Here’s a not very far-fetched scenario for November:
Obama carries these states: California (55), Colorado (9), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Iowa (7), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), New Jersey (15), New Mexico (5), New York (31), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington (11), and Wisconsin (10).
McCain carries these states: Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (10), Arkansas (6), Florida (27), Georgia (15), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Missouri (11), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), Nevada (5), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3), Ohio 20), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), Virginia (13), West Virginia (5), and Wyoming (3).
Both candidates get 269 electoral votes. For those of you keeping track of the swing states at home, that’s Nevada, Florida, Ohio, and Missouri for the GOP, and Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, and Colorado for the Democrats. It could happen.
If it does, the incoming House of Representatives will vote on the next President, in blocs by state. That means that, for instance, California will get 53 votes, and all of them will go to a single candidate (Obama, since there are and undoubtedly will be more Democrats than Republicans in the state’s delegation to Congress.) The mat in the House is a little bit different than in the electoral college, because each state loses two votes and DC doesn’t vote at all. So McCain loses 58 votes and Obama loses 45, suggesting that Obama would carry the day in the House by a block vote of 222-213. Then, the Senate will vote on the next Vice-President, individually.
In theory, it would be possible for the Senate to saddle Obama with a Republican Vice-President but this time around, that would be unlikely since the Senate is very likely going to see gains by the Democrats currently in control there (as is the House).