Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Poll Says Pennsylvania Voters Prefer Current Electoral College System

A survey performed by Quinnipiac University indicates that registered voters in Pennsylvania want to keep the current winner-take-all method of apportioning the Electoral College votes in the commonwealth, by a margin of 52% to 40%.

State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi wants to divide the state's Electoral College votes based on the popular vote in each of the congressional districts. The remaining two votes would go to the candidate that wins the popular vote in the state. Pennsylvania currently has 19 districts, but that will be reduced to 18 based on census figures.

Opponents say would help Republicans, but Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Polling Institute, said a change to the method would not necessarily guarantee an advantage to either party. "It could cut the other way. In other words if they went district-by-district they may eventually lose ground," Malloy said. "So it's a toss up."

From September 21-26, 1,370 registered voters were questioned to determine whether they preferred the current winner-take-all method, or the method proposed by Senator Pileggi. Malloy says, "I think the state has basically spoken, and Republicans are pretty much split on this as well, that it's safer and more fair to do it the old way."

57% of survey respondents said that Republicans in the legislature wish to change this system only to help GOP candidates, rather than reflect the will of the voters (32% disagreed).

Malloy said the results were obviously along party lines, but registered independents can help tell the story. "Independents voted by a margin of 53% to 43% in favor of keeping things the status quo. In other words, living with the Electoral College formula, whether flawed or not, independents say stick with it," Malloy said.

51% believe that a switch from the current winner-take-all formula would diminish the state's importance as a Presidential swing state. 38% said it would not.

Malloy also said 47% of registered Republicans surveyed were much more energized and enthusiastic about the next election than 2008's, while 50% of Democratic voters' enthusiasm remained about the same.

The poll also looked at how Republican contenders would do against President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama remains in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney (45% to 43%, with a ±2.7% margin of error). Mr. Obama leads Rick Perry (46% to 40%). Both scenarios are virtually unchanged since the last Quinnipiac poll from August 2.

The survey also reports that Perry has more favor with Republicans, moving up 8% since August 2. Romney remains the favorite with 18%, Perry follows with 16%.