Is this any way to choose a USA president? Only half of Americans think so
State by State, Donald Trump has been getting the support of electors Monday in all of the states where he won the presidential race. This, despite a last-ditch effort by Trump opponents to get electors to vote another way.
As members of the Electoral College cast their votes, only half of Americans think the distinctive way the United States chooses a president makes sense.
And their views on this, like almost everything else, are split along partisan lines.
In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, 50% of registered voters say they believe the Electoral College should choose the president. More than four in 10 — 42% — say the Constitution should be amended so the popular vote prevails in choosing the commander in chief. Eight percent were undecided.
For the second time in five elections, the distinction matters. On Monday, Republican Donald Trump was poised to win a majority of the 538 Electoral College votes being cast in each state capital. But on Election Day last month, Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the popular vote by more than 2.8 million, a lead of 2.1 percentage points.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that 76% of Trump supporters back the Electoral College system while 65% of Clinton supporters think the nation should change to one that rewards the popular-vote winner. Ideology matters: Liberals are the most likely to endorse change; conservatives to want to keep the current system. A majority of whites support the Electoral College; African Americans by more than 2-1 would like to change it.
Is this any way to choose a USA president?
The system has made a difference in who moves into the Oval Office just four other times in United States history, including in 2000. Then, Republican George W. Bush narrowly carried the Electoral College although Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote. The popular-vote victor also failed to win the presidency in 1824 (when the election was thrown into the House of Representatives) and in 1876 and 1888.
The USA TODAY poll of 1,000 registered voters, taken Wednesday through Sunday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Source: USA Today