U.S. presidential election

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of the United States United States presidential elections determine who serves as President and Vice President of the United States for four-year periods, starting on January 20 of the year after the election.

The most recent election occured on November 2, 2004. The next election is scheduled for November 4, 2008


How elections are administered

The election of the United States President is governed by Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution, as amended by Amendments XII, XXII, and XXIII. The President and Vice President are elected on the same ticket by the U.S. Electoral College, whose members are elected directly from each state; the President and Vice President serve four-year terms.

Elections take place every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November (although in many states early and absentee voting begins several weeks before Election Day).

See also: U.S. presidential election maps.

Presidential election trends

In recent decades, presidential nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties have all been either incumbent Presidents seeking a second term or sitting or former Vice Presidents, state Governors, or U.S. Senators. The last nominee from either party who had not previously served in such an office was General Dwight D. Eisenhower who won the Republican nomination and ultimately the presidency in the 1952 election.

Contemporary electoral success has perhaps favored state governors. Of the last five Presidents (Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush), only George H.W. Bush had never been Governor of a state. Geographically, these Presidents were all from either very large states (California, Texas) or from a state south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of Texas (Georgia, Arkansas). The last elected President from a northern state and sitting U.S. Senator elected President was John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1960.


Election year President Major Opponent(s)*
1789 election George Washington (not opposed)
1792 election George Washington (not opposed)
1796 election John Adams (Federalist) Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican)
1800 election Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) John Adams (Federalist)
1804 election Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (Federalist)
1808 election James Madison (Democratic-Republican) Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (Federalist)
1812 election James Madison (Democratic-Republican) DeWitt Clinton (Federalist/Peace)
1816 election James Monroe (Democratic-Republican) Rufus King (Federalist)
1820 election James Monroe (Democratic-Republican) (not opposed)
1824 election John Quincy Adams‡ (Democratic-Republican) Andrew Jackson‡ (Democratic-Republican)
William Harris Crawford (Democratic-Republican)
Henry Clay (Democratic-Republican)
1828 election Andrew Jackson (Democrat) John Quincy Adams (National Republican)
1832 election Andrew Jackson (Democrat) Henry Clay (National Republican)
William Wirt (Anti-Masonic)
John Floyd (Nullifiers)
1836 election Martin Van Buren (Democrat) William Henry Harrison (Whig)
Hugh Lawson White (Whig)
Daniel Webster (Whig)
Willie P. Mangum (A Whig, but votes received from Nullifiers)
1840 election William Henry Harrison (Whig) Martin Van Buren (Democrat)
1844 election James Knox Polk† (Democrat) Henry Clay (Whig)
James Gillespie Birney (Liberty Party)
1848 election Zachary Taylor (Whig) Lewis Cass (Democrat)
Martin Van Buren (Free Soil Party)
1852 election Franklin Pierce (Democratic) Winfield Scott (Whig)
John Parker Hale (Free Soil Party)
1856 election James Buchanan† (Democratic) John Charles Fremont (Republican)
Millard Fillmore (American Party/Whig)
1860 election Abraham Lincoln† (Republican) Stephen Arnold Douglas (Democrat (northern))
John Cabell Breckinridge (Democrat (southern))
John Bell (Constitutional Union (Whig))
1864 election Abraham Lincoln (Republican) George Brinton McClellan (Democrat)
1868 election Ulysses Simpson Grant (Republican) Horatio Seymour (Democrat)
1872 election Ulysses Simpson Grant (Republican) Horace Greeley (Democrat/Liberal Republican)
1876 election** Rutherford Birchard Hayes‡ (Republican) Samuel Jones Tilden‡ (Democrat)
1880 election James Abram Garfield† (Republican) Winfield Scott Hancock (Democrat)
James Baird Weaver (Greenback)
1884 election Stephen Grover Cleveland† (Democrat) James Gillespie Blaine (Republican)
Benjamin Franklin Butler (Greenback/Anti-Monopolist)
John Pierce St. John (Prohibition)
1888 election Benjamin Harrison‡ (Republican) Stephen Grover Cleveland‡ (Democrat)
Clinton Bowen Fisk (Prohibition)
Alson Jennes Streeter (Union Labor)
1892 election Stephen Grover Cleveland† (Democrat) Benjamin Harrison (Republican)
James Baird Weaver (Populist Party)
James Bidwell (Prohibition)
1896 election William McKinley (Republican) William Jennings Bryan (Democrat/Populist Party)
1900 election William McKinley (Republican) William Jennings Bryan (Democrat)
John Granville Woolley (Prohibition)
1904 election Theodore Roosevelt (Republican) Alton Brooks Parker (Democrat)
Eugene Victor Debs (Socialist)
Silas Comfort Swallow (Prohibition)
1908 election William Howard Taft (Republican) William Jennings Bryan (Democrat)
Eugene Victor Debs (Socialist)
Eugene Wilder Chafin (Prohibition)
1912 election Thomas Woodrow Wilson† (Democrat) Theodore Roosevelt (Progressive)
William Howard Taft (Republican)
Eugene Victor Debs (Socialist)
Eugene Wilder Chafin (Prohibition)
1916 election Thomas Woodrow Wilson† (Democrat) Charles Evans Hughes (Republican)
Allan Louis Benson (Socialist)
James Franklin Hanly (Prohibition)
1920 election Warren Gamaliel Harding (Republican) James Middleton Cox (Democrat)
Eugene Victor Debs (Socialist)
1924 election John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. (Republican) John William Davis (Democrat)
Robert Marion La Follette (Progressive/Socialist)
1928 election Herbert Clark Hoover (Republican) Alfred Emmanuel Smith (Democrat)
1932 election Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) Herbert Clark Hoover (Republican)
Norman Mattoon Thomas (Socialist)
1936 election Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) Alfred Mossman Landon (Republican)
William Frederick Lemke (Union)
1940 election Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) Wendell Lewis Willkie (Republican)
1944 election Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) Thomas Edmund Dewey (Republican)
1948 election Harry S. Truman† (Democrat) Thomas Edmund Dewey (Republican)
James Strom Thurmond (States' Rights Democratic)
Henry Agard Wallace (Progressive)
1952 election Dwight David Eisenhower (Republican) Adlai Ewing Stevenson III (Democrat)
1956 election Dwight David Eisenhower (Republican) Adlai Ewing Stevenson III (Democrat)
1960 election John Fitzgerald Kennedy† (Democrat) Richard Milhous Nixon (Republican)
1964 election Lyndon Baines Johnson (Democrat) Barry Morris Goldwater (Republican)
1968 election Richard Milhous Nixon† (Republican) Hubert Horatio Humphrey (Democrat)
George Corley Wallace (American Independent)
1972 election Richard Milhous Nixon (Republican) George Stanley McGovern (Democrat)
John George Schmitz (American)
1976 election James Earl Carter, Jr. (Democrat) Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (Republican)
1980 election Ronald Wilson Reagan (Republican) James Earl Carter, Jr. (Democrat)
John Bayard Anderson (Independent)
Edward Ellis Clark (Libertarian)
1984 election Ronald Wilson Reagan (Republican) Walter Frederick Mondale (Democrat)
1988 election George Herbert Walker Bush (Republican) Michael Stanley Dukakis (Democrat)
1992 election William Jefferson Clinton† (Democrat) George Herbert Walker Bush (Republican)
Henry Ross Perot (Independent)
1996 election William Jefferson Clinton† (Democrat) Robert Joseph Dole (Republican)
Henry Ross Perot (Reform)
2000 election George Walker Bush‡ (Republican) Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.‡ (Democrat)
Ralph Nader (Green)
2004 election George Walker Bush (Republican) John Forbes Kerry (Democrat)

