A majority of Americans would welcome a change to the way presidents are elected.
Around six-in-ten U.S. adults (63%) say the way the president is elected should be changed so that the winner of the popular vote nationwide wins the presidency, while 35% favor keeping the current Electoral College system, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 27-July 4, 2022. There has been a modest increase in the share of Americans who favor changing the way presidents are elected: In January 2021, the last time the Center asked this question, 55% said the system should be changed, while 43% supported maintaining the existing system.
The current electoral system in the United States allows for the possibility that the winner of the popular vote may not be able to secure enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. This was the case in both the 2000 and 2016 elections, which were won by George W. Bush and Donald Trump, respectively.
As in past years, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are far more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to support moving to a popular vote system (80% vs. 42%). The share of Democrats saying this is up 9 percentage points from January 2021, but about on par with views in 2020. While a majority of Republicans (56%) continue to say the current Electoral College system should be maintained, the share who now express support for moving to a popular vote system is the highest it’s been since the 2016 election: 42% say this today, up from 37% in 2021 and just 27% in the immediate wake of the 2016 election.
Liberal Democrats are especially likely to say they would prefer changing the system to be based on the popular vote (87% say this). By contrast, conservative Republicans are particularly likely to prefer keeping the current system where the winner of the Electoral College vote takes office (66% say this).
Younger adults are somewhat more supportive of changing the system than older adults: Seven-in-ten Americans ages 18 to 29 support changing the system, compared with 56% of those 65 or older.
And partisan divides in views of the Electoral College are most pronounced among those who pay the most attention to politics. Among partisans who say they follow what is going on in government and public affairs “most of the time,” 85% of Democrats – but only 24% of Republicans – say they favor changing the system. For those who say they follow politics “only now and then” or “hardly at all,” there is a much smaller partisan gap, with 74% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans saying they favor changing the system.