Poll: Most voters support abolishing Electoral College

Poll: Most voters support abolishing Electoral College
© Getty Images

A majority of voters says the Electoral College system should be abandoned in favor of a national popular vote, according to a new poll.

The latest NBC News–Wall Street Journal survey finds that 53 percent of voters say the outcome of the presidential election should be determined by the popular vote, with 43 percent saying the Electoral College system should remain in place.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats are increasingly advocating to abolish the Electoral College. The party's 2016 presidential nominee, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump takes aim at media after 'hereby' ordering US businesses out of China Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Taylor Swift says Trump is 'gaslighting the American public' MORE, received nearly 3 million more votes overall than President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE in 2016, but she only received 232 electoral votes, compared to Trump’s 306.

A similar scenario played out for Democrats in 2000, when then-Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreOcasio-Cortez blasts Electoral College as a 'scam' 2020 Democrats release joint statement ahead of Trump's New Hampshire rally Deregulated energy markets made Texas a clean energy giant MORE won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

Support for moving away from the Electoral College system cuts sharply along partisan lines.

Seventy-nine percent of Democrats say the popular vote should determine the outcome of the presidential election, while 74 percent of Republicans say the nation should stick with the Electoral College. Independents are almost evenly split, with 49 percent saying popular vote and 44 percent saying Electoral College.

Advocates for change say the current system places outsized importance on a handful of swing-states. Defenders of the Electoral College argue that the system ensures candidates pay attention to rural areas and low-population states.

A number of blue states have joined a push to award their electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote, although it’s highly unlikely the change will take place in 2020.

The NBC News–Wall Street Journal survey of 765 registered voters was conducted from April 28 to May 1 and has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.