With all the talk in the media recently being about which presidential candidate is winning in the debates and who has the edge heading into the election, I thought it would be a perfect time to look back on the history of the United States presidential election races. Throughout the years, we have seen some close calls (George Bush in 2000 immediately comes to mind), but we have also seen a few races that we all knew the outcome for long before Election Day. Since 1900, which president has been elected by the largest margin in the Electoral College?
1. 1936 — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 523 defeated Alfred Landon, 8 (+515)
When one looks at the Electoral College, the real grasp of how popular Roosevelt was in the United States is seen. In 1936, he was running for re-election and was challenged by the Republican, Landon. Landon became the governor of Kansas in 1932 and his party felt that he would be a suitable candidate to knock Roosevelt off, but Roosevelt lost just Vermont and Maine and totaled more than 27 million votes, compared to the nearly 17 million Landon received.
2. 1984 — Ronald Reagan, 525 defeated Walter Mondale, 13 (+512)
After easily winning the election in 1980, Reagan ran for re-election against Mondale in 1984. Mondale had previously served as vice-president in the Jimmy Carter administration and was chosen by the Democratic Party to take the office away from Reagan. He never stood a chance, as he won just Minnesota and Washington, D.C., and recorded nearly 17 million less popular votes.
3. 1972 — Richard Nixon, 520 defeated George McGovern, 17 (+503)
McGovern, the Democrat, was trying to take the office away from the Republican Party, but he failed miserably. Nixon had recorded just 301 electoral votes to win the presidency for his first term, but the American people loved him so much, he recorded almost 18 million more votes than McGovern, a former senator from South Dakota, who won just Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts.
4. 1980 — Ronald Reagan, 489 defeated Jimmy Carter, 49 (+440)
Running for his first term, Reagan beat the incumbent candidate by a large margin.Reagan recorded nearly 40 million votes, while Carter recorded more than 35 million. Carter was able to win Minnesota, Hawaii, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., but it wasn’t enough for him to get a second term.
5. 1964 — Lyndon B. Johnson, 486 defeated Barry M. Goldwater, 52 (+434)
Johnson was the incumbent in this election after replacing John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. The American public though highly of their former vice president that he received nearly 16 million more votes than Goldwater, a former senator from Arizona. Goldwater would only win states in the south (Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi) and his home state of Arizona.