A poll shows that less than half of participants believe that the Electoral College should be scrapped, and that presidential elections should be decided purely by popular votes.
The Gallup poll was conducted November 28-29 and surveyed 1,021 random adults. Forty-nine percent said they wanted to amend the Constitution and get rid of the Electoral College, compared to 47 percent who said they wanted to keep it.
Forty-nine percent might sound high, but compared to other previous polls going all the way back to 1967, it’s the lowest it’s ever been in the 49 years they’ve asked about it.
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Historically, support for scrapping the electoral college has been high. It peaked in 1968 following Nixon’s victory, according to Gallup:
Support for an amendment peaked at 80% in 1968, after Richard Nixon almost lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College. Ultimately, he wound up winning both by a narrow margin, but this issue demonstrated the possibility of a candidate becoming president without winning the popular vote. In the 1976 election, Jimmy Carter faced a similar situation, though he also won the popular vote and Electoral College. In a poll taken weeks after the election, 73% were in favor of an amendment doing away with the Electoral College.
With all the talk about abolishing the electoral college today following Trump’s win, I figured that the vast majority of people would want it gone. Just look at Nixon who almost lost the popular vote. And look how people reacted. Eighty percent of them were frightened of the prospect that a candidate like Nixon could lose the popular vote and still win the presidency. They wanted the Electoral College gone.
I figured Trump would be similar to Nixon. I know there’s controversy about whether Trump actually lost the popular vote, but I would argue regardless of whether it’s true or not, that is the perception that most people hold. So, it’s interesting that despite that perception, most people don’t want to do anything to the Electoral College. And yet, if you listen to the media and political establishment, they make it sound like everybody wants to ban it.