Friday, June 1, 2012

US President Reelections - Electoral Votes

Throughout American history, every president (except Woodrow Wilson) that has ever been reelected, has gotten more electoral votes the second time they were elected than their initial election.

The following Presidents have been reelected:
Cleveland * (non-consecutive)
G. W. Bush

The first was Washington in 1792.  He was elected in 1789 with 69 electoral votes in '92, he received almost twice that with 132.  Only 10 states voted in the '89 election so our most popular President is the one elected with the least amount of electoral votes.

Jefferson did double his electoral votes by getting 169 in 1804.  In 1800, he received 73 which was a tie with Aaron Burr.  The US House of Representative broke the tie giving Jefferson 10 and Burr only 4 with 2 abstaining.

Madison went 122 to 128, Munroe went 183 to 231, Jackson went 178 to 219 in 1832.  Incumbents had it easy in the early days of our democracy.  Then we have to go all the way to 1864 with Lincoln getting 212 over the 180 he received in 1860.

If the 19th century had a personality with rock start status, it was U. S. Grant and he was reelected with a whopping 286 electoral votes in 1872 which is 72 more than his first term. If you count Cleveland because his two terms were non-consecutive, he went from 219 to 277 in 1900. McKinley, our first 20th century president, went to 271 to 292 in 1900.

Wilson was reelected but barely.  With the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in May 1915 by a German U boat, his peaceful isolationism was ripe fodder for the hawks of opposing party.  He was elected with 435 electoral votes in 1912 with the other three candidates only getting 96 votes combined.  But when he was reelected he only received 277, only 23 more than his opponent Charles E. Hughes.  We probably would have ended up joining the war in Europe much earlier than we did if Hughes had won.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected the first time, he went from 472 in 1932 to 523 in 1936.  The following two terms the count did go down with 449 and 432 respectively.

Nixon went from 301 to a whopping 520 which was impressive, until you get to Reagan who went from 489 to 525 in 1984.  The 1984 total is highest amount of electoral votes any candidate has received, so far, in American history. Bill Clinton went from 370 to 379 and George W. Bush (our first 21st century president) went from 271 to 286.  I know some people still that say he was never elected but that is something for another day or another blog entry.

The reason I have found this so interesting that is that I realized today that if Obama does get reelected, it definitely will not be with more electoral votes than what he got in 2008 with 365.  Obama's safe states are considered: CA, RI, VT, HI, ME, DE, MD, MI, MN, MA, NH, NJ, NY, WA, WI and DC.  If my math is right that is 182 electoral votes. Romney's safe states are considered AL, AK, AZ, AR , GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MS, ND, NE, OK, SD, UT, WV, WY which (again with my math) is 117.  With 239 electoral votes up for grabs (the swings states), Obama would have to get most of them to get more than the 365 he received in 2008.  The polls currently show them to be very close.  If Obama does get reelected, it looks like he is going for a Wilson reelection.  When a president starts off their first term with such a high total like Wilson and Obama, it seems like it would be a difficult thing to do after four years in office.

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