25 November 2012

2012 and the history of MINORITY state wins

STATE MINORITY WINS


As mentioned in the thread Preliminary Totals VI, from 11/21/2012, if the current statistics hold, and it looks like they will, since Florida's results have now been certified, then the election of 2012 is the first election since 1988 where every single state win was a majority win. Edit 2013: it did not hold. Florida is a high minority win for Obama (49.90%)

Why is this important, or better yet, is this even important? 

Well, I think so. First, the meme of the "minority" win has often been used against a winning candidate (see: Bush 2000, Clinton 1992, Nixon 1968, Kennedy 1960) in order to try to delegitimize his election, in spite of the fact that a majority win is not proscribed in the US Constitution in order to receive a state's slate of electors. It is hard to try to delegitimize a winner when all wins on both sides were majority wins, which means that there is absolutely no way, even if you moved all the third party/scatter votes to the loser, that he could have won. It certainly adds some finality to it all and also removes doubt.

Before we go any father, it is important to define a majority win exactly. Mathematically, a majority win is 50.00% +1 vote, but in reality, since virtually every state contest in our history has had either 3rd/4th party or scatter votes, 50.00% is enough.

Example: the state of "Peachagonia", 1,000 votes cast.

Candidate A (Hubert Blobness) wins exactly 500 votes, 50.00%

one vote was a write in for an unknown actor from California. There are now 499 votes left.

Therefore, Candidate B (Seymour Nuttiness) cannot get past 499 votes and will lose by 1 vote, no matter what.

So, 50.00% is indeed an absolute majority.

Anything under 50.00% counts therefore as a minority win, which means that theoretically, in the case of an excruciatingly close contest, a spoiler candidate (3rd/4th party) may have swung the state, maybe.

I researched all 48 elections cycles from 2012 back in time to 1828, using the exact statistics from Dave Leips USELECTIONATLAS.ORG. His stats count as the "gold standard" for hardcore electoral statistics.

My research brought some really fascinating results. Of the 48 cycles where the popular vote was the main factor in deciding the electoral slates for candidates, from 1824-present, there were 11 cycles where there were absolutely no minority state wins at all.  Here is a table of those twelve, in descending order of national percentage margin for the winner:



Rank Year Winner winning%, winning % margin No. of state minority wins
1 1972 Nixon 60.67%, +23.15% 0 / 51
2 1964 Johnson 61.04%, +22.58% 0 / 51
3 1832 Jackson 54.74%, +17.81% 0 / 24
4 1836 Van Buren 50.79%, +14.20% 0 / 26
5 1828 Jackson 55.93%, +12.26% 0 / 24
6 1872 Grant 55.58%, +11.80% 0 / 37
7 1864 Lincoln 55.03%, +10.08% 0 / 25 (Civil War)
8 1988 Bush 41 53.37%, +7.73% 0 / 51
9 1944 FDR 53.39%, +7.49% 0 / 48
10 1900 McKinley 51.64%, +6.13% 0 / 45
11 1868 Grant 52.66%, +5.33% 0 / 33







You will  notice right away that 7 of those 12 cycles were cycles where the winner won in a national PV landslide of +10 or more. Notice also two Presidents, Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, were both elected and re-elected with absolutely no state minority wins for either party. You will notice that other extremely large landslides, like 1920, 1932, 1936, etc, are NOT in this table.

George W. Bush, Sr. goes down in history has having been elected a first time (1988) with all majority state wins and having lost his re-election bid (1992),  but winning all of his states with minority wins.

Here is a HUGE table of all 48 cycles. Each and every state that was a minority win is listed per party, by color, for that respective year. There are some important details to mention afterward

But the most important number to notice is that there have been 330 state minority wins since 1824. This table has not been indexed by state name yet (that will be a massive chore for sometime deep in the winter of 2012-2013!), but if you would like to see how your state has performed, then use CTRL-F and so a search using the two letter contraction for your state.For instance, a search for Vermont brings 4 results: 1992, 1980, 1912 and 1848.



