The other times when the president won the Electoral College but not the popular vote were in 1824, 1876 and 1888.
Through the years, critics have argued that the Electoral College is an antiquated system that disenfranchises voters across the country.
This year, Gore called for letting the popular vote determine the presidency.
"The logic is it knits the country together, prevents regional conflicts, and it goes back through our history to [address] some legitimate concerns," Gore said.
While this year's race is expected to be tight, some say, it's unlikely to produce a president who didn't win the popular vote.
"There is an outside chance that one candidate could win the popular vote ... and lose the electoral vote, but [it's] very dubious this time around," Saxe said.
On Dec. 17, 538 Electoral College voters -- including 38 in Texas -- will head to capitol buildings nationwide to formally cast their vote. Whoever gets at least 270 will win the White House.
The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College -- and put it in the Constitution -- as they tried to find a middle ground between letting Congress and qualified voters nationwide elect the president.
RealClearPolitics.com indicates that states including Massachusetts, California and New York are expected to go to Obama. States such as Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are among those likely to go to Romney. Texas, with its modern history as a GOP stronghold, appears to be in Romney's column.
That means neither candidate is likely to head here unless he needs to refill his campaign war chest.
"They are going to the battleground states," Eshbaugh-Soha said. "They will still come to Texas because there are donors here. But they are going to buckle down on the battleground states, targeting the remaining days and finding states where campaign appearances may excite people."
As of late last week, 12 states were in the tossup column.
Those states, and their number of Electoral College votes: Colorado, 9; Florida, 29; Iowa, 6; Michigan, 16; Missouri, 10; Nevada, 6; New Hampshire, 4; North Carolina, 15; Ohio, 18; Pennsylvania, 20; Virginia, 13; and Wisconsin, 10.
That's where the candidates will spend most of their time, Jillson said.
"They know ... the only way to be sure you win the presidency is to get those Electoral College votes," he said.
Online: www.realclearpolitics. com