Americans Want to Scrap Electoral College

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in the United States would like to eliminate the Electoral College system to elect presidents, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 64 per cent of respondents share this view, and think that whoever gets the most votes should be elected president.

In the U.S., the president and vice-president are elected in a single ticket to a four-year term by an Electoral College, whose members represent each state of the union with a previously determined number of electoral votes, in accordance with the results of the popular vote in each state.

The members of the Electoral College are chosen via different systems in each state. They can vote for the candidates of their choice, but in practice they generally vote for whomever was the winner of the popular vote in their state.

On Aug. 4, Massachusetts became the sixth state—after Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii and Washington—to pass a law that would effectively force the votes of the Electoral College to go to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Governors of these states must now wait and see if others pass similar legislation. The law can only go into effect when participating states together hold a majority of the Electoral College votes.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick celebrated as he signed the bill, saying, “This is about a stronger democracy, and it’s an important step in that direction.”

Polling Data

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? – The U.S. should abandon the concept of the Electoral College—whoever gets the most votes at the national level should become the new president

Not sure
Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,013 American adults, conducted on Aug. 1 and Aug. 2, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)

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