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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 12/15/2008

Voters: Election Should Have Ended Nov. 4

Election 2008 officially ended today as 538 presidential electors met in state capitals to cast their votes, but if it were up to all the voters, the election would have been over on Nov. 4 when 131 million pulled the lever.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll on the eve of last month's election, 61 percent said the presidency should be decided by the popular vote. Far fewer, 35 percent, said they favor the tradition, whereby the winner is the one to cross the 270 vote threshold in the electoral college.

Majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans alike said they would prefer the candidate getting the most votes nationally to win rather than the one ahead in the electoral college should those produce different results, as was the case in 2000. Similarly, most liberals and conservatives said the one with the most overall votes should prevail in that circumstance.

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Q. Imagine that in Tuesday's presidential election one candidate wins the popular vote, but another wins the majority of votes in the electoral college. If that were to happen, who do you think should become president - the winner of the popular vote or the winner of the electoral college?

SOURCE: Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted by telephone Nov. 1, 2008 among a random national sample of 618 likely voters. Results have a four point error margin.

     Popular   Electoral   No 
      vote       college  opin.
All    61          35       5
Dem    66          26       8
Rep    54          42       4 
Ind    61          37       1

Lib    68          28       3
Mod    66          30       4
Con    54          43       3

By  |  06:00 PM ET, 12/15/2008

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