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Historical Popular Vote Maps
October 27, 2008 1:42 PM   Subscribe


 
Warning: scrolls sideways.
posted by interrobang at 1:44 PM on October 27, 2008


The best thing about that site is that it reminded me that Thomas Jefferson's 1804 running mate was George Clinton. No wonder he dissolved Parliament.
posted by googly at 1:53 PM on October 27, 2008 [8 favorites]


See also.
posted by gubo at 1:55 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


In the 1960 election, the Democrats took Texas and the Republicans took California!
posted by vacapinta at 1:57 PM on October 27, 2008


In the 1960 election, the Democrats took Texas and the Republicans took California!

And then the Civil Rights Movement occurred.
posted by flarbuse at 2:01 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't believe Zack Taylor lost Hawaii!
posted by mattbucher at 2:05 PM on October 27, 2008


Holy crap I'm ignorant of history.
posted by Shutter at 2:08 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I also like this one: Atlas of Presidential Elections
posted by Capt Jingo at 2:10 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's super weird to see such a young picture of Strom Thurmond running against Dewey and Truman.
posted by piratebowling at 2:11 PM on October 27, 2008


It's funny to look back on a time when CA had half the votes of MO (1868).
posted by rmless at 2:15 PM on October 27, 2008


I had no idea so many elections have been complete blowouts. Makes you realize how odd the past couple have been.
posted by jpdoane at 2:19 PM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see an addition of the parties' position on the popular political issues of the period.
posted by Science! at 2:25 PM on October 27, 2008


I am betting Henry Clay didn't kiss many babies campaigning in 1844.
posted by lee at 2:28 PM on October 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Interesting to see the number of voters each election.
It doesn't always go up as I would have expected it to.
1976 had 80 million voters but in 1980 it dropped to 79 million.
1992 had 103 million but 1996 dropped way down to 86 million.
Probably because Clinton was the inevitable winner before the election started.
But in 2000 it was 101.5 million, yet 2004 had a whopping 121 million.

Will we reach 130 million voters this time?
Stay tuned.
posted by Rashomon at 2:29 PM on October 27, 2008


To this day, I'm still astounded that this country was ever unified enough to have someone run *unopposed* for the highest office in the land.
posted by absalom at 2:42 PM on October 27, 2008


So.... basically, this guy took all the election maps from Wikipedia and pasted them onto a harder-to-read web page?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:48 PM on October 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


To this day, I'm still astounded that this country was ever unified enough to have someone run *unopposed* for the highest office in the land.

Are you referring to Mondale?
posted by mattbucher at 2:58 PM on October 27, 2008


Wow, Nixon in 1972.

It's amazing how he swept the whole country when nobody voted for him
posted by rokusan at 2:59 PM on October 27, 2008


I remember hearing a story that not too long ago (within the last 30 years), there had been no consensus on what colour news networks would colour the map - no blue for dems/red for repubs.

Is this true? What might I be confusing it with?
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:01 PM on October 27, 2008


To this day, I'm still astounded that this country was ever unified enough to have someone run *unopposed* for the highest office in the land.

It happened three times. The first two times that Washington ran for office, in 1789 and 1792, he ran unopposed. Then, in 1820, James Monroe ran effectively unopposed after the collapse of the opposing Federalist party.
posted by thewittyname at 3:02 PM on October 27, 2008


I remember hearing a story that not too long ago (within the last 30 years), there had been no consensus on what colour news networks would colour the map

Much more recent. Clinton was red, for crying out loud.

It only solidified around blue = Democrats and red = Republicans in the 2000 election, and you can thank David Letterman for that.
posted by rokusan at 3:04 PM on October 27, 2008


I had heard Red used to be challenger, Blue incumbent and 2000 solidified that scheme in our mind for us, but at red= republicans, blue = democrats. However, I guess it's a bit more complicated.
posted by piratebowling at 3:47 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember hearing a story that not too long ago (within the last 30 years), there had been no consensus on what colour news networks would colour the map

Safire's Political Dictionary (2008) says the use of red state/blue state is Tim Russert's fault: "The present color code is relatively new, however... Those colors switched parties throughout the 90's, depending on media preference, but became firmly fixed in the 2000 Bush-Gore election. On NBC's Today Show during the week before the election, Meet the Press moderator-interviewer Tim Russert led host Matt Lauer through a potential political alignment of the states, based on a graphic first used on the cable network MSNBC. Russert asked himself aloud how George W. Bush would "get the remaining 61 electoral 'red states', if you will?"

Most of us willed. On election night, the lexicographer, present with Russert in the NBC studio as an analyst, noticed the frequent use of 'red state' and 'blue state' to substitute for the party names..."

