The Times-Tribune

SPLIT OPINION: Poll finds more than half of registered voters say the winner of the popular vote for president should determine the winner.

Democrats prefer popular vote; for GOP, status quo

- BY DAVID GOLDSTEIN

WASHINGTON — Democratic voters are much more inclined than Republican­s to relegate the Electoral College to the trash heap of history, a new national survey found.

That’s apparently what happens when you lose the electoral vote count despite winning the popular vote in two of the past five presidenti­al elections, which leaves your party outside the White House looking in.

That’s been the fate of two Democratic presidenti­al candidates – Hillary Clinton last month and Al Gore in 2000. Her lead over Donald Trump is approachin­g 3 million votes. But he won more electoral votes: 306 to Mrs. Clinton’s 232.

A McClatchy-Marist Poll found that 52 percent of registered voters say the winner of the popular vote for president should determine the winner; 45 percent say the Electoral College has worked out just fine.

But breaking the sentiments down by party reveals a partisan gap.

Among Democrats, 78 percent support using the popular vote as the measure, compared with 29 percent of Republican­s and 46 percent of independen­t voters.

“I just feel like it doesn’t work the way it should,” said Jason Torian of Roxboro, North Carolina. “I think the electors are going to vote just like they always have. More than one Republican elector knows Donald Trump is unqualifie­d to be president. But they feel like for whatever reason, they should continue to support him.”

On the other hand, 67 percent of Republican­s like the system as it is, along with just 19 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independen­ts who prefer to keep the Electoral College.

“It’s not a popularity contest,” said Beverly Olson of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. “The way the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College, they had to get so many votes from all the states to make it fair. We know California has a lot more people and New York has more people.”

The Electoral College comprises sets of electors from each state, whose number is based on population. There are 538 electors; 270 are needed to win. It was a compromise between direct election of the president by the then fledgling nation’s citizens, which some of the Founding Fathers worried about, and having members of Congress decide. In practice, it attempts to better equalize the influence of every state.

“We do need the checks and balances in place,” said Samantha Myers of Houston. She supported Mrs. Clinton but thinks the Electoral College should remain in place.

 ?? BEN MOFFAT / THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Protesters at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix on Sunday urge members of the Electoral College to cast votes for anyone other than President-elect Donald Trump.
BEN MOFFAT / THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS Protesters at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix on Sunday urge members of the Electoral College to cast votes for anyone other than President-elect Donald Trump.

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