How Big Was Trumps Loss Really? A Short List of Interesting Facts About US Presidential Elections

We had a number of people inquire about how large former President Trumps margin of defeat really was.  We know the number is near 6.9 million votes in total but because of population growth, that really provides very little context.

So we decided to do some research and here is what we found.


Top 10 Smallest Margins of Victory in a US Presidential Election:

 

By Popular Vote Percentage:

The most rational way to evaluate how strong a vote is use ‘vote to population’ percentage.  As you can see in the first table, Biden came in as the 14th least supported President in US History but he did better than Trump (2016), Bush (2004), Bush (2000), Carter (1976), Nixon (1968) and Kennedy (1960).

In fact if you consider only the 19 elections after World War II, Bidens support in the general population comes in at very high number 7.  He is in the top 40% of all Presidents in the modern era.

“… Biden Won — Pretty Convincingly In The End

…It’s not a landslide, by any means, but this is a map that almost any Democrat would have been thrilled about if you’d shown it to them a year ago.

…Extrapolating out from current vote totals, I project Biden winning the popular vote by 4.3 percentage points and getting 81.8 million votes to President Trump’s 74.9 million, with a turnout of around 160 million. This is significant because no candidate has ever received 70 million votes in an election — former President Barack Obama came the closest in 2008, with 69.5 million votes — let alone 80 million.” SOURCE

 

Year Candidate Party Popular vote Margin %  Popular vote Margin  Loser
1 1824 John Quincy Adams D.-R. -10.40% -38,221 Andrew Jackson
2 1876 Rutherford Hayes Rep. -3.00% -252,666 Samuel Tilden
3 2016 Donald Trump Rep. -2.10% -2,868,686 Hillary Clinton
4 1888 Benjamin Harrison Rep. -0.80% -90,596 Grover Cleveland
5 2000 George W. Bush Rep. -0.50% -543,816 Al Gore
6 1880 James Garfield Rep. 0.10% 1,898 Winfield Scott Hancock
7 1960 John F. Kennedy Dem. 0.20% 112,827 Richard Nixon
8 1884 Grover Cleveland Dem. 0.60% 57,579 James Blaine
9 1968 Richard Nixon Rep. 0.70% 511,944 Hubert Humphrey
10 1844 James Polk Dem. 1.50% 39,413 Henry Clay
14 2020 Joe Biden Dem. 2.90% 6,900,000 Donald J. Trump

 

By Popular Vote Total:

By votes, Biden is number 47 out of 59 elections making his popularity far more than average for a winning candidate:

Election # Year Candidate Party Popular vote % Popular vote Margin % Popular vote Margin Loser
1 2016 Donald J. Trump Rep. 46.10% -2.10% -2,868,686 Hillary Clinton
2 2000 George W. Bush Rep. 47.90% -0.50% -543,816 Al Gore
3 1876 Rutherford Hayes Rep. 47.90% -3.00% -252,666 Samuel Tilden
4 1888 Benjamin Harrison Rep. 47.80% -0.80% -90,596 Grover Cleveland
5 1824 John Quincy Adams D.-R. 30.90% -10.40% -38,221 Andrew Jackson
6 1880 James Garfield Rep. 48.30% 0.10% 1,898 Winfield Hancock
7 1796 John Adams Fed. 53.50% 6.90% 4,611 Thomas Jefferson
8 1812 James Madison D.-R. 50.40% 2.70% 7,650 DeWitt Clinton
9 1800 Thomas Jefferson D.-R. 61.40% 22.90% 15,378 Aaron Burr
10 1792 George Washington Ind. 100% 100% 28,579 No candidate
47 2020 Joe Biden Dem. 50.60% 2.90% 6,900,000 Donald J. Trump

By Electoral College:

Biden’s win over Trump was the 8th smallest win by Electoral College votes:

Smallest Victory College Election # Year Candidate Party Electoral College Votes Electoral College % Loser
1 10 1824 John Quincy Adams D.-R. 84/261 32.20% Andrew Jackson
2 23 1876 Rutherford Hayes Rep. 185/369 50.10% Samuel Tilden
3 54 2000 George W. Bush Rep. 271/538 50.40% Al Gore
4 3 1796 John Adams Fed. 71/138 51.50% Thomas Jefferson
5 33 1916 Woodrow Wilson Dem. 277/531 52.20% Charles Hughes
6 4 1800 Thomas Jefferson D.-R. 73/138 52.90% Aaron Burr
7 55 2004 George W. Bush Rep. 286/538 53.20% John Kerry
8 59 2020 Joe Biden Dem. 290/538 53.90% Donald J. Trump
9 25 1884 Grover Cleveland Dem. 219/401 54.60% James Blaine
10 48 1976 Jimmy Carter Dem. 297/538 55.20% Gerald Ford

 

