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Gallup Vault
Gallup Vault: Rejecting the Electoral College
Gallup Vault

Gallup Vault: Rejecting the Electoral College

Time and again over the past seven decades, Americans have told Gallup they would like to be done with the Electoral College system for electing U.S. presidents. In 1948, Gallup found 52% of Americans correctly identifying what the Electoral College is, and of these, only 31% said it should be continued; 56% said it should not be.

Do you think the Electoral College vote system should or should not be continued?
Asked of those who know what the Electoral College is (52% of all Americans)
  Jun 19-24, 1948
Yes, should be continued 31
No, should not be continued 56
No opinion 14

Eliminating the Electoral College picked up steam in the 1960s when Democratic Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana joined the cause, holding congressional hearings on the issue in 1966. In 1967, the American Bar Association came out for repeal, and Bayh sponsored his first resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish the existing system and replace it with a direct popular vote. Between 1967 and 1968, Gallup found an increase in the percentage of all Americans in favor of repeal, from 58% to 80%. Over the next decade, Bayh mounted several more attempts at getting a constitutional amendment to pass in Congress, culminating in a failed last hurrah in 1977. That year, Gallup found 75% of Americans supporting the proposal vs. 14% opposed.

George Gallup wrote in early 1977: "With the battle to abandon the Electoral College once again joined in Congress, the American people have added their voice to the debate -- by a 5-to-1 margin the public favors a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the Electoral College." Supermajority support was found among the young and the old, the highly and not-so-highly educated, and Republicans as well as Democrats.

Gallup last asked about this in 2013 in a referendum format, finding 63% of Americans saying they would -- if they could -- vote for a law that would do away with the Electoral College.

These data can be found in Gallup Analytics.

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