Congress is preparing to rewrite the 135-year-old presidential election certification law, and most American voters think that’s a good idea.
A majority of voters favor making it harder to override future election results, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Fifty-two percent of respondents said it should be harder for Congress to override presidential election results, and 53 percent said it should be more difficult for state governments to do so, the poll shows.
In addition to showing support for reforming Congress’ counting of electoral votes, the poll also recorded a downtick in President Joe Biden’s approval rating and showed Republicans narrowing the generic congressional ballot ahead of the November midterm elections.
Following the Trump-fueled riot at the Capitol and the promotion of legal theories to stop Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election results, legislators in both chambers took up reviewing the electoral count process to remove uncertainty about how the Electoral College votes are tallied.
The Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday advanced bipartisan legislation that specifies that electors have to comply with state laws, formalizes that the vice president’s role in election certification is ceremonial and raises the threshold for objecting results to one-fifth of Congress.
That committee meeting follows a successful passage last week of the House’s version of similar legislation, with a one-third threshold for objection.
Currently just one member of the House of Representatives and one member of the Senate can force a vote on objecting the election results during the certification process.
The Senate is widely expected to pass its version of the bill, after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his support for the measure, which already had enough Republican co-sponsors to overcome a filibuster.
The electoral count reforms are a priority for Congress in advance of the 2024 presidential election and are expected to make it through a conference committee to Biden’s desk before the end of the year.
In the poll, there wasn’t a clear consensus among respondents on how to make it more difficult to challenge election results. About one-third of voters in the poll said they didn’t have an opinion on changing the threshold for objection, and one-quarter of voters said the current standard should remain the same.
The support to change the electoral count law also garnered bipartisan and independent support in the poll. A majority of Democrats supported both making it harder for Congress and state governments to override election results, at 66 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
More than 50 percent of independents supported making it harder for state governments to override results, and 45 percent supported it when it came to Congress. Support among Republican voters was lower: 41 percent when it comes to state governments, and 42 percent when it comes to Congress.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted Sept. 23-25, surveying 2,005 registered voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2 percentage points.
In other findings, the poll also found Biden’s approval rating dropping to just 41 percent, with 56 percent disapproving. That’s down from 46 percent in last week’s poll — which had represented Biden’s 2022 high-water mark.
A plurality of voters also did not approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, jobs, healthcare, immigration, climate change and a host of other policy areas surveyed in the poll.
The economy was the top issue among 44 percent of voters (the highest of any issue in the poll), and 61 percent disapproved of Biden’s handling of the economy.
Two-thirds of respondents said they did not think Biden should run for president again in 2024. If Biden didn’t run, Vice President Kamala Harris was the favorite out of a list of 12 potential Democratic primary contenders, with 26 percent support among Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents. In second place was Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, winning 13 percent support. Fully a quarter of Democrats were undecided.
About the same number of respondents, more than 60 percent, said former President Donald Trump should not run again, either.
A majority of voters said they believed that Trump had not handled his business affairs honestly before his presidency, during his presidency or after his presidency — more than 50 percent in each instance. The poll was conducted in the days after New York state Attorney General Tish James announced charges against Trump and three of his adult children in a civil investigation on his business dealings. That investigation is one of several investigations into the former president preceding in several jurisdictions across the country.
Less than eight weeks before the midterms, Democrats showed a slight advantage over Republicans in congressional races even with Biden’s low approval rating and concerns around the economy.
Forty-five percent of voters said they would vote for a Democrat for Congress if the election was today compared to 43 percent who preferred a Republican candidate, the poll found. In last week’s poll, Democrats had a 5-point lead, 47 percent to 42 percent.
Democrats garnered a plurality of support from voters under age 45, women and from those with incomes levels both higher than $100,000 and less than $50,000 per year. Republicans did better with voters 45 and older, and with Christian voters.
Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company, delivering insights on what people think in real time by surveying tens of thousands across the globe every single day.