Nebraska entered the Union in March 1867, 13 years after it became a territory under the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the first state admitted after the end of the Civil War. The state is strongly Republican in presidential elections – it last voted Democratic in 1964. However, it is one of only two states (Maine being the other) to not use the winner-take-all approach to awarding electoral votes. The winner of the popular vote gets two electoral votes, while one is assigned to the winner of each of the state’s three congressional districts. This approach was established beginning with the 1992 election.
In 2008, while John McCain easily won the state by 15%, Barack Obama won the 2nd Congressional District (Omaha area) by a little over 3,000 votes (1.2%) to win that District's electoral vote. While the 2nd district remains competitive, that split has not recurred in the two most recent elections. Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 25 points statewide in 2016 while winning the 2nd district by about 2%. Nebraska’s primarily rural population has not grown as quickly as other parts of the country, leading to declining electoral influence – from a peak of eight electoral votes before the Great Depression to its current total of five.