Jump to content
The Political Lounge

My "Final" Presidential Election Ranking


vcczar
 Share

Recommended Posts

I post my final ranking of Presidential Election victories below. This ranking attempts to rank each presidential election victory from strongest to weakest victory. I use 31 categories to create this ranking. It uses only the election results, analyzing them in as many ways as is measurable from 1788-2020, and does not judge the nominees on platform, ideology, etc. I arguably shouldn't weigh each category equally, but I could create a weighted version in the future. 

Presidential Election Victories from Greatest to Weakest (I'll elaborate on any "shockers" below): 

Election Winner Loser Totals (based on ranking of the right)
1964 Johnson Goldwater 67
1936 Roosevelt Landon 66
1972 Nixon McGovern 60
1932 Roosevelt Hoover 49
1864 Lincoln McClellan 49
1984 Reagan Mondale 46
1840 Harrison Van Buren 39
1920 Harding Cox 36
1872 Grant Greeley 34
1952 Eisenhower Stevenson 30
1928 Hoover Smith 29
1868 Grant Seymour 27
1980 Reagan Carter 24
1956 Eisenhower Stevenson 24
1788 Washington n/a 21
1852 Pierce Scott 20
1804 Jefferson Pinckney 20
1816 Monroe King 18
1904 Roosevelt Parker 17
1808 Madison Pinckney 15
1912 Wilson Taft 9
1800 Jefferson Adams 8
1900 McKinley Bryan 6
1944 Roosevelt Dewey 6
2008 Obama McCain 5
1924 Coolidge Davis 5
1860 Lincoln Douglas 2
1828 Jackson Adams 2
1940 Roosevelt Wilkie 2
1820 Monroe n/a 1
1948 Truman Dewey -1
1832 Jackson Clay -2
1908 Taft Bryan -2
1792 Washington n/a -3
1988 Bush Dukakis -3
1844 Polk Clay -4
1896 McKinley Bryan -5
2004 Bush Kerry -6
1856 Buchanan Fremont -7
1968 Nixon Humphrey -8
1992 Clinton Bush -9
1888 Harrison Cleveland -10
1892 Cleveland Harrison -10
1996 Clinton Dole -12
2020 Biden Trump -13
1976 Carter Ford -13
1836 Van Buren Harrison -13
1848 Taylor Cass -15
1880 Garfield Hancock -16
2012 Obama Romney -19
2016 Trump Clinton -20
1884 Cleveland Blaine -23
1916 Wilson Hughes -25
1812 Madison Clinton -29
2000 Bush Gore -32
1960 Kennedy Nixon -34
1796 Adams Jefferson -35
1876 Hayes Tilden -56
1824 Adams Jackson -73

 *Washington's victories do not score well as would be presumed for several reasons. Turnout was extremely low (only 6% for 1792). He was the only person on the ballot which makes his victory "easy". A victory isn't a great victory if people are rushing to the polls. Washington was basically handed a victory. He wasn't a strong down ballot president in 1792. 

*Obama's "landslide" is only a huge landslide by 21st century standards. In fact, it's the only 21st century victory with a positive score. Obama is hurt by having so many states voting by 10+% margins against him. In fact, he and Biden are tied with the highest % of states defiantly opposed. Obama did extremely well down ballot, historically. You have to go to 1980 to get a better down ballot victory. 

*Coolidge's 1924 victory is what I would call a superficial landslide. He won by a huge margin, but he loses points for very low turnout, very high 3rd party voting, among the lowest turnouts for an incumbent, and the high 3rd party turnout also gives him a good but not great popular vote %. Harding's success in 1920 also made it much more difficult for Coolidge to create new headway for Republicans. 

*1940 FDR won big, but the GOP made inroads elsewhere. 

*Why is Monroe's 1820 victory so low?! His turnout was only 10% and 19% of voters opted 3rd party (Despite getting MA's EVs, he actually lost MA to "unpledged" in the popular vote). Monroe did not help his party down ballot. Federalists made gains. I'll go so far as to say an Independent Jeffersonian Republican with Federalist tendencies would have made the election fairly competitive, although Monroe would have won. 

*Bush defeated Dukakis in a massive landslide! What happened here? Despite the EC map, both the popular vote and turnout out were average. Bush gets hit hard by some success started by Dukakis. Democrats would start a streak of victories (5+ elections straight) in 7 states from 1988 onward. That is, Dukakis basically realigned a big part of the map. Bush didn't create any streaks of his own, but did stop one streak in a state. Bush was also terrible for downballot Republicans as Democrats made a lot of gains. 

*I'll mention Biden since it is the most recent election. Biden only won 50% of the states. He is tied with Obama for highest % of states with a 10%+ margin against him. He didn't do well for house Democrats. He did have historically high turnout, achieving a victory in a historically passionate election. 

*I'll mention Trump's election since it is recent. Trump lost the popular vote. His margin vs the other major party was also terrible for an election victory. He lost a relatively high number of states by a 10%+ margin, but not as bad as Biden did in 2020. While he did make some GOP gains in Governorships, he saw loses in the US Senate and US House. 

I'm happy to explain any other election results. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your post reminded me of turnout...

Why is turnout low in the US?

1988: 50.2%

1992: 55.2%

1996: 49.0%

2000: 51.2%

2004: 56.7%

2008: 58.2%

2012: 54.9%

2016: 55.7%

2020: 66.8%

In my country (South Korea):

1987: 89.2%

1992: 81.9%

1997: 80.7%

2002: 70.8%

2007: 63.0%

2012: 75.84%

2017: 77.2%

Edited by Timur
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Timur said:

Your post reminded me of turnout...

Why is turnout low in the US?

1988: 50.2%

1992: 55.2%

1996: 49.0%

2000: 51.2%

2004: 56.7%

2008: 58.2%

2012: 54.9%

2016: 55.7%

2020: 66.8%

In my country (South Korea):

1987: 89.2%

1992: 81.9%

1997: 80.7%

2002: 70.8%

2007: 63.0%

2012: 75.84%

2017: 77.2%

  • Voting isn't a national holiday. 
  • States can discourage voting in a variety of ways, often by making it needlessly inconvenient to vote, which is a kind of voter suppression. 
  • Only two parties with any shot at winning, neither which is strongly liked. 
  • A habit of nominated subpar candidates. 
  • And other reasons. 

1988 was so low because neither Bush nor Dukakis was exciting and it was presumed Bush would win. In 1996, Clinton was easily going to get reelected and Dole had zero charisma for the GOP. Obama was exciting in 2008, which explains the relatively high 58%, but it would have been higher if it wasn't expected that Obama would win big. I think 2020 had more of an ideal turnout -- it was a close race with energy both sides (mainly pro-Trump or anti-Trump), and we could finally vote from the comfort of our own homes. 

I wish we got the turnout you guys have. If you look at our older elections, post-Civil War up to about 1920, you'll see % that look like the % in your country. I think one election had over 80% turnout.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...