Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have endorsed a bill that would update the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to reaffirm the process for validating elections. A majority of Americans want election reform and, for the most part, people support each of the components of the Presidential Election Reform Act that were passed by the U.S. House last week.
There are a few key elements of the House bill: It is designed to ensure that efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election are not replicated by Congress, state legislatures, or future vice presidents. In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, two-thirds of Americans (65%) support ensuring future peaceful transfers of presidential power, and by a margin of two to one (50% to 26%), Americans say they want Congress to prevent efforts to overturn future elections.
The House bill explicitly says that the vice president of the United States only serves a ceremonial role in presiding over Congressional certification of an election and cannot reject ballots. This is a direct response to former President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to dismiss President Joe Biden's victory. Most Americans support affirming that the vice president has no role in validating a presidential election beyond overseeing the counting process (58%).
Most Republicans support ensuring future peaceful transfers of presidential power (56%) and clarifying the vice president's role (54%) — two elements of election certification that were challenged during the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol.
Most Americans (57%) also want to prevent state legislatures from retroactively altering election rules to change the results of a certified election — something that about half of Republicans (51%) want to do. The thinnest margin of overall support comes for a measure that would increase the threshold necessary for members of Congress to object to a state's results. While more Americans support (41%) than oppose (24%) this provision, more than one-third (36%) are not sure. Only 23% of Americans support all the provisions polled, but 81% support at least one.
Two of the bill's components – increasing the threshold for Congressional objections to a state’s results and preventing efforts to overturn presidential elections – get mixed assessments from Republicans. Republicans are split on preventing efforts to overturn presidential elections (33% support, 37% oppose) and increasing the threshold necessary for members of Congress to object to a state's results (36% support, 32% oppose).
– Taylor Orth, Oana Dumitru, and Carl Bialik contributed to this article
This poll was conducted on September 24 - 27, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.
Image: Getty Images (Sarah Silbiger-Pool)