Tallahassee, Fla. —The majority of Floridians believe that the President and Vice President of the United States should be elected by the national popular vote, as are all other public officials at local, state, and national levels.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted late last year by Florida Atlantic University on behalf of the League of Women Voters. When asked how they thought the country should elect the President, 68 percent of registered voters said it should be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, while less than a third said the current Electoral College system. Although Independents and Democrats heavily favored the national popular vote, so did nearly half of Republican respondents.
“The findings of this survey 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,” noted Dr. Kevin Wagner, Chair, Department of Political Science, at FAU. “This is not the case today under our current system.”
The U.S. Constitution gives states sole authority to select the president by instructing their electors how to vote. Because of the way in which the Electoral College formula works, the votes of residents in the least-populous states are worth 3-4 times more than the votes of residents in more populous states, which marginalizes the Florida voter.
“Despite the fact that Florida is the third largest state, Floridians’ voices are not equal to those of residents of other states,” said Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “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.” She added that in the past several national elections, the votes of up to a half of Florida voters were thus made meaningless by this rule.
The results of the poll were announced today at a press conference held by Rep. Joseph Geller of Miami-Date and Senator Victor Torres of Orlando. They have introduced HB 367 and SB 1374, respectively, for consideration by the Florida Legislature in the 2018 session to enact the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) in Florida. States enacting the Compact can award their electors to the Presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote, thus ensuring the votes of each American are equal, regardless of where they live. States accounting for 165 of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate the Compact have passed such legislation, with more considering it.
The survey, which was administered both online and by telephone in English and Spanish was conducted October 19-22, 2017. Further information regarding the methodology is available from Dr. Monica Escaleras, Director of the FAU’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attachment: “Florida Registered Voters Attitudes about the Electoral College” October 31, 2017