Year National %, %Margin Minority wins (DEM) Minority wins (GOP) Minority wins (IND) Notes
2012 Obama 51.01%
D +3.86
LF (49.90%) 0 0 1 / 51 "states". First re-election with only one minority win since 1984.
2008 Obama 52.87%
D +7.26
NC (49.70%), IN (48.95%) MT (49.49%), MO (49.36%) 0 4 /51 "states"
2004 Bush, Jr. 50.73%
R +2.46%
WI (49.70%) IA (49.90%), NM (49.84%) 0 3 / 51 "states"
2000 Gore 48.38%
D +0.52%
-------------
Bush 271 EC
ME (49.09%), IA (48.54%), NM (47.91%), WI (47.83%), OR (46.96%), MN (47.91%) OH (49.97%), NV (49.52%), FL (48.85%), NH (48.07%) 0 10 / "51" states. Al Gore won both NM & MN with exactly 47.91% of the vote, an electoral rarity.
1996 Clinton 49.23%
D +8.53%
WA (49.84%), NH (49.32%), NM (49.18%), PA (49.17%), WI (48.81%), FL (48.02%), TN, (48.00%), MO (47.54%), OH (47.38%), OR (47.15%), AZ (46.52%), KY (45.84%) NV (43.93%) SC (49.89%), WY (49.81%), MS (49.21%), TX (48.76%), NC (48.73%), OK (48.26%), IN (47.13%), VA (47.10%), ND (46.94%), SD (46.49%), CO (45.80%), MT (44.11%) 0 25 / "51" states.
1992 Clinton 43.01%
D +5.56%
MD (49.80%), NY (49.73%), IL (49.58%), WV (48.41%), HI (48.09%), MA (47.54%), TN (47.08%), RI (47.04%), VT (46.11%), CA (46.01%), NM (45.90%) LA (45.58%), PA (45.15%), KY (44.55%), MO (44.07%), MI (43.77%), DE (43.52%), MN (43.48%), GA (43.47%), WA (43.41%), IA (43.29%), NJ (42.95%), OR (42.48%), CT (42.21%), WI (41.13%), OH (40.18%), CO (40.13%), NH (38.91%), ME (38.77%), MT (37.63%), NV (37.36%) -31 states
MS (49.68%), SC (48.02%), AL (47.65%), NE (46.59%), VA (44.97%), ND (44.22%), NC (43.44%), UT (43.36%), IN (42.91%), OK (42.65%), ID (42.03%), FL (40.89%), SD (40.66%), TX (40.56%), WY (39.70%), AK (39.46%),
KS (38.88%), AZ (38.47%) - 18 states


