “winner-take-all” system used in the other 48 states and the District of Columbia.┬á Two of Nebraska’s five electoral votes go to the statewide winner; the remaining three votes go to the winner of each of the state’s three congressional districts.
In an election held in Nebraska today — five months from the vote — a Barack Obama/John Edwards or a Barack Obama/ Chuck Hagel ticket successfully takes between 1 and 4 of Nebraska’s electoral votes, according to this SurveyUSA poll of Nebraska registered voters:
Obama and John Edwards win Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+11, by between 3 and 11 points, depending on John McCain’s running mate. Obama and Chuck Hagel win by between 7 and 13 points. Should Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas, be Obama’s VP pick, that ticket ties John McCain and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in this district. “R+11″ means that in the previous two presidential elections, the district’s average vote for the Republican candidate (George W. Bush) was 11 percentage points higher than that candidate’s national percentage of the vote.
In the 2nd District, with an R+9 rating, Obama/Edwards only wins against McCain/Pawlenty, by 3 points. Obama/Hagel beats all four tested Republican tickets, although two of those wins are within the survey’s margin of sampling error. As goes the 2nd, so goes Nebraska — each matchup that results in a Democratic win in the 2nd district, which is centered on the city of Omaha, also carries the overall statewide vote.
In the 3rd District, rated R+24, Obama comes no closer than an 8 point loss to John McCain, regardless of the running mates selected by each, ensuring a Republican takeaway of no fewer than 1 electoral vote, regardless of the matchup.
All four Obama/Hagel matchups give Obama 4 of Nebraska’s Electoral College votes by winning Districts 1 and 2 as well as the state as a whole; so does one of the Obama/Edwards matchups. The other three Obama/Edwards matchups, by winning only in the 1st District, give Obama 1 Electoral Vote and direct the other 4 to John McCain.
Click the chart to see the fully crosstabbed results.