A lot of ink has been spilled on the issue of the Electoral College and how it reduces the election campaign to a few swing States. But what if the system was overhauled tomorrow to a simple first-past-the-post vote? Where would politicians start to campaign in order to maximize their odds?

Note that this isn't primarily opinion based as there are plenty of other democracies with nation-wide voting for a given position.

  • 1
    NYC, Chicago and LA.
    – user1530
    Dec 7, 2017 at 1:34
  • 3
    Too many variables (influence and penetration of mass media, for example, demographics, changes to the campaign organization to react to the new rules, etc...) to make this answerable, IMO. Maybe they chose a few locations of each region so nobody feels ignored. Maybe they aim for the biggest concentrations of people. Maybe they just rely in mass media. Maybe it becomes a decentraliced campaign as before TV/radio, with more presence of local members of the party. Maybe...
    – SJuan76
    Dec 7, 2017 at 1:54
  • 1
    Commentary on this subject often assumes that large cities would dominate. I'd be interested to see an answer which looks at the population of cities vs rural areas in the US, and any related trends. Dec 7, 2017 at 10:28
  • 2
    I saw an article in Le Monde during the french presidential campaign, and it said that the candidates mostly campaigned in big cities, but I can't find it anymore.
    – Distic
    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:29
  • 3
    @Distic It does make sense to campaign in the cities more than the countryside if you think your odds of getting votes in each place are the same. It is cheaper to reach people in denser areas.
    – Readin
    Dec 10, 2017 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


Your assumption relies on a constitutional amendment which would devalue the input of a majority of states and would never pass. However, IF it were to happen, the most likely strategy would be to campaign where you reach the largest number of uncommitted voters and/or where you get the most free media publicity.


You can look at other countries which implement... normal (?) voting: candidates almost campaign everywhere. (They cannot campaign literally everywhere due to obvious reasons.)

It doesn't make sense to campaign for just 50% or some arbitrary percentage of the country's population. If some candidate campaigned, say, only in the five biggest cities, or even the fifty biggest ones, they certainly wouldn't get elected. Indeed, some inhabitants of these cities will never vote for the candidate, so even if these cities represent 50% of the population it wouldn't ensure a win. Electors outside these cities will feel insulted and will vote against the candidate, even if the candidate is politically aligned with them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .