The Electoral College meets next Monday and will confirm Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. A new poll finds most Utahns say the system for determining the winner of the presidential election is working just as intended, so there’s no need for a change.
For the second time in 16 years, the Electoral College is expected to pick the loser of the popular vote to occupy the White House. Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in the popular vote has surpassed 2.8 million, giving rise to calls for either a massive overhaul of the Electoral College system or to do away with it completely. However, Donald Trump won the White House with 306 electoral votes (it takes 270 to win). The real estate mogul also carried 30 states to Clinton’s 20.
A new Dan Jones & Associates poll commissioned by UtahPolicy.com finds 60% of Utahns say the Electoral College should not be abolished so that the winner of the popular vote wins the White House. 37% of Utahns would like to see the EC go the way of the dodo, while 3% are not sure.
2016 marks just the fifth time a candidate has won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College. Clinton joins Al Gore (2000), Grover Cleveland (1888) Samuel Tilden (1876), and Andrew Jackson (1824).
Some of Clinton’s supporters are urging electors to honor her popular vote margin and cast a ballot for someone other than Donald Trump. Electors are usually bound to vote for the candidate that won their state, but there is the possibility that some could become so-called “faithless electors” and cast a ballot for another candidate. It would take 38 faithless electors to swing the election back to Clinton. So far, only one elector from Texas has vowed not to cast a ballot for Donald Trump.
Proponents of keeping the Electoral College argue that the system forces candidates to pay attention to all voters rather than those in the population centers. To win the White House, a candidate must win entire states, not just large cities on the coasts.
As you might imagine, Utah Republicans really like the Electoral College system, as they have been the beneficiary of the archaic system in both 2000 and 2016, when George W. Bush and Donald Trump claimed victory, respectively. 75% of Utah Republicans say the EC should not be abolished, with 56% replying “definitely not.”
85% of Utah Democrats don’t like the Electoral College, also not much of a surprise. 61% of Utah Democrats say the EC should “definitely” be abolished, while just 14% want to keep the current method.
Utah independent voters also want to keep the Electoral College in place, but they don’t feel as strongly about it as their partisan brethren. 57% say the EC should not be abolished, while 38% want it done away with.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted December 8-22, 2016 among 614 registered Utah voters with a margin of error +/- 3.95%