Even Many Republicans Support Using The Popular Vote And Not The Electoral College, Poll Shows

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In 2016, former President Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential race, sending him to his first and so far only term in the White House — despite losing in the overall total of presidential ballots from across the country by millions. Following those events having propelled the electoral college further into the spotlight yet again, many Americans continue to support deciding presidential elections based upon the raw vote totals from across the United States in place of the electoral college. That’s according to recent polling.

Under the electoral college, states assemble slates of electors to cast formal, follow-up ballots for president that, in their numerical distribution, change the weight that each state would receive in calculations simply of the national popular vote. Thus, Trump prevailed by winning enough individual states despite trailing nationally. The electoral college was also shown after the 2020 presidential election to be another procedural area of the presidential transition process that some could exploit. The sham slates of purported electors for Trump from several states that Joe Biden won that year have already figured into indictments in multiple jurisdictions.

Newly highlighted numbers from the Pew Research Center show 65 percent of general adults support transitioning from the electoral college to simply utilizing the popular vote in deciding presidential races. (The polling is from July.) Those in favor of making the switch have led those opposed to it throughout the 21st century, per Pew’s numbers. Even among Republicans, who’ve historically had more to gain from using the electoral college, support for the national popular vote deciding any given presidential election is at nearly half: 47 percent.

Republicans and independents aligned with that party are most likely to support the shift if they’re also identified as politically engaged at only a low level, meaning they’ve likely been less exposed to rhetoric supporting the electoral college from GOP leaders. Nearly three-quarters support the change. Some of the highest levels of support for the electoral college were seen among Republicans and respondents leaning towards their party who were also identified as conservative. Similarly, some Republicans also prominently oppose the democratic expansion of making Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., into full-fledged states, which would advance their representation in the national government.