Majority of Americans support abolishing Electoral College system in favour of popular vote

Alex Woodward
·2 min read
Forty-seven per cent of respondents to the poll from a group that supports Republican Governor Kemp said they support Mr Biden, compared to 46 per cent who said they support Mr Trump, well within the margin of error
Forty-seven per cent of respondents to the poll from a group that supports Republican Governor Kemp said they support Mr Biden, compared to 46 per cent who said they support Mr Trump, well within the margin of error

More than half of voters in the US believe the Electoral College should be abolished in favour of an election system that awards the presidency to a candidate who receives the popular vote.

Fifty-one percent of respondents in a recent Hill-HarrisX poll taken six weeks before Election Day agreed that a popular vote count should replace the current system, which relies on ballot results in each state to determine the electors who will pledge their vote to a candidate.

In a separate Gallup poll, 61 per cent of respondents supported the popular vote system, moving six percentage points up from 2019 and 12 points up from 2016.

Support for a move to a popular vote election is more acute among Democratic voters.

Nearly 70 per cent of Democratic voters in the Hill-HarrisX survey said the system, outlined in the US Constitution, should be abolished, compared to 49 per cent of independent-identifying voters and 33 per cent of Republicans.

In the Gallup poll, nearly 90 per cent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents support replacing the Electoral College system, compared to 23 per cent of Republican voters.

Donald Trump famously lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes in 2016 but was awarded an electoral college victory.

The president’s campaign targeted strategic wins in states that would create an electoral victory with the required 270 electoral votes, an effort that election analysts predict the campaign will aim to recreate in 2020 against rival Joe Biden.

Presidential candidates have won the White House while losing the popular vote only four times in election history – it happened twice within the last 20 years, in 2000 and 2016.

Critics have argued that the Electoral College is an antiquated measure that distorts the will of the voters by disproportionately weighing the impacts from less-populous areas.

Amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College would require the support of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-quarters of the states.

But there also has been an effort among states to endorse a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to agree to award its electoral votes to the popular vote winner, essentially circumventing a Constitutional challenge.

The Hill-HarrisX online poll surveyed 3,758 registered voters between 10-14 September. It has a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points.

Gallup surveyed 1,019 people between 31 August and 13 September. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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