11 November 2012

The 2012 GE was not as close as people may think


It takes a little more than 2 months to get the final canvasses in, and in 2008, 5.7 million votes were added to the national total between 10/11/2008 and 01/04/2009 - so a complete analysis of the election is not really possible until then. But right now, it looks as if the 2012 Presidential election was not as close as people were led to believe. Currently at +2.65%(11/10/2012) in the national popular vote, Obama's re-election victory makes this election the 10th narrowest election in our history. If Obama's margin increases to at least +3.01, then it will become the 11th narrowest, and amazingly enough, if it increases to at least +3.02, then it will become the 12th narrowest election. Here is a table of the 15th narrowest election wins by popular vote margin percentage in our history:

(The values for 2012 are preliminary and are sure to change)

Rank
Year
DEM %
GOP %
Other %
Margin %
DEM EC / %
GOP EC / %
EC Margin / Margin %
NPV winner
EC winner
1
1880
48.22%
48.31%
3.47%
GOP +0.10%
155 / 42.0%
214 / 58.0%
GOP +59 / GOP +16.0%
Garfield
Garfield
2
1960
49.72%
49.55%
0.74%
DEM +0.16%
303 / 56.4%
219 / 40.8%
DEM + 84 / DEM +15.6%
Kennedy
Kennedy
3
2000
48.38%
47.87%
4.25%
DEM +0.52%
266 / 49.4%
271 / 50.4%
GOP +5 / GOP +1.0%
Gore
Bush, Jr.
4
1884
48.84%
48.25%
2.87%
DEM +0.57%
219 / 54.6%
182 / 45.4%
DEM + 37 / DEM +9.2%
Cleveland
Cleveland
5
1968
42.72%
43.42%
13.86%
GOP +0.70%
191 / 35.5%
301 / 55.9%
GOP +59 / GOP +20.4%
Nixon
Nixon
6
1888
48.63%
47.80%
3.57%
DEM +0.83%
168 / 41.9%
233 / 58.1%
GOP +5 / GOP +16.2%
Cleveland
Harrison
7
1844
49.54%
48.09%
2.37%
DEM +1.45%
170 / 61.8%
105 / 38.2%
DEM +65 / DEM +23.6%
Polk
Polk
8
1976
50.08%
48.02%
1.90%
DEM +2.06%
297 / 55.2%
240 / 44.6%
DEM + 57 / DEM +10.6%
Carter
Carter
9
2004
48.27%
50.73%
1.00%
GOP +2.46%
252 / 46.7%
286 / 53.2%
GOP +34 / GOP +6.5%
Bush
Bush
10
2012
50.53%
47.88%
1.59%
DEM +2.65%
332 / 61.7%
206 / 38.3%
DEM +126 / DEM +23.4%
Obama
Obama
11
1876
50.92%
47.92%
1.16%
DEM +3.00%
184 / 49.9%
185 / 50.1%
GOP +1 / GOP +0.2%
Tilden
Hayes
12
1892
46.02%
43.01%
10.97%
DEM +3.01%
277 / 62.4%
145 / 34.7%
DEM + 132/ DEM +27.7%
Cleveland
Cleveland
13
1916
49.24%
46.12%
4.64%
DEM +3.12%
277 / 52.2%
254 / 47.8%
DEM + 23 / DEM +27.7%
Wilson
Wilson
14
1896
46.71%
51.02%
2.27%
GOP +4.31%
176 / 39.4%
271 / 60.6%
GOP +95 / GOP +21.4%
McKinley
McKinley
15
1948
49.55%
45.07%
5.38%
DEM +4.48%
303 / 57.1%
189 / 35.6%
DEM + 114 / DEM +21.5%
Truman
Truman

No matter how you slice it, Obama's win in 2012 was still a larger win than the four other really close elections that our parent's generation (I am a child of the 1960s) remember, namely, 2004, 1968, 2000 and 1960.

In 2008, between election night and the final canvasses, Obama's margin grew from +6.1 to +7.26%, an increase of almost 1.2% in margin. His margin has already increased at least +0.4 over election night, so it is highly probable that President Obama will go over the +3 mark. Wait and see.

Of course, it would be stuff of history for electoral buffs like myself were Obama to hit +3.12% and match Woodrow Wilson's margin from 1916. Why? Because Woodrow Wilson was the last  President to be elected to a 2nd term with a lesser margin in both the popular vote and in the electoral college than his first term. But the comparison would end there, as Wilson went from a lopsided three-man race in 1908 to a tight two-man race in 1916, something that does not apply to Obama.

If the statistics hold (and they will), then Obama will be the first Democratic President to be re-elected with a majority (over 50.00%) of the popular vote since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944. Bill Clinton's wins in 1992 and 1996 were both minority wins.

And currently, in the popular vote, Mitt Romney is underperforming vis-a-vis John Kerry's statistics from 2004. In fact, the more the President moves upward to 51%, the more Romney is likely to move downward to - gasp - 47%. Poetic justice, poetic justice, considering Mitt Romney's now infamous "47%" comments.

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