49 / 51 "states", or every state in the Union except DC and AK were minority wins. Every Bush 41 state win in that year was a minority win. No election ever before has caused so many minority state wins as did 1992.
1988 Bush, Sr.. 53.37%
R +7.73%
0 0 0 0 / 51 "states". There were no minority wins. Every Bush and every Dukakis win was a majority win.
1984 Reagan 58.77%
R +18.22%
MN (49.54%) 0 0 1 / 51 "states". All 49 of Reagan's wins were majority wins.
1980 Reagan 50.75%
R +9.74%
WV (49.81%), RI (47.57%), MD (47.14%), MN (46.50%), HI (44.80%) WA (49.66%), IL (49.65%), PA (49.59%), SC (49.57%), MS (49.52%), NC (49.30%), KY (49.07%), MI (48.99%), AL (48.75%), TN (48.70%), OR (48.33%), CT (48.16%), AR (48.13%), WI (47.90%), DE (47.21%), NY (46.66%), ME (45.61), VT (44.37%), MA (41.90%) 0 24 / 51 "states". Of Carter's 7 states from 1980, 5 were minority wins.
1976 Carter 50.08%
D +2.06%
MS (49.56%), WI (49.50%), OH (48.92%) OK (49.96%), IA (49.47%), CA (49.35%), VA (49.29%), ME (48.91%), OR (47.78%) 0 9 / 51 "states".
1972 Nixon 60.67%
R +23.15%
0 0 0 0 / 51 "states". There were no minority wins. Every Nixon and every McGovern win was a majority win.
1968 Nixon 43.42%
R +0.70%
OR (49.83%), WI (47.89%), CA (47.82%), OK (47.68%), NV (47.46%), IL (47.08%), NJ (46.10%), AK (45.28%), OH (45.23%), DE (45.12%), MO (44.87%), KY (43.79%), VA (43.36%), FL (40.53%), NC (39.51%), SC (38.09%), TN (37.85) NY (49.76%), WV (49.60%), CT (49.48%), MI (48.18%), PA (47.59%), WA (47.23%), MD (41.94%), TX (39.87%) LA (48.32%), GA (42.83%), AR (38.65%) 28 / 51 "states". One of the few times in history where a 3rd party won electoral votes, and 3 of Wallace's (I) 5 states were minority wins.
1964 Johnson 61.04%
D +22.58%
0 0 0 0 / 51 "states". There were no minority wins. Every Johnson and every Goldwater win was a majority win. Highest winning percentage in our history, 5th highest winning percentage margin, after 1920, 1924, 1936 and 1972.
1960 Kennedy 49.72%
D +0.16%
IL (49.98%), NJ (48.96%) 0 0 1 / 50 states.
1956 Eisenhower 57.37%
R +15.40%
SC (45.37% - against "unpledged") TN (49.21%) 0 2 / 48 states.
1952 Eisenhower 55.18%
R +10.85%
KY (49.91%) TN (49.99%) 0 2 / 48 states.
1948 Truman 49.55%
D +4.48%
ID (49.98%), OH (49.48%), TN (48.14%), FL (48.82%), VA (47.89%), CA (47.57%) OR (49.78%), IN (49.58%), CT (49.55%), MD (49.40%), MI (49.23%), NY (45.99%) LA (49.07%) 13 / 48 states. One of the few times in history where a 3rd party won electoral votes, and 1 of Thurmond's (I) 4 states were minority wins.
1944 FDR 53.39%
D +7.49%
0 0 0 0 / 48 states. There were no minority wins. Every FDR and every Dewey win was a majority win.
1940 FDR 54.74%
D +9.95%
0 MI (49.85%) 0 1 / 48 states. There were no minority wins for FDR.
1936 FDR 60.80%
D +24.25%
NH (49.73%) 0 0 1 / 48 states. There were no minority wins for Landon (he won only two states).
1932 FDR 57.41%
D +17.76%
OH (49.88%), NJ (49.49%) CT (48.54%) 0 3 / 48 states.
1928 Hoover 58.21%
R +17.42%
NY (49.79%) 0 0 1 / 48 states. There were no minority wins for Smith.
1924 Coolidge 54.04%
R +25.22%
SD (49.69%), MO (49.58%), WV (49.45%), UT (49.26%), KY (48.93%), NM (48.52%), ND (47.68%), ID (47.12%), NE (47.09%), MD (45.29%), MT (42.50%), NV (41.76%), AZ (41.26%) OK (48.41%) 0 14 / 48 states. 2nd largest winning percentage margin in our history, after 1920. There was a 3rd party candidate, Robert LaFollette, who won WI, but it was a majority win.
1920 Harding 60.32%
R +26.17%
0 KY (49.69%) 0 1 / 48 states. Largest winning percentage margin in our history, 4th highest winning percentage.
1916 Wilson 49.24%
D +3.12%
KS (49.95%), NH (49.12%), WA (48.13%), ND (47.84%), CA (46.65%) SD (49.80%), CT (49.80%), WI (49.39%), WV (49.38%), OR (48.47%), IN (48.44%), MN (46.35%) 0 12 / 48 states. You are not seeing double: Charles Hughes really did win both SD and CT with exactly 49.80% of the PV in both cases. This is an electoral rarity. See: 2000. Wilson's and Clinton's 2nd term percentages are nearly identical to each other.
1912 Wilson 41.84%
D +14.44% (over Roosevelt) /D +18.67 (over Taft)
MD (48.57%), KY (48.48%), MO (47.35%), OK (46.95%), DE (46.48%), NE (43.69%), AZ (43.52%), IN (43.07%), CO (42.80%), WV (42.11%), NM (41.39%), NY (41.27%), NJ (41.20%), WI (41.06%), OH (40.96%), NV (39.70%), NH (39.48%), ME (39.43%), KS (39.30%), CT (39.16%), RI, (39.04%), IA (37.64%), WY (36.20%), MA (35.53%), IL (35.34%), MT (35.00%), OR (34.14%), ND (34.00%), ID (32.08%) UT (37.46%), VT (37.13%) CA (41.83%), MI (38.95%), MN (37.66%), PA (36.53%), WA (35.22%) 36 / 48 states. See: 1992, but in this case, the 3rd party became the 2nd party. 5 of Roosevelt's (I) 6 wins were minority wins. Taft won only two states, and both of them were minority wins. New Mexico and Arizona joined the Electoral College, bringing the Union to 48 states. William Jennings Bryan's (D) third attempt at the Presidency.
1908 Taft 51.57%
R +8.53%
KY (49.74%), NE (49.14%), CO (48.00), OK (47.99%), NV (45.71%) MD (48.85%), MO (48.50%), IN (48.40%), MT (46.98%)

