Share of electoral votes for major parties in US presidential elections 1828-2016

Share of electoral college votes for the Democratic and Republican parties in presidential elections from 1828 to 2016

by Aaron O'Neill, last edited Aug 13, 2019
Share of electoral votes for major parties in US presidential elections 1828-2016 Over the past two hundred years in the United States, candidates from the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have faced each other 43 times, with the Republicans winning 24 elections, to the Democrats nineteen. In the US, the electoral college system is used to elect the president, which generally means that the most popular candidate in each state then receives that state's allocation of electoral votes (which is determined by the state's population). In the majority of elections, the margins between the winning and losing candidates has been over thirty percent, with some cases where the winner received over ninety percent more electoral votes than the runner-up. The largest margins for the Republican Party occurred in the aftermath of the American Civil War, in the inter-war period, after the Second World War, and then again with Nixon, Reagan and George H. W. Bush campaigns in the 1970s and 80s. For the Democratic Party, the largest victories occurred during Andrew Jackson's campaigns in the early 1800s, the First and Second World Wars, and for Lindon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton in the second half of the twentieth century. In the past five elections, the results of the electoral college vote have been relatively close, compared with the preceding hundred years. George W. Bush's victories were by less than seven percent, Obama's victories were larger (by around thirty percent), and in the most recent election Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by almost fifteen percent of the electoral college votes. The percentage of electoral college votes are often very different to the percentage of the popular vote received by each candidate in the elections.
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Share of electoral college votes for the Democratic and Republican parties in presidential elections from 1828 to 2016

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