Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How Did the 2012 Presidential Race Stack Up?; History Suggests It Was One of the Closer Races

In the Election of 1880,
Garfield won the popular
vote by less than 2,000 votes.
Following November's election, some of my Democratic friends were suggesting that President Obama won by an easy margin.  Some even remarked it was a blowout win.  When I countered that from a historical standpoint it was a very close election, my assertion was met with doubt.  I didn't have the numbers to back up my claim, so while visiting my parents in Florida over Christmas, I spent some time crunching the numbers.  I think my analysis of the date proves I was more right than wrong.  In reviewing the relative closeness of the race, the 2012 contest nearly ranks in the top 1/4 of races in the popular vote and in the top 1/3 when it comes to the electoral college margin.

Closest Popular Vote Margins
1.  1880 Hancock - Garfield .09%
2.  1960 Kennedy - Nixon .17%
3.  2000 Gore - GW Bush .51%
4.  1884 Cleveland - Blaine .57%  (Gore lost the popular vote)
5.  1968 Humphrey - Nixon .7%
6.  1888 Cleveland - Harrison .83%  (Cleveland lost the electoral vote)
7.  1844 Polk - Clay 1.45%
8.  1976 Carter - Ford 2.06
9.  2004 Kerry - George W. Bush 2.46%
10. 1876 Tilden - Hayes 3%
...
13.  2012 Obama - Romney 3.68%

Least Close Popular Vote Margins
1.  1920 Cox - Harding 26.17%
2.  1924 Davis - Coolidge 25.22%
3.  1936 FDR - Landon 24.26%
4.  1972 McGovern - Nixon 23.15%
5.  1964 LBJ - Goldwater 22.58
6.  1904 Parker - Teddy Roosevelt 18.83%
7.  1984 Mondale - Reagan 18.21%
8.  1832 Jackson - Clay 17.81%
9.  1932 FDR - Hoover 17.76%
10. 1928 Smith - Hoover 17.41%

Note: Winner of popular vote is highlighted. Only top two popular vote candidates are listed; they are compared head-to-head. Popular vote totals are only available going back to Election of 1824, which is a total of 48 elections

 Closest Electoral Vote Margins
In the Election of 1876,
Republicans cut a deal so
Hayes could edge out Tilden
in the Electoral College
1.  1876 Tilden - Hayes .2%   (Margin was 185-184.  Victory was a result of a compromise Republicans reached agreeing to end Reconstruction in exchange for Hayes receiving 20 disputed electoral votes.)
2.  2000 Gore - Bush 1% (Bush lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote 271-266.)
3.  1916 Wilson - Hughes 4.4%
4.  1824 Jackson - John Quincy Adams 5.7% (Several candidates had electoral votes.  Race was thrown into the House of Representatives which elected Adams.)
5.  2004 Kerry - George W. Bush 6.5%
6.  1884 Cleveland - Blaine 8.8%
7.  1976 Carter - Ford 10.6%
8.  1848 Cass - Taylor 12.4%
9.  1960 Kennedy - Nixon 15.6%
10. 1880 Hancock - Garfield 16%
...
17. 2012 Obama - Romney 23.4%

Least Close Electoral Vote Margins
1. 1936 FDR - Landon 97%
2. 1984 Mondale - Reagan 95.2%
3. 1820 Monroe - John Quincy Adams 94.3%
4. 1972 Nixon - McGovern 93.5%
5. 1804 Jefferson - Pinckney 84%
6. 1864 McClellan - Lincoln 82%
7. 1964 LBJ - Goldwater 80.6%
8. 1840 Van Buren - William Henry Harrison 79.2%
9. 1932 FDR - Hoover 77.8%
10. 1956 Stevenson - Eisenhower 72.4%

Note: Winner of electoral vote is highlighted. Only top two finishers in Electoral College are compared head-to-head. Electoral vote is compared by looking at the difference between the percent of electoral vote received by the top two candidates. Comparison only goes back to Election of 1804, which is a total of 53 elections. Prior to that election, a different procedure for casting electoral vote was used which makes such a comparison difficult.

1 comment:

RhondaLeeBaby69 said...

The facts show that this race wasn't close at all. Your own beloved Weekly Standard showed that even with a 5% swing nationwide, Romney still would have lost:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/even-5-point-swing-wouldn-t-have-saved-romney_692110.html