From Paul Godek, Determining States’ A Priori Preferences for the Electoral College: 1788 – 2016 (2017):
Here I review some of the basic institutional elements and empirical regularities of the U.S. electoral college. Historical election results confirm the expected dominance of the winner-take-all allocation of electors. Of greater interest is the array of state preferences for the electoral college, given a national-popular-vote as the contemplated alternative. The analysis demonstrates that well over half of the states, the smaller-population ones, prefer the electoral college. Indeed, the inverse relationship between state size and electoral-college preference, as well as the majority-of-states preference for the system, have existed throughout the entire history of U.S. presidential elections. Those characteristics are certain to persist for the foreseeable future.