According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: “53 percent of Americans support a move to a popular vote, while 43 percent believe the country should continue to elect its presidents using the Electoral College.”
This poll shows that Americans favor the national popular vote by a landslide margin. But because it only asked about amending the Constitution, the poll actually understates support for the popular vote. Amending the Constitution is a radical move that would take years to accomplish, and the process has only rarely been successful.
Unfortunately, this poll did not ask about the much more conservative approach to requiring presidential candidates to seek the votes of all Americans, one that does not require a constitutional amendment: the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Under the Compact, states agree to give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote once states with enough electoral votes to elect a president—270 votes—join the Compact. Right now, the Compact has 189 votes committed from fourteen states and the District of Columbia, with more states currently considering the bill. The Compact is a constitutional exercise of the states’ authority to allocate their electoral votes as they see fit. The Compact would not get rid of the Electoral College, but would make it work for all Americans instead of just those in swing states.
If the poll had asked about achieving a national popular vote without the need for a constitutional amendment, support would have been much higher. Making Every Vote Count’s own polling shows that when asked the simple question “Do you think the person who wins the most votes nationwide should become the president?” 74% of all Americans say yes.