A press conference on the National Popular Vote bill is being held today, Feb. 27, in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol. A big turnout will indicate to legislators that the bill has strong support. If the bill passes, Connecticut will become the 11th state, plus the District of Columbia, to approve electing the president by a nationwide vote of the people.
Passage would bring the total electoral votes represented by the approving states to 172 – so fewer than 100 more electoral votes would be needed before the new system goes into effect. Those who want to attend the press conference should just click here.
Majority of CT Voters, Including Republicans, Back Popular Vote, Poll Finds
Three out of four Connecticut voters – including most Republicans -- support a “plan which would ensure that the winner of the national popular vote becomes president.”
That was the main finding of a survey released in Hartford on Feb. 21. The survey of 1,202 voters statewide was conducted in late January by national pollster Andrew Claster. It was commissioned by Making Every Vote Count, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit group.
The poll found that the National Popular Vote plan had the backing of 93% of Democrats, 55% of Republicans, and 72% of Independents. A strong majority supported the plan in all of Connecticut’s counties, as the map below shows….
Key Voice Tells Why This Time Is Different
One of the most important voices in Connecticut politics, Ken Dixon, reporter and columnist for Hearst newspapers, has written a piece, published Feb. 25 in the Connecticut Post, headlined, “National Popular Vote would make your ballot count.”
Dixon notes that when the issue came before the General Assembly last year, “the proposal reeked of sour grapes from Hillary supporters.” But this year is different, Dixon writes. “There’s an argument for saying we’re all threatened” by the current electoral system, “specially we denizens of high-tax states.”
This is an important point and often overlooked. Under the current system, a Republican president, elected by red states, can, with relative impunity, promote policies that harm blue states (such as ending the deduction for state and local taxes) since Republicans won’t win those states anyway. But under a popular-vote system, all voters in all states will have a say in a presidential election; they can’t be ignored.
Another difference between 2017 and 2018 that Dixon points out:
One important person who changed his opposition to the idea, is Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin. “We’ve had a couple of elections now,” he said Friday afternoon. He’s looking forward to the bill, identical to last year’s version, going through the committee processs and eventually hitting the House floor.
Dixon also urges voters to “contact your state representative and senator. It’s an election year. So they have to listen to you.”
The Claster poll shows why. It found that a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents “would be more likely to vote” for a candidate for Connecticut governor or legislator who “promised to support the National Popular Vote plan.”
Claster, along with James K. Glassman, a member of the MEVC foundation board and a former official in the George W. Bush Administration, presented the findings in press conference at the State House last week.
Safer Way to Elect Presidents
The CT Mirror on Feb. 22 ran an article by Glassman, headlined, “A Fairer, Safer Way to Elect Our Presidents.”
The article made three points:
Glassman concluded his article: “Turning every state purple and allowing every vote to count equally will help restore confidence in American democracy. It’s the right and fair thing to do, and, in these times, it’s the safe thing to do as well.”
Popular Vote Good for Republicans
On his visit to the State House last week, Glassman met with two Republican Senators, who both pledged their support for the popular-vote bill if it reaches the floor.
It should be no surprise that Republicans are backing the change in the way we elect presidents.
First of all, Democrats dominate the largest states. Of the six states with the most electoral votes, only one, Texas, with 38 electoral votes, is consistently in the Republican camp. By contrast, Democrats have had a lock on California, with 55 electoral votes; New York, with 29; and Illinois, with 20 (a total of 104). Two of the six largest states – Florida, with 29, and Pennsylvania, with 20 – are toss-ups.
Second, while Republican candidates for president have won two of the last five elections without a popular-vote majority (2000 and 2016), those contests could easily have gone the other way. In addition, in 2004, if just 60,000 Ohio voters had switched to him, Democrat John Kerry would have won an electoral-vote majority while losing by 3 million popular votes.
Finally, polls show that the United States is a slightly right-of-center country. Republicans can easily compete with Democrats to capture majority support in the country.
Intense Media Interest in Popular Vote Movement
Media interest in the popular vote effort is mounting in Connecticut. On Feb. 20, articles ran in seven daily newspapers around the state, previewing the MEVC press conference: Connecticut Post, New Haven Register, Danbury News Times, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Middletown Press, and Torrington Register Citizen. And this article appeared in the “Capital Watch” section of the Hartford Courant and this on the popular website Connecticut News Junkie.
Meanwhile, WFSB Channel 3 did a story on the poll and the press conference during the Feb. 21 news show at 6 p.m. And WTNH, the Hartford-New Haven ABC affiliate, News 8, did a story on that same night on the 5 p.m. news:
And here is the text of a WTIC-AM radio news story on the press conference. WTIC also did a separate interview with Claster. And WNPR, the public radio station, did a story as well.