9 / 46 states. Oklahoma joins the Electoral College.
1904 Roosevelt 56.42%
R +18.83%
KY (49.82%) MO (49.93%), MD (48.83%)

3 / 45 states.
1900 McKinley 51.64%
R +6.13%
0 0 0 0 / 45 states. There were no minority wins. Every McKinley and every Bryan win was a majority win.
1896 McKinley 51.02%
R +4.31%
SD (49.70%) CA (49.16%), KY (48.93%) 0 3 / 45 states. Utah joins the Electoral College
1892 Cleveland 46.02%
D +3.01%
DE (49.90%), MO (49.56%), WV (49.37%), NY (48.99%), IL (48.79%), WI (47.72%), IN (47.46%), NC (47.44%) , CA (43.83%), IA (49.60%), SD (49.48%), MI (47.79%), OH (47.66%), MN (45.96%), OR (44.59%), NE (43.56%), MT (42.44%), WA (41.45%) ND (49.01%) 19 / 44 states. One of the few times in history where a 3rd party won electoral votes, and 1 of Weaver's (I) 5 states were minority wins. Washington State, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and both Dakotas join the electoral college.
1888 Cleveland 48.63%
D +0.83%
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Harrison 233 EV
VA (49.99%), NJ (49.87%), WV (49.35%), CT (48.66%) WI (49.79%) MI (49.73%), CA (49.66%), IL (49.54%), OH (49.51%), NY (49.28%), IN (49.05%) 0 11 / 38 states. Third electoral backfire in history, after 1824, 1876.
1884 Cleveland 48.85%
D +0.57%
IN (49.46%), NJ (48.98%), CT (48.95%) NY (49.25%) MI (48.02%) 0 5 / 38 states.
1880 Garfield 48.31%
R +0.10%
NJ (49.84), CA (48.98%). IN (49.33%) 0 3 / 38 states. Closest election in our history, by percentage margin.
1876 Tilden 50.92%
D +3.00%
--------------------
Hayes 185 EV
IN (48.65%) 0 0 1 / 38 states. 2nd electoral backfire in our history, after 1824, but the most lopsided one. Colorado entered the Electoral College but did not cast its electors per results of the popular vote.
1872 Grant 55.58%
R +11.80%
0 0 0 0 / 37 states. There were no minority wins. Every Grant and every Greeley win was a majority win. Mississippi, Texas and Virginia rejoined the Electoral College. Nebraska was added to the Electoral College.
1868 Grant 52.66%
R +5.33%
0 0 0 0 / 33 states. There were no minority wins. Every Grant and every Seymour win was a majority win. 8 states from the former Confederacy rejoined the Electoral College: Alabama, Arkansas, (Florida), Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennesseee.
1864 Lincoln 55.03%
R +10.08%
0 0 0 0 / 25 states. There were no minority wins. Every Lincoln and every McClellan win was a majority win. The Confederate States of course did not participate in the Electoral College in 1864, but Kansas, Nevada and West Virginia were added to the Electoral College.
1860 Lincoln 39.65%
R +10.13%
MO (35.52%) OR (36.20%), CA (32.22%) GA (48.89%), MD (45.93%), DE (45.54%), LA (44.90%) // TN (47.72%), KY (45.18%), VA (44.63%) 10 / 33 states. Oregon and Minnesota join the electoral college. 4 man race: only 2 of Lincoln's 17 wins were minority wins. Douglas (D) won only one state, Missouri, in a minority win. Breckenridge (Southern Democrat) became the second party in 1860. 4 of his 10 states were minority wins. Bell (Consitution Party) won 3 states, all minority wins.
1856 Buchanan 45.29%
D +12.20%
CA (48.38%), NJ (47.23%) IA (48.83%), OH (48.51%), NY (46.27%) 0 5 / 31 states. South Carolina did not participate in the Electoral College in 1856. Millard Fillmore ran as a third party candidate and won Maryland, but it was a majority win.












