Monday, November 30, 2015

More on Electoral Vote Change

The GOP plan to change how PA awards its electoral votes next year continues to take on water.

More on Electoral Vote Change


The Republican proposal to change the way Pennsylvania awards its 20 electoral votes in next year's presidential election continues to take on water.

A Quinnipiac University poll released today says a majority of state voters, 52%-40%, want to keep the state's current winner-take-all system.

The strongest support for the status quo comes from the southeast and Philly. The only support for changing the system comes from the northwest, 49-48, and central Pennsylvania, 47-44.

No surprise there: the proposed change, which would award electoral votes by congressional districts, favors the GOP. So the poll basically breaks along party lines.

Meanwhile, the plan continues to garner national attention.

The New York Times editorialized against it Sunday, saying it would be "inherently unfair" unless nationally applied. The Times notes Republicans support the change for a large state such as PA, which went Democratic in the last five presidential elections, but would never support the same change in a Republican state such as Texas.

The Times editorial also says if there's to be a change, a "better method" would be a switch to a national popular vote system under which states with enough electoral votes needed for victory (270) would agree to give all their electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote.

The PA Republican plan gets a public hearing in Harrisburg next week and is expected to bring out plenty of opponents, including Tom Golisano, the New York billionaire and former Independent candidate for New York governor. He's a spokesman for the group pushing the popular vote plan, the National Popular Vote Initiative.

Golisano announced yesterday he's buying radio time and newspaper ads across the state to promote the group's proposal. So far, nine states have signed on in support of it, including New Jersey, Maryland and California.

I've written about both proposed changes in the past and prefer the national vote change on grounds that, hey, whoever gets the most votes from individual voters should win.

But, given the fact Pennsylvania is Pennsylvania, a place where new ideas go to die, I very much doubt our Legislature will change anything here, now or ever -- and that, increasingly, looks like the case with the GOP plan.



Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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