* "Major Opponent" is defined as a candidate receiving greater than 1% of the total popular vote for elections including and after 1824, or greater than 5 electoral votes for elections including and before 1820. (This column may not be complete).

† Denotes a minority President—one receiving less than 50% of all popular votes.

‡ Denotes a (minority) President who did not receive a plurality of the popular votes and the opposing candidate who did.

** Denotes an election in which a losing candidate received an absolute majority of the popular votes.

Note: Presidents John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur and Gerald Ford served as president but never won an election for president; Ford was never elected vice-president. Tyler and Johnson never ran, not even as incumbents; Fillmore ran later, but not as an incumbent.

Voter turnout

Voter turnout in Presidential elections has been on the decline in recent years, although it bounced back sharply during the 2004 election from the 1996 and 2000 lows. While turnout has been decreasing, registration has been increasing. Registration rates varied from 65% to 70% of the voting age population from the 1960s to the 1980s, and due in part to greater government outreach programs, registration swelled to 75% in 1996 and 2000. Despite greater registration, however, turnout in general has not greatly improved, save the sharp bounce back in 2004.

Election Voting Age Population ¹ Turnout % Turnout of VAP
2004 ~217,800,000 ~122,293,278 55 to 60%
2000 205,815,000 105,586,274 51.30%
1996 196,511,000 96,456,345 49.08%
1992 189,529,000 104,405,155 55.09%
1988 182,778,000 91,594,693 50.11%
1984 174,466,000 92,652,680 53.11%
1980 164,597,000 86,515,221 52.56%
1976 152,309,190 81,555,789 53.55%
1972 140,776,000 77,718,554 55.21%
1968 120,328,186 73,211,875 60.84%
1964 114,090,000 70,644,592 61.92%
1960 109,159,000 68,838,204 63.06%

Sources: Federal Election Commission (http://www.fec.gov/pages/htmlto5.htm), Office of the Clerk (http://clerk.house.gov/members/electionInfo/elections.html), U.S. Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/voting.html)

¹ It should be noted that the voting age population includes all persons age 18 and over as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, which necessarily includes a significant number of persons ineligible to vote, such as non-citizens or felons. The actual number of eligible voters is somewhat lower, and the number of registered voters is lower still. The number of non-citizens in 1994 was approximately 13 million, and in 1996, felons numbered around 1.3 million, so it can be estimated that around 7-10% of the voting age population is ineligible to vote.

Note that the large drop in turnout between 1968 and 1972 can be attributed (at least in part) to the expansion of the franchise to 18 year olds (previous restricted to those 21 and older). The total number of voters grew, but so did the pool of eligible voters- so total percentage fell.

See also

External links


fr:lection prsidentielle aux tats-Unis d'Amrique ja:アメリカ合衆国大統領選挙 no:Presidentvalg (USA) pl:Wybory prezydenckie w USA (wyniki)


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