Year National %, %Margin Minority wins ("DEM") Minority wins (Whig) Minority wins (IND) Notes
1852 Pierce 50.83%
D +6.95%
DE (49.85%), CT (49.79%), OH (47.83%), MA (41.45%) 0 4 / 31 states. California joined the Electoral College. Minor third party challenge from Scott Hale (Free Soil), who got 4.93%, but we was on the ballot in only 19 states. He was NOT on the ballot in the South + Maryland. He was not a spoiler, but he helped to cause a very lopsided EC win for Pierce, 254-42. Scott only won 4 states. This was the last election cycle where the "Whig" party was on the ballot.
1848 Taylor 47.28%
Whig + 4.79%
IN (48.93%), MI (47.24%), OH (47.12%), ME (45.87%), IL (44.91%) CT (48.59%), VT (48.27%), NY (47.94%), MA (45.32%) 0 9 / 30 states. 4 states are added to the Electoral College: Iowa and Wisconsin in the North, and Texas and Florida in the South. Van Buren, who won in 1840 and was defeated in 1844, came back as a third party (Free Soil) candidate for a rematch and got 10.13% of the NPV, but won no states. He also did not play "spoiler" in any big states. Cass swept Texas with 70.29% of the PV.
1844 Polk 49.54%
D +1.46%
MI (49.75%), NY (48.90%) OH (49.68%) 0 3 / 26 states. There were no minority wins. Clay (yes, the same Clay from 1832) lost narrowly. Minor third party candidate - James Birney (Liberty Party) scored only 2.30% of NPV, but he made New York and Ohio very, very close. Had he not been on the ballot, then Clay probably would have won New York and therefore the Electoral College, 141 to 134.
1840 Harrison 52.87%
Whig +16.05%
0
0 (PA 50.00% - 49.88% - 0.12%)
0 0 / 26 states. There were no minority wins. Every Harrison and every Van Buren win was a majority win. Harrison wins EXACTLY the same percentage of the popular vote in 1840 as does Barack Obama in 2008 (52.87%).
1836 Van Buren 50.79%
D +14.20%
0 0 0 0 / 26 states. There were no minority wins. Every Van Buren, Harrison and every White win was a majority win. The only three-man race in history where the national winner scored a majority win nationally. Michigan and Arkansas join the Electoral College with equal electoral vote strength, 3 EV a piece.
1832 Jackson 54.74%
D +17.81%
0 0 0 0 / 24 states. There were no minority wins. Every Jackson and every Clay win was a majority win. Delaware moves to popular vote method. Only South Carolina remains with the old method. Jackson wins EXACTLY the same percentage of the popular vote in 1832 as does FDR in 1940.
1828 Jackson 55.93%
D +12.26%
0 0 0 0 / 24 states. There were no minority wins. Every Jackson and every Adams win was a majority win. Georgia, Louisiana, New York and Vermont move to popular vote method. Only Delaware and South Carolina abstain and still cast electors using the old method.
1824 Jackson 40.36%
"D-R" +10.44%
--------------------
J.Q. Adams 13 HV
IN (46.61%) MD (44.05%), IL (32.46%) OH (38.49%) 4 / 24 states: see note under table.

Special note over 1824: 1824 was the first year in which the popular vote was part of the national election. At that time, there were 24 states in the Union (Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Lousiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia) but not all moved to the popular vote year. Six state did not; they are bolded in the list above. Because of the "Missouri Compromise" of 1820, caused by the divisive issue of slavery, the addition of new states to the Union became a much more ardous task. In 1824, there were 4 candidates, all under the party name "Democratic-Republican". In the Popular Vote debut in that year, Andrew Jackson won a plurality of the PV, with 151,363 votes out of the national total of 365,928 votes cast and recorded. To give us some perspective as to how tiny this vote is in comparison to our times, that is slightly more than the total votes cast in South Daktoa in 2012 (363,815) and somewhat less votes than cast in Delaware in 2012 (314,890). So, in terms of 2012, the total national vote from 1824 had the electoral power of a state from today with just THREE electoral votes. Food for thought. All four of those candidates won electoral votes and Andrew Jackson had an EV plurality, with 99 EV, but not a majority, so the election was thrown to the US House of Representatives, which, using the Unit Rule and 13 of 24 state votes, awarded the presidency to John Quincy Adams. This infuriated Jackson, who came back 4 years later and crushed Adams in the election of 1828.

