With just days to go before the last votes are cast in the pivotal 2020 U.S. election, voters are once again voicing their displeasure with the electoral system responsible for choosing the next president. The Electoral College allows for a presidential candidate to lose in total votes but garner enough electoral votes to win the election, and new survey data shows how a majority of Americans are in favor of abolishing this system entirely.
According to a recent Gallup survey, 61 percent of U.S. voters said they were in favor of amending the Constitution to remove the Electoral College from the presidential election process, resulting in the candidate with the most total votes winning the election. Republican respondents were much more likely to be against removing this system than Democrats and Independents, with just 22 percent in favor of amending the Constitution. A large majority of both Independents and Democrats, 68 percent and 89 percent, respectively, were in favor of amending the Constitution and abolishing the Electoral College.
Democrats’ disdain for the seemingly anomalous system of electing the next president is one rooted in two recent modern elections where the Republican candidate won despite losing the popular vote. In 2000, Republican candidate George W. Bush eventually bested Democratic candidate Al Gore by five electoral votes after a month-long legal battle over a statewide recount in Florida. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled a statewide mandatory recount as unconstitutional, giving Bush just enough electoral votes to win the election even though he received over half a million fewer national votes than Gore. More recently, President Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton despite losing by an even greater 3 million votes nationally.
Trump secured enough electoral votes for a legal battle over state recounts to be unnecessary in 2016, but many in the country are anxious at that possibility for 2020 with several key swing states polling effectively even between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. National polls show a favorable lead for Biden, but even if those polls are relatively accurate, there are still pathways for Trump to gain enough electoral college votes to win the election while once again losing the popular vote.