Let's Talk Sense...


Saturday, October 14, 2000 Volume XXV, No. 35
Roswell, New Mexico

In this issue:

Few Records Broken in 2000

Ronald Reagan will still be "The King"

Presidential Vote-Getting Prowess

With our projection of just over 48,000,000 votes going to the winner in the 2000 Presidential Election, we are saying it will be at least 2004 before Ronald Reagan's record 54,281,858 votes, set against Mondale in 1984, will be broken by a presidential candidate---if then.

While an admittedly obscure factoid, it is vaguely interesting to note that no presidential vote-getting record has ever lasted 20 years.

With the steady growth in population throughout our nation's history and the simultaneous growth in the electorate, it has been mathematically logical to expect that each new presidential election would present opportunities for new records to be set in vote-getting.

This has not always occurred of course, due to the relative disparity of conditions and turnout often observed from one presidential cycle to the next.

A lopsided contest can be followed by a tightly contested race in which the winner has no chance of reaching the level of the last president who won by an overwhelming margin.

Such was the case with Franklin D. Roosevelt's win over Alfred Landon in 1936. Roosevelt got nearly 28 million votes that year, but faced tougher races himself over the next two elections, garnering "only" 27.2 and 25.6 million votes respectively. He was followed by Truman who received 24.1 million votes in 1948. It took Dwight Eisenhower's total of just under 34 million to finally break the FDR mark of 16 years earlier.

Ike broke his own mark in 1956, and LBJ shattered it in 1964 with 43.1 million against Goldwater. Eight years later Nixon took 47.2 against McGovern. That record would stand for 12 years until Reagan set the current standard against Mondale in 1984.

Neither Bush nor Gore will come any closer than about 6 million votes to the Reagan mark. Thus, Reagan will have held the record for 20 years by the time of the next election---the longest streak in American presidential history.


Oddly enough, some of the statewide records are held by presidential candidates who ran decades ago.

The overall record in Iowa, for example, was set by Eisenhower in 1952. LBJ holds the Iowa Democrat record---and that was 36 years ago.

Why? Well in Iowa's case its population has stagnated. Population actually fell there between 1970 and 1990---falling sharply during the 80s. There may be 150,000 or so more people than they had 50 years ago, but turnout is at a lower percentage. Also, their Democrat and Republican camps have dug in, solidified, and have become less volatile in the potential swing from cycle to cycle.

Neither Bush nor Gore will come anywhere close to breaking their respective party records in Iowa in 2000. Similar observations can be made in a number of states.

The East

We see no state in which a new record will be set, either overall or for one of the parties.

Reagan holds four state records in the East. LBJ still holds the all-time records in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Bush holds the record in New Hampshire. Clinton is the all-time winner in only Maryland and Vermont.

The South

Two new statewide records will likely be set in the South. Bush will likely shatter the previous Georgia record and just barely set a new mark in North Carolina. Oddly enough, Al Gore has a great chance of setting new Democrat highs everywhere except Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana----even though we see him losing in every single state in the region.

Reagan holds the all-time records in 10 of the 11 states. Bush set the Georgia record in 1988.

The West

George W. has a great opportunity to break four all-time records in the West: Alaska, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. Gore will set new Democrat highs in Oklahoma, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Idaho, we think---again while losing ALL of them.

Remarkably, the oldest records in the country will still be safe. Franklin D. Roosevelt, if you can believe it, holds the records for most votes by any Democrat in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Gore will not come close to those records in any of those three states----68 years and counting. FDR's 64-year old record in Kansas should also stand the test of time yet again.

Reagan currently holds the records in 12 of the 15 states in the region. Bush set the high marks in Arizona and Nevada, while the 1952 Eisenhower race still holds the all-time record in South Dakota.

The Pacific

Look for Gore to break Ronald Reagan's all-time records in California and Oregon, but fall short of new highs in Washington and barely miss in Hawaii.

Bush will not set any new Republican records.

Clinton set the current marks in Washington and Hawaii.

The Midwest

No new records for Bush. Gore could barely pass the Clinton record established in Minnesota and the Dukakis mark in Wisconsin.

Reagan holds the records in Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan, Johnson is still the top vote-getter in Illinois. Nixon is the all-time winner in Indiana. Eisenhower holds the Iowa mark.