Why Do Some States Get More Delegates Than Others? It's Not Exactly Based On Population...

April 05, 2016Apr 05, 2016

Why do some states get more delegate than others in the Republican race for presidential candidate nomination? It's obviously not based solely on population, when a state like Pennsylvania with a 2014 estimated population of 12.8 million gets 71 delegates while Idaho with a 2014 estimated population of 1.6 million gets as many as 33. If the amount of delegates was based off just population, Pennsylvania would have almost 8 time as many as Idaho.


According to ABC News, there are two factors that determine how many delegates each state gets to award to candidates:

1. States are first given delegates based on the number of congressional districts they have. Pennsylvania has 18 while Idaho has 2. That's certainly not the biggest factor in play in this example.
2. State are then given delegates based on how often the state votes for Republicans. For example, a state that tends to elect Republican governors, state legislators, and U.S. senators get awarded "bonus delegates." Pennsylvania has a recent history of electing a lot of Democrats while Idaho rarely elects Democrats. Thus, Idaho gets nearly half as many delegates as Pennsylvania despite having so many fewer people.