Two-Thirds Of Democrats Want To Scrap The Electoral College

Most Republicans favor keeping the system in place.
Jonathan Drake/Reuters

Most Democrats want to see the nation switch over to a popular vote system for electing the nation’s leader, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, with about 4 in 10 also saying that they will refuse to accept Donald Trump as their legitimate president.

Americans overall are narrowly in favor of changing the way the nation elects its presidents. Forty-one percent support amending the Constitution so that the candidate who receives the most total votes nationwide wins the election, while 34 percent would prefer to keep the current system. Another 25 percent aren’t sure.

Given that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote, the views are perhaps unsurprisingly divided along partisan lines ― a change from past decades, when doing away with the Electoral College was broadly popular among members of both parties. This was the case even in more recent years.

Republicans were far less supportive than Democrats of abolishing the Electoral College in late 2000, when Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush had lost the popular vote, but was fighting a legal battle to win Florida and therefore the Electoral College,” Gallup’s Lydia Saad wrote in 2013. “Since then, however, Republicans have gradually become less protective of the Electoral College, to the point that by 2011, a solid majority of Republicans were in favor of abolishing it.”

Democrats now favor a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, 66 percent to 14 percent, according to the HuffPost/YouGov survey, while Republicans support keeping the current system by 67 percent to 13 percent. Independents are close to evenly split.

Partisanship also affects Americans’ confidence in the voting process.

In the run-up to the election, as Trump warned repeatedly about the possibility of a “rigged election,” multiple surveys found that his supporters were especially concerned about the fairness of the election ― a trend that many historians and political scientists denounced as both unfounded and dangerously corrosive to faith in the electoral system.

With Trump the victor of the election, however, Republicans’ confidence in the system now outstrips Democrats’. Forty-six percent of Republicans say they’re “very confident” that their vote was accurately counted, compared to 31 percent of Democrats who say the same. Twenty percent of Democrats, as opposed to just 8 percent of Republicans, are not too confident or not at all confident that their vote was counted accurately.

Although 78 percent of all Americans believe that Trump won legitimately, and 68 percent say they will accept him as the legitimate president, a substantial minority of Democrats say they’re refusing to accept the election’s results.

Forty percent of Democrats say they won’t accept Trump as the legitimate president and 42 percent say they believe the election was “rigged.”

Those numbers are significantly higher than the results in other recent surveys. A Gallup survey conducted the day after the election using similar question wording found that just 23 percent of Clinton voters were unwilling to accept Trump as the legitimate president, while a Washington Post/ABC News survey found that 33 percent of Clinton’s supporters didn’t think Trump’s election was legitimate.

There are many possible reasons for the discrepancy. One potential factor is that the HuffPost/YouGov survey looked at results by party, rather than by which candidate respondents voted for, although the poll found similar results among everyone who would have preferred a Clinton win.

Another possibility has to do with how the surveys were conducted. The HuffPost/YouGov poll was taken online, while both the Gallup and Post/ABC surveys used live phone interviewers, meaning that some respondents may have felt more pressure to give a socially acceptable response.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 11-14 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls.You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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