Well, the electoral college was a masterful piece of work in its inception at the beggining of the country. The demise wasnt so much the politicans, as many suggest, it was the Political partys in general. The electorate was simple, whomever came in first, won the presidency, second place would go on to be the vice president.
During the regime of the Federalist and Democratic Republican parties, the vice President became a 'runningmate' to the front runner, from his own party, at this new inception, the balance of the electorate became unfair, often siding for the big winner, and leaving the other states voters without any say in whome became president.
This problem intensified when the new Democrats and a suffering Federalist party, and the new Republican party decided to hold 'primarys' to clean out an often crowded ticket (most elections had roughly 5-10 candidates from all three major parties) this inception would allow party loyalists to only select, one candidate from thier party, who would later pick his runningmate.
This wasnt a problem for awhile, not until politics became so decisive, that polarizing the states votes down to afew hundred that "take all or nothing" was a huge problem. Florida, in 2000, was ultimately the beginning of this debate.
out of my own personal beliefs, and history, i believe the electorate is a good cause, but now has many flaws, and which, we have never addressed, i believe the winner should take a percentage of the electorate, and the opposing party take on a smaller fraction of it. ex: Guillani takes West Virginia (5 EV) by 60%, Clinton loses with 40%, so Guillani will carry WV with 3 electors, while clinton takes 2. this creates a logical split, though it wouldnt be flawless, it would help minimise another 2000, or even, a 2004.
For more election history, or Bio on the Electorate, i suggest you check out www.270towin.com, they have alot of information, with trivias, fact sheets, as well as interactive 2008 Electorate Map and Historical ones from 2004 to washingtons presidency.