Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Ten closest U.S. Presidential elections

10. 1844

While Whig Party candidate Henry Clay may have lost to Democratic Party candidate James K. Polk by 65 electoral votes, in popular votes he only lost by 1.4%.

This wouldn't be the first time Henry Clay has lost a presidential election too. In fact he has made five serious runs for the presidency, and three times as a major party's candidate, and he lost every time. He has even run for president under three different political parties: The Democratic-Republican Party, the National Republican Party, and the Whig Party.

It should also be noted that Polk also lost his home state (North Carolina) and his state of residence (Tennessee) in this election, and still won, making him the only person to do this.

Polk also only ran for one term.

9. 1968

While Democratic Party candidate Hubert Humphrey may have lost to Republican Party candidate Richard Nixon by 110 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.7%.

Some people might believe that George Wallace, the American Independent Party candidate who had won 46 electoral votes, and 13.5% of the popular vote, may have acted as a spoiler for Humphrey, but at that time in our history the south (where Wallace had won all of his votes) was going over from the Democrats to the Republicans. In fact Nixon had won 6 states in what was once the Confederate States, while Humphrey only won Texas.

8. 1884

While Republican Party candidate James G. Blaine may have lost to Democratic Party candidate Grover Cleveland by 37 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.3%

This election ultimately came down to New York, Cleveland's home state, which he won by only 1,047 votes out of 1,171,312 votes casts, narrowly securing him the election.

This is also the first time since the Civil War that a Democrat had won a presidential election.

7. 1960

While Republican Party candidate Richard Nixon may have lost to Democratic Party candidate John F. Kennedy by 84 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.2%.

This election also had several controversies with it.

The margin of Kennedy's victories in several states was very narrow, even to the point where many on Nixon's campaign staff urged him to demand a recount in those states. Also there were allegations of voter fraud in several places, most notably the city of Chicago and the state of Texas.

Also in this election Virginia Senator Harry Byrd, a Democrat who opposed racial desegregation, won 15 electoral votes, even though he wasn't an announced candidate, and didn't even seek out any votes.

6. 1880

While Democratic Party candidate Winfield Scott Hancock may have lost to Republican Party candidate James A. Garfield by 59 electoral votes, he only lost the popular vote by 0.1%.

This is the smallest popular vote victory in United States history. In fact Garfield only won the popular votes by less than 1,900 votes.

5. 1796

In this election Federalist Party candidate John Adams may have defeated Democratic-Republican Party candidate Thomas Jefferson by 6.8% of the popular vote, he only won the election by three electoral votes.

This election was also a tad bit strange. Because of the way our election laws were at the time the person who came in second place in the election could become Vice President. So instead of John Adams's running mate, Thomas Pinckney, becoming Vice President, Thomas Jefferson became Vice President.

4. 1888

While President Grover Cleveland lost the 1888 presidential election by 65 electoral to Benjamin Harrison, he actually won the popular vote by 0.8%, making this the third time in United States history where a person who didn't win the popular vote won a presidential election.

Despite his loss, President Cleveland did make a come back, and defeated President Harris in the 1892 election by 132 electoral votes, making him the only president to win two non-consecutive terms.

It should be noted that James B. Weaver, the presidential candidate for the Populist Party may have cost President Harris the election as it could be argued that many of the people who voted for Weaver would have voted for President Harris, who only lost the popular vote by 3%, while Weaver managed to win 8.5% of the popular vote (and 22 electoral votes).

3. 2000

This is one of the closest elections in United States history, and one of the most controversial too.

While Democratic Party candidate Al Gore only lost the election by five electoral votes, he actually won the popular vote against Republican Party candidate George W. Bush by 0.5%.

Ultimately the election came down to Florida, where after several recounts in several counties, the Florida Supreme Count awarded Bush the state, and the presidency. This ruling is still controversial even to this day, with many critics stating that if a full state wide recount had been done, Gore might have won the state, and the election.

It should also be noted that many people consider Ralph Nader, who ran as the presidential candidate for the Green Party, may have also cost Gore the election, as he had gotten about 2.7% of the popular vote, which most likely would have gone to Gore if he had not run.

2. 1876

Democratic Party candidate Samuel J. Tilden may have won the popular vote by 3.1%, but he still lost the election to Republican Party candidate Rutherford B. Hayes by one electoral vote.

This is the closest election in United States history, and is the only one where a candidate received the absolute majority in the popular vote (51% in fact) and still didn't win.

The election was also very controversial too, with 20 electoral votes that were disputed, all of which were ultimately awarded Hayes.

This election also led to the creation of the temporary Electoral Commission and the Compromise of 1877.

1. 1824

While the election of 1876 is the closest in United States history, the election of of 1824 is probably one of the strangest in United States history.

Besides the fact that it had four candidates that all won electoral votes, all four candidates were from the same political party, the Democratic-Republican Party.

This election gets even stranger, as the person that won both the electoral and popular votes, Andrew Jackson, still didn't win the election. The reason for this is because he did not win enough electoral votes to be legally declared the winner, so it was up to Congress to decide who would be winner.

Ultimately Congress gave the victory to John Q. Adams, who was second in both electoral votes and the popular votes.

This is the only time in United States history where a person who won neither the popular vote, nor the electoral vote, still won the presidential election.

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