The latest poll conducted in the United States by Redfield & Wilton Strategies explored key questions surrounding the American political system, surveying the support that a range of proposed changes would attract from the American public. Overall, our research finds a degree of support for abolishing the Electoral College, but opposition to removing the two-term limit for U.S. Presidents, lowering the voting age to 16, or giving imprisoned U.S. citizens the right to vote.
Overall, 42% of Americans say they approve of the electoral system currently used to elect U.S. Presidents, whereas 28% say they disapprove. Delving deeper into the data, support for the current system is lower among those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 (38%) than among those who voted for Donald Trump (50%). Age is also a salient schism, with only 15% of those aged 18 to 24 saying they disapprove of the current system, but 39% of those aged 65 and older expressing this view.
However, despite the plurality of Americans saying they approve of the current electoral system, a plurality of 39% say they would support abolishing the Electoral College, whereas 27% say they would oppose. A further 26% say they would neither support nor oppose this change. In terms of the political divide, abolishing the Electoral College attracts notably lower levels of support from 2020 Trump voters (24%) than from 2020 Biden voters (57%).
In contrast to the plurality support for abolishing the Electoral College, only 27% of Americans would support removing the two-term limit for U.S. Presidents, compared to 46% who would oppose. The level of support or opposition to such a policy is virtually on par among those who voted for Donald Trump and those who voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election.
Further, the majority of Americans (62%) disagree that the minimum voting age should be lowered from 18 to 16, whereas 22% agree. Younger respondents are more likely to be supportive of this change, with 47% of those aged 18 to 24 saying they agree that the voting age should be lowered, compared to only 5% of those aged 65 and older and 12% of those aged 45 to 54.
Likewise, a majority of Americans (51%) oppose imprisoned U.S. citizens having the right to vote, whereas 28% think they should be able to vote. While 2020 Donald Trump voters are strongly opposed to imprisoned citizens being able to vote (16% support and 70% oppose), Joe Biden voters are almost evenly divided, with 40% supporting and 38% opposing the right to vote of imprisoned Americans.
While a plurality of Americans initially say they approve of the current electoral system used to elect their President, we also find that a plurality in fact would support abolishing the Electoral College—a view that is particularly popular among those who voted for Joe Biden. However, support for this measure across the population as a whole is still far more limited, suggesting that it is unlikely that political capital will be expended on attempting to enact such a constitutionally complicated change. Further, other changes (such as removing term limits or lowering the voting age) attract even more limited support.
To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.