American voters need few reminders about the importance of the Electoral College when it comes to electing presidents. While the popular vote calculates the so-called will of the people, it's the electors' votes in the Electoral College that determine who'll be moving into the White House come January. Because not every state receives the same share of representation in the Electoral College, some states hold more voting power than others. So, how many electors will Pennsylvania have in the Electoral College?
Calculating a state's total electors is as easy as tallying up its populous (although there's really no need to bury yourself in census data). Every state is allotted two electors, which represent its two senators. A state's remaining number of electors is determined by the size of its population much in the same way census numbers determine a state's representation in the House.
With 18 current representatives serving in the House of Representatives, Pennsylvania's total number of electors in the Electoral College comes to 20. When it comes to voting power, Pennsylvania's 20 electors place it among the top ten states with the most electors. The Keystone State ties with Illinois as the fourth largest states within the Electoral College — behind California with 55 electors, Texas with 38, and New York and Florida with 29 each.
Pennsylvania is one of 48 states that uses a winner-take-all system to allocate its electors in the Electoral College, meaning that whichever candidate receives the majority of votes in its statewide popular vote is awarded all of the state's electoral votes. To win the presidency, a candidate needs to secure at least 270 — considered to be the majority — of the Electoral Colleges 538 electoral votes
Recent polls show Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading Republican nominee Donald Trump by a Real Clear Politics polling average of five points, a narrow margin considering the state has reportedly voted majority Democrat in every presidential election since 1992, according to FiveThirtyEight. For much of the election, Pennsylvania has been considered a must-win state for both Clinton and Trump. Yet the scale might be tipping in Clinton's favor in the final run-up to Election Day. A Siena College poll conducted for the New York Times' Upshot showed Trump trailing seven points behind Clinton's 46 percent.
While Clinton may have increased her lead in the latest poll of Pennsylvania, her campaign is not considering the state's 20 electors to be a surefire bet.