The Montreal Gazette also wondered why blue is for the party of the left, when the left has traditionally been red.
posted by milkrate at 3:54 PM on October 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks, all! My father once told me the story, and I knew he was either correct (being a polisci prof, one would hope he'd know this) or yanking my chain. Never bothered to check which.

This is interesting: According to the Constitution, the casting of ballots by the Electoral College had to take place on a single day, and federal statute had set that day to be December 4, 1816. Taylor thus contended that the electoral votes had been cast by the Territory of Indiana, not the State of Indiana, and were thus void..

So territories, not being states, had no representation. This puts a lot of the context of D.C., Guam, etc. into context. Also in that election, wiki mentions that half of the states had Electors appointed by the state legislature. Very direct-democracy in a way - the people choose the state legislators, who then choose the Feds. Doesn't play nice with the States' Rights deal that would come later.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:30 PM on October 27, 2008


Safire's Political Dictionary (2008)

I copyedited that book; he thanks me very generously in the preface.

posted by languagehat at 4:34 PM on October 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Interesting to see that in the first three elections the VP was the leader of the opposition party. (Or maybe I'm a blind canadian who doesn't know the difference between a dem-rep and a federalist?)
posted by sunshinesky at 4:54 PM on October 27, 2008


That would be because before one of the early amendments, that was how the VP was selected, basically they guy who lost. Upon brief research, it's more complicated than that, but it's how it ended up working.
posted by ericales at 4:58 PM on October 27, 2008


neat-o.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:31 PM on October 27, 2008


he thanks me very generously in the preface.

I will heartily recommend the prolegomenon. The book is one of my favorite companions for watching political debates or campaign coverage.

posted by milkrate at 8:39 PM on October 27, 2008


What a wonderful, fascinating accumulation of maps (even if it does go sideways). How amazing to see that the Progressives used to occasionally win a state 80—100 years ago; incredible, too, that Taft won 321 electoral votes (and the presidency) in 1908, then four years later could only get 8, when he came in third (another ex-President, Teddy Roosevelt, beat him for 2nd place behind Woodrow Wilson).

And talk about blowouts — the other Roosevelt, FDR, had an amazing total of electoral votes for his four elections: 1876 for him, 248 for his opponents, or 88+% of the total.

Elections would be more meaningful, though, if the red/blue winner-take-all electoral vote idea was put to sleep. Some possible alternatives...
posted by LeLiLo at 9:43 PM on October 27, 2008


This is fascinating, thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:55 PM on October 27, 2008


why blue is for the party of the left, when the left has traditionally been red.

Although this "red state/blue state" designation is more recent, there was definitely a preference for red by actual Republicans going back at least to Reagan's habitual red "power ties", and I know that when Wisconsin was forced to caucus in 1984, the Mondale supporters in my auto-plant town almost all wore "union blue".

The networks did sometimes assign red to the Democrats on the maps (I don't know whether they each had a particular tradition, or flipped coins, or what), but it was still heavily in favor of blue, because of the implications of calling someone "red" in American politics.

So oddly enough, this is something that self-selected over time to become the opposite of the international standard.
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on October 28, 2008


I still say it's Letterman's fault. :)

In an interview yesterday, Russert disclaimed credit for coining the
red-state, blue-state distinction. “I’m sure I wasn’t the first to come up
with it,” he said. “But I will take credit for the white board,” Russert’s
signature, hands-on electoral vote tracker.

As the 2000 election became a 36-day recount debacle, the commentariat
magically reached consensus on the proper colors. Newspapers began
discussing the race in the larger, abstract context of red vs. blue. The
deal may have been sealed when Letterman suggested a week after the vote
that a compromise would “make George W. Bush president of the red states
and Al Gore head of the blue ones.”

posted by rokusan at 6:54 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


There have been quite a lot of landslides victories in the past. It is interesting to see with advances in media and keeping in touch with people how it effects the voting.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:08 AM on October 28, 2008


I was told a few years back that Vermont went Republican for president more than any other state, but this was the first time I found all the data in one place to make it easy to verify. Thanks for the link.
Vermont has gone Republican 33 times, more than Texas, Mississippi & Alabama combined, which wouldn't seem obvious if you were just looking at the last 20-30 years.

lelilo- I agree. I have been an advocate of the Congressional District Method, although the site you linked points out some of the drawbacks to that.
posted by MtDewd at 1:10 PM on October 28, 2008


MtDewd — times sure do change. These days VT isn't even blue enough for some people. They not only want to skip out on the electoral college, they'd prefer to leave the U.S. altogether.

Although it looks like the independence petition still needs another 97,500+ signatures, with only a week or so left until the deadline.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:36 PM on October 28, 2008


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