11 November 2007

1904-2004 End Analysis-Part 4 : Two-Term Presidents and a comparison of their 2 elections

Here is how the 7 two-term presidents fared in their re-elections compared to their 1st term election:

YEAR

PARTY

CANDIDATE

POP. %

MARGIN %

1912

DEM

Wilson

41.84-27.40

14.44

1916

DEM

Wilson

49.24-46.12

3.12

 

 

Difference

+7.40

-11.32

 

 

 

 

 

1932

DEM

Roosevelt, FD

57.41-39.65

17.76

1936

DEM

Roosevelt, FD

60.80-36.54

24.26

 

 

Difference

+3.40

+6.50

 

 

 

 

 

1952

GOP

Eisenhower

55.18-44.33

10.85

1956

GOP

Eisenhower

57.27-41.97

15.30

 

 

Difference

+2.07

+4.45

 

 

 

 

 

1968

GOP

Nixon

43.42-42.72

0.70

1972

GOP

Nixon

60.67-37.52

23.15

 

 

Difference

+17.25

+22.45

 

 

 

 

 

1980

GOP

Reagan

50.75-41.01

5.56

1984

GOP

Reagan

58.77-40.56

18.21

 

 

Difference

+8.02

+8.47

 

 

 

 

 

1992

DEM

Clinton

43.01-37.45

5.56

1996

DEM

Clinton

49.23-40.72

8.51

 

 

Difference

+6.22

+2.95

 

 

 

 

 

2000

GOP

Bush, Jr.

47.87-48.38

-0.51

2004

GOP

Bush, Jr.

50.73-48.27

2.46

 

 

Difference

+2.86

+2.97

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Averages of the 7 Presidents

+6.75

+5.21

 

YEAR

PARTY

CANDIDATE

EC

EC MARGIN

EC %

1912

DEM

Wilson

435-88-8

347

81.92-16.57-1.51

1916

DEM

Wilson

277-254

23

52.17-47.83

 

 

Difference

-158

-324

-29.75

 

 

 

 

 

 

1932

DEM

Roosevelt, FD

472-59

413

88.89-11.11

1936

DEM

Roosevelt, FD

523-8

515

98.49-1.51

 

 

Difference

+51

+112

+9.60

 

 

 

 

 

 

1952

GOP

Eisenhower

442-89

353

83.24-16.76

1956

GOP

Eisenhower

457-73-1

384

86.06-13.75-0.19

 

 

Difference

+15

+31

+2.82

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968

GOP

Nixon

301-191-46

110

55.95-35.50-8.55

1972

GOP

Nixon

520-17-1

503

96.65-3.15-0.19

 

 

Difference

+219

+393

+40.70

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980

GOP

Reagan

489-49

440

90.89-9.11

1984

GOP

Reagan

525-13

512

97.58-2.42

 

 

Difference

+36

+72

+6.69

 

 

 

 

 

 

1992

DEM

Clinton

370-168

202

68.77-31.23

1996

DEM

Clinton

379-159

220

70.45-29.55

 

 

Difference

+9

+18

+1.68

 

 

 

 

 

 

2000

GOP

Bush, Jr.

271-266-1

5

50.37-49.44-0.19

2004

GOP

Bush, Jr.

286-251-1

35

53.16-46.65-0.19

 

 

Difference

+15

+30

+2.79

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Averages of the 7 Presidents

+26.71

47.43

+4.93

 

All seven presidents improved their percentage in the popular vote. Six of seven improved their standing in all other categories. Only Woodrow Wilson had a reduced popular vote margin, electors, electoral margin and electoral percentage in 1916 compared to 1912.

 

The case of Wilson is without parallel, though often parallels are drawn between Wilson and Clinton. In 1912, Wilson was elected in a three-way race against an incumbent, Taft, and that incumbent’s immediate predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt, who was much more popular than Taft and turned a third party (progessive) into the 2nd party in this election. The GOP was so badly fractionalized that Wilson managed an very large popular vote margin over Roosevelt, leading to a major landslide in the EC. In 1916, there was no third party candidate, and so the race was much closer. Not in spite of this, Wilson still improved his popular vote percentage above the average of all seven presidents.

 

The Wilson parallel to Clinton is only applicable in that Clinton was also in a three-way race in 1992. However, he still had 2% more of the popular vote % than Wilson did in 1912 and the republicans were not as fractionalized as they were in 1912, meaning that Perot remained a third party candidate. Since the margin Clinton-Bush, Sr., was much narrower than Wilson-Roosevelt, the electoral college landslide for Clinton in 1992 was also smaller. However, in 1996 as opposed to 1916, Clinton still had a three-way race to fight:  he improved his popular vote percent within 1/100th of a percentage point of Wilson’s in 1916, but the GOP only improved by 3 percentage points in 1996 as opposed to 18.5 percentage points in 1916 and thus, the independent factor in 1996 lost to both major parties.

 

I could have also included FDR’s third and fourth election results here, which were also a net loss compared to his unprecedented electoral landslide of 1936. However, there would be no other president to compare these figures to and there will never be such a president due to the 22nd amendment to the constitution, passed in 1947and ratified in 1951. Therefore, I left the figures for 1940 and 1944 out, though they were also landslides.

 

The improvement that George W. Bush, Jr. showed in the election of 2004 compared to 2000 parallels mostly the improvement of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1956 compared to 1952). Both improved slightly: around 2% in the popular vote, around 3% in the EC percentage breakdown, and both picked-up exactly 15 electors in their respective re-elections. It is also interesting to note that Bush, Jr.’s popular vote percentage improvement, the improvement in the popular vote margin (%) and in the EC margin (%) closely parallel his national popular vote margin of +2.46% over John Kerry in the 2004 election.

 

The most radical improvement for a two-term president was that of Richard M. Nixon (1972 compared to 1968), but in light of the fact that he had previously participated in two of the closest elections in history (1960 and 1968), lost the one and then won the other, could explain his documented obsession in 1971 (and during the campaign of 1972) with obtaining a landslide victory, an obsession that led to one of the dirtiest and nastiest shut-out campaigns in history.

 

The back to back terms of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Jr is the first time in US history that 2 consecutive 2-term presidents of opposing parties have been elected one after the other. The last time that something similar happened was from 1800-1824, where three 2-term presidents in a row were elected: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. However, all three were of the same party:  democratic-republican.

 

 

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