Floridians want popular vote to decide presidential elections, poll says - Florida Politics

Floridians want popular vote to decide presidential elections, poll says

More than two thirds of Florida voters say presidential elections should be decided by the national popular vote, according to a Florida Atlantic University poll.

The poll, commissioned by the League of Women Voters, asked 1,000 registered voters how they thought the country should elect the President, and 68 percent said the winner should be the candidate with the most votes in all 50 states, while less than a third said they wanted to stick with the current Electoral College system.

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“Despite the fact that Florida is the third largest state, Floridians’ voices are not equal to those of residents of other states,” said LWVF President Pamela Goodman. “Floridians’ voices are further diminished by the ‘winner-take-all’ rule, common to 47 other states, which awards all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins in that state, no matter how slim the margin.”

Support for the measure was near 90 percent among Democrats, with 70 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans saying they were also in favor. Nearly three-quarters of women supported moving to a popular vote system, while 63 percent of men were in favor.

Broken down by region, North Florida voters were in favor of the Electoral College 74-26, while Central Florida voters (63-37) and South Florida voters (68-32) were in favor of the popular vote.

Voters who backed President Donald Trump were split 53-47 in favor of keeping the Electoral College, which benefitted Trump bigly, while nine tenths of Hillary Clinton’s backers said it was time for a change.

The poll also found the more voters know about the Electoral College the more inclined they are to like it, though a majority of those who said they know “a lot” about the system said they were in favor of a switch.

Dr. Kevin Wagner, who chairs the FAU Department of Political Science, said the results of the poll “are consistent with other polls conducted over the past 50 years which have found the majority of Americans believe the President and Vice President should be chosen directly by the American people.”

The results of the poll were announced Wednesday at a press conference held by Aventura Rep. Joseph Geller and Orlando Sen. Victor Torres, who have filed legislation that would bring Florida into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact if signed into law.

FAU conducted the poll from Oct. 19 through Oct. 22 and responses were collected online and by telephone in English and Spanish. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

9 Comments

    1. Recent and past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN), Senator and Vice President Al Gore (D-TN), Ralph Nader, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Jill Stein (Green), Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee (R-I-D, -RI), Governor and former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean (D–VT), Congressmen John Anderson (R, I –ILL).

      Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill, which would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote, by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

      Eight former national chairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have endorsed the bill.

      The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

    1. In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin.

      Recent and past presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969), Michael Dukakis (D-MA), Jimmy Carter (D-GA-1977), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY-2001).

    2. The 538 electors are and will be dedicated party activist supporters of the winning party’s candidate who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

      The Founders created the Electoral College, but 48 states eventually enacted state winner-take-all laws.

      Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in Article II, Section 1
      “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”
      The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”

      Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.

      In 1789, in the nation’s first election, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors by appointment by the legislature or by the governor and his cabinet, the people had no vote for President in most states, and in states where there was a popular vote, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

      The current winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is not in the U.S. Constitution. It was not debated at the Constitutional Convention. It is not mentioned in the Federalist Papers. It was not the Founders’ choice. It was used by only three states in 1789, and all three of them repealed it by 1800. It is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method. The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes became dominant only in the 1830s, when most of the Founders had been dead for decades, after the states adopted it, one-by-one, in order to maximize the power of the party in power in each state.

      State winner-take-all laws were not enacted by the leading men of those states to give fair play to the will of the people

      The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding a state’s electoral votes.

  1. The Electoral College has been law since 1787 – our forefathers were brilliant – THE STATES ELECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! – Without the Electoral College we would no longer be a REPUBLIC – the United states would be a Democracy with a DICTATOR……. be careful what you wish for….. you just might get it………. if you want to be like Venezuela – move to Venezuela….

    1. In 1789, in the nation’s first election, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors by appointment by the legislature or by the governor and his cabinet, the people had no vote for President in most states, and in states where there was a popular vote, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

      In the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 and second election in 1792, the states employed a wide variety of methods for choosing presidential electors, including
      ● appointment of the state’s presidential electors by the Governor and his Council,
      ● appointment by both houses of the state legislature,
      ● popular election using special single-member presidential-elector districts,
      ● popular election using counties as presidential-elector districts,
      ● popular election using congressional districts,
      ● popular election using multi-member regional districts,
      ● combinations of popular election and legislative choice,
      ● appointment of the state’s presidential electors by the Governor and his Council combined with the state legislature, and
      ● statewide popular election.

      The current winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is not in the U.S. Constitution. It was not debated at the Constitutional Convention. It is not mentioned in the Federalist Papers. It was not the Founders’ choice. It was used by only three states in 1789, and all three of them repealed it by 1800. It is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method. The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes became dominant only in the 1830s, when most of the Founders had been dead for decades, after the states adopted it, one-by-one, in order to maximize the power of the party in power in each state.

    2. Madison’s definition of a “republic” in Federalist No. 14: “in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents.” Also Federalist No. 10.

      Even if the U.S. abolished the electoral college — which the National Popular Vote bill would NOT — the U.S. would still be nowhere near being a democracy as defined by Madison.

      [The] difference between a democracy and a republic [is] the delegation of the government, the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest.”
      In a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents.” – Madison

      The United States would be neither more nor less a “republic” if its chief executive is elected under the current state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each separate state), under a district system (such as used by Maine and Nebraska), or under the proposed national popular vote system (in which the winner would be the candidate receiving the most popular votes among all 50 states and the District of Columbia) and the majority of Electoral College votes.

      Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

      Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a pure democracy.

      Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.

      Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or democracy.

      The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes used by 2 states, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by states of winner-take-all or district winner laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

      The Constitution does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for how to award a state’s electoral votes

      The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency in 2020 to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

      The bill retains the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections, and uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes. It ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      Every voter, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would matter in the state counts and national count.

    3. Trump, October 11, 2017, on interview with Sean Hannity
      “I would rather have the popular vote.”

      Trump, November 13, 2016, on “60 Minutes”
      “ I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

      In 2012, the night Romney lost, Trump tweeted.
      “The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

      In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin.

      Recent and past presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969).

      Recent and past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN),

      Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill, which would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote, by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

      Eight former national chairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have endorsed the bill.

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