It's easy to think that “everyone” wants to move to the popular vote to decide the presidential race. Nope! In fact, quite the opposite.
A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time in almost five decades, there is less than majority support for a constitutional amendment that would institute the popular vote as the method of picking the president. Just 49 percent said they want to replace the electoral college system with a popular vote, a remarkable drop from the 80 percent who said the same in the wake of the 1968 election. (Richard Nixon won 301 electoral votes but carried the popular vote by less than a percentage point.) For what it's worth, after Gore won the popular vote but lost the election to George W. Bush in 2000, support for swapping the electoral college for the popular vote was about 60 percent.
Despite the decline in support for the idea, there are still marginally more people who prefer the popular vote to the electoral college: 49 percent to 47 percent. But the margin between the two options has never been closer.
Why? Simple. Republicans are now deeply opposed to dumping the electoral college. In 2011, a majority (54 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favored amending the Constitution to make the popular vote decisive. Now? Just 19 percent feel that way.
It doesn't take a genius — thankfully! — to figure out why. Support for the popular vote as the decider would mean President Hillary Clinton. And, no matter what they might think of President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not want that.
The popular vote/electoral college debate is now where virtually every other issue in the country has been for a while: totally partisan and, therefore, unlikely to change in any meaningful way anytime soon. In this age of growing political tribalism, no one should be surprised.