Yes, the rules are the rules, in politics and in sports. Thus, President Obama and Governor Romney accept the fact that, for good or ill, it is an electoral college majority that will determine who is sworn in next January. Given that we may not know the outcome until the final electoral vote is awarded, we might as well have some fun with the process. A quiz about presidential politics might not be a national pastime yet, but it’s a good distraction in this nail-biting season:
1. Let’s start easy. Which president received the most electoral college votes in history?
(a) Lyndon Johnson; (b) Franklin Roosevelt; (c) Ronald Reagan; (d) Warren Harding; (e) George Washington.
2. How about the number needed to win? When did 270 first become the “magic number”?
(a) 1944; (b) 2000; (c) 2012; (d) 1964; (e) 1960.
3. Here’s a quirky one. Which presidential candidate received electoral college votes even though he had died before the electors met?
(a) Richard Nixon; (b) Calvin Coolidge; (c) Harold Stassen; (d) Horace Greeley; (e) Warren Harding.
4. An historical oddity. Which president was elected without having won the popular vote, and was neither a son nor grandson of a president?
(a) Benjamin Harrison; (b) Rutherford Hayes; (c) Samuel Tilden; (d) George W. Bush; (e) John Quincy Adams.
5. A curve ball for you! Which presidential candidate did not win even though he had received more popular votes and more electoral college votes than his opponents?
(a) John Quincy Adams; (b) Samuel Tilden; (c) Andrew Jackson; (d) Grover Cleveland; (e) Henry Clay.
6. No electoral college majority? The House of Representatives decides! Which president was elected by the House?
(a) George Washington; (b) John Adams; (c) John Quincy Adams; (d) Andrew Jackson; (e) Gerald Ford.
7. A tie! Flip a coin? No, the House decides! How many votes in the House are needed?
(a) 26; (b) 218; (c) 435; (d) 290; (e) two thirds of those who show up.
8. Don't forget about the VP! Who is the only vice president who did not receive an electoral college majority, and was elected by the U.S. Senate?
(a) Gerald Ford; (b) Nelson Rockefeller; (c) Andrew Johnson; (d) Harry Truman; (e) Richard Johnson.
9. An historical moment! Which woman received the first electoral college vote (for vice president)?
(a) Theodora Nathan; (b) Lenora Fulani; (c) Geraldine Ferraro; (d) Bella Abzug; (e) Shirley Chisholm.
10. This must have felt wonderful! Which vice president, as presiding officer of the United States Senate, announced his own election?
(a) Richard Nixon; (b) John Quincy Adams; (c) George H.W. Bush; (d) Lyndon Johnson; (e) Theodore Roosevelt.
Goldfeder, an election lawyer at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, teaches “Election Law and the Presidency” at Fordham Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Follow his daily presidential quiz on twitter, #270DailyQuiz.
Answers: 1-c; 2-d; 3-d; 4-b; 5-c; 6-c; 7-a; 8-e; 9-a; 10-c.