Public opinion and the electoral college

Gallup has just released a new poll that show that 62% of Americans favor getting rid of the electoral college in favors of the popular vote.

One of the most interesting findings is how little opinion has changed. These numbers have been remarkably consistent over the last decade. The only shift was right after the contested 2000 election when a few Democrats suddenly lost their enthusiasm for the electoral college while a few Republicans noticed how much better it was than a popular vote.

Support for using popular vote rather than electoral college

Attitudes on the electoral college were impacted more by the possibility of George Wallace winning enough southern electors in the 1968 election. Many people feared that Wallace would win enough southern states to deny Richard Nixon a win in the electoral college and the George Wallacewould use that leverage to get a deal from Nixon to roll back civil rights laws.

Support for constitutional amendment to get rid of electoral college 1967-198Now, before you electoral college haters get all excited, remember that it takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress (and three-fourths of the states) to get an amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified. You’re going to need a lot of support to kill off the electoral college–especially with so many people wanting to give the states a stronger role in national politics.

The National Archives has some good information on the electoral college. This includes the Certificate of Ascertainment from Texas (and every other state) that lists the names of all the electors and potential electors from every party on the ballot.

Here’s the front page:

Texas ascertainment certificate 2012

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