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November 06, 2012

A String of Close Elections

Joshua Spivak notes there hasn't been a string of president elections this close since the end of the 19th century.

"Our presidential elections are frequently both Electoral College and popular vote blowouts. Of the 21 races from 1900 to 1984, 11 saw one candidate win by more than a 10 percent margin of the popular vote. In nearly half of those victories, candidates great and small, like Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon, won by more than 20 percent."

"In the 20th century before 1988, there was only one stretch of as many as three elections without a 10 percent popular vote margin of victory -- and those were the Democratic victories from 1940 to 1948."

"But clearly the blowouts have ended. No candidate has had a victory margin above 8.5 percent of the vote since Ronald Reagan's trouncing of Walter Mondale in 1984. Obama's victory in 2008 may have seemed large, but he won by 7.3 percent -- historically speaking, not that impressive."


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