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What does a complete lack of minority wins or just a very few minority wins mean?

In the case of a few, it can indicate a massive landslide where one party suffered such a humiliating loss that the few states it won were even minority wins. This is usually - but not always - coupled with a 3-man race.

1912, in the case of William Howard Taft (R-Inc) is an outstanding case. In the contentious election of 1912, where former (and still very popular) president Teddy Roosevelt reappeared as a third party (Bull-Moose) candidate and actually relegated the GOP to third party status for one cycle, Taft only won 2 states: UT and VT. Both were minority wins.

In 1936, FDR picked-up New Hampshire, but it was a minority win. Because of this, the Granite State has only the third longest GOP voting record in history, next to Vermont and Maine. In that year, the GOP only retained two states: Maine and Vermont (both majority wins)

Sometimes, extenuating circumstances cause a minority win. In 1928, in spite of a massive national landslide, Herbert Hoover just barely carried the enormous electoral prize of New York, with 49.79%. Why? Because Al Smith, the Democratic candidate, was the first Catholic ever to be nominated for President by a major party and New York was - at that time - a very heavily Catholic state (actually, it still is, but less so).

Sometimes, a third party candidate can really mix it up. We already see from 1912 that the three man race caused 36 of 48 states to be minority wins, only to topped by the Ross Perot (I) candidacy of 1992, which lead to an astounding 49 minority state wins.

Sometimes, extreme dissatisfaction in just one state can lead to a wildly low minority win. In 1980, Ronald Reagan captured the Democratic bulwark state of Massachusetts with just 41.90%. How did he do this in the only state outside of DC that did not go for Nixon back in 1972? Well, Teddy Kennedy, from Massachusetts, liberal Lion of the US Senate, challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980 and lost - narrowly - and the Democratic electorate from Massachusetts did not forget this. In 1980, John Anderson (I) got 15.15% in the Bay State. John Anderson was a very right-wing, libertarian leaning candidate who only got 6.61% nationally, but his best percentage was in, you guessed it: Massachusetts. In other words, Massachusettians were extemely hacked-off that their man did not get the nomination and they turned against a president from their own party.

In the same election, Reagan had a number of minority wins in deep Southern states that were going through a transition in the phase that we now commonly call the "Reagan Revolution".

Sometimes, a "one-note Johnny" third party candidate comes along, like Robert LaFollette (I) who carried his home state of Wisconsin in 1924 and got 16.61% nationally, causing all sorts of interesting minority wins on both sides for the major parties. It also caused the second largest national percentage margin in our history (Coolidge +25.22%, in spite of the fact that Coolidge only got around 54% of the NPV.

Sometimes, a very lean minority win shows a battleground state of that time or a state that can only be won by an incredibly popular incumbent from the other party. Such is the case with Tennessee, which was a very lean Eisenhower minority win in both 1952 and 1956.

You would think that the winner with the absolute largest percentage margin in our history (Harding +26.17%, 1920) would have no minority wins, but in 1920 he just barely won KY, with 49.69%. This shows how deeply connected KY was to the Deep South at that time.

Sometimes, a minority party that is turning the tide and moving back into a winning position, has some minority wins. Wendell Willkie (R) did not win in 1940 against FDR in his historic third election, but he did peel off 8 states that FDR won in 1936, including a narrow upper minority win in Michigan.

You may notice with surprise that the closest election in our memory (1960, Kennedy +0.16% over Nixon, the second closest election overall, after 1880) had only two state minority wins.

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FACIT: a minority win does not make a national election or a state election any less legitimate, but it can tells us some about the trend of a state. And knowing the specific history of an election where minority wins appear helps to build context. Just one or a  complete lack of minority wins on both sides, regardless of the size of the national margin, can only mean that both sides were extremely hardened going into the election, which we certainly saw in 2012.

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