Least Voter Support For a US President Since WWII

# Year Candidate Party Electoral College % Popular vote % Popular vote Margin % Popular vote Margin Loser
1 2016 Donald Trump Rep. 56.50% 46.10% -2.10% -2868686 Hillary Clinton
2 2000 George W. Bush Rep. 50.40% 47.90% -0.50% -543816 Al Gore
3 1960 John F. Kennedy Dem. 56.40% 49.70% 0.20% 112827 Richard Nixon
4 1968 Richard Nixon Rep. 56.00% 43.40% 0.70% 511944 Hubert Humphrey
5 1976 Jimmy Carter Dem. 55.20% 50.10% 2.10% 1683247 Gerald Ford
6 2004 George W. Bush Rep. 53.20% 50.70% 2.50% 3012171 John Kerry
7 2020 Joe Biden Dem. 53.90% 50.60% 2.90% 6900000 Donald J. Trump
8 2012 Barack Obama Dem. 61.70% 51.10% 3.90% 4982291 Mitt Romney
9 1948 Harry Truman Dem. 57.10% 49.60% 4.50% 2188055 Thomas Dewey
10 1992 Bill Clinton Dem. 68.80% 43.00% 5.60% 5805256 George H. W. Bush
11 2008 Barack Obama Dem. 67.80% 52.90% 7.30% 9550193 John McCain
12 1988 George H. W. Bush Rep. 79.20% 53.40% 7.70% 7077121 Michael Dukakis
13 1996 Bill Clinton Dem. 70.50% 49.20% 8.50% 8201370 Bob Dole
14 1980 Ronald Reagan Rep. 90.90% 50.80% 9.70% 8423115 Jimmy Carter
15 1952 Dwight Eisenhower Rep. 83.20% 55.20% 10.90% 6700439 Adlai Stevenson
16 1956 Dwight Eisenhower Rep. 86.10% 57.40% 15.40% 9551152 Adlai Stevenson
17 1984 Ronald Reagan Rep. 97.60% 58.80% 18.20% 16878120 Walter Mondale
18 1964 Lyndon Johnson Dem. 90.30% 61.10% 22.60% 15951287 Barry Goldwater
19 1972 Richard Nixon Rep. 96.70% 60.70% 23.20% 17995488 George McGovern

Number of Vice Presidents that became US Presidents:

For those who think President Biden is likely to have Vice President Kamala Harris replace him at some point this short 90 second clip does a great job of explaining the history of VP’s becoming POTUS’:

 


List of Presidents that Refused To Concede Defeat

While we think that it is very unlikely President Trump will leave office as badly as some pundits are predicting.  However he is currently making it clear that he will not concede and if he does not, he will be first President in US History to do so:

# Year Candidate Party Voter Turnout Electoral College Votes Electoral College % Popular vote % Popular vote Margin % Popular vote Votes Popular vote Margin Loser
1 59 2020 Joe Biden Dem. 66.9% 290/538 53.9% 50.6% 2.9%                   81,800,000 6,900,000 Donald J. Trump

 


Complete List of US Presidential Election Results:

In case you wanted some additional detail, here is the list of results for all US Presidential elections:

# Year Candidate Party Voter Turnout Electoral College Votes Electoral College % Popular vote % Popular vote Margin %  Popular vote Votes   Popular vote Margin  Loser
1 1788 George Washington Ind. 11.6% 69/69 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%              43,782              43,782 No candidate
2 1792 George Washington Ind. 6.3% 132/132 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%              28,579              28,579 No candidate
3 1796 John Adams Fed. 20.1% 71/138 51.5% 53.5% 6.9%              35,726                 4,611 Thomas Jefferson
4 1800 Thomas Jefferson D.-R. 32.3% 73/138 52.9% 61.4% 22.9%              41,330              15,378 Aaron Burr
5 1804 Thomas Jefferson D.-R. 23.8% 162/176 92.1% 72.8% 45.6%            104,110              65,191 Charles C. Pinckney
6 1808 James Madison D.-R. 36.8% 122/175 69.7% 64.7% 32.3%            124,732              62,301 Charles C. Pinckney
7 1812 James Madison D.-R. 40.4% 128/217 59.0% 50.4% 2.7%            140,431                 7,650 DeWitt Clinton
8 1816 James Monroe D.-R. 23.5% 183/217 84.3% 68.2% 37.2%              76,592              41,852 Rufus King
9 1820 James Monroe D.-R. 10.1% 231/232 99.6% 80.6% 64.7%              87,343              69,878 John Quincy Adams
10 1824 John Quincy Adams D.-R. 26.9% 84/261 32.2% 30.9% -10.4%            113,142 –            38,221 Andrew Jackson
11 1828 Andrew Jackson Dem. 57.3% 178/261 68.2% 55.9% 12.3%            642,806            140,839 John Quincy Adams
12 1832 Andrew Jackson Dem. 57.0% 219/286 76.6% 54.7% 17.8%            702,735            228,628 Henry Clay
13 1836 Martin Van Buren Dem. 56.5% 170/294 57.8% 50.8% 14.2%            763,291            213,384 William Henry Harrison
14 1840 William Henry Harrison Whig 80.3% 234/294 79.6% 52.9% 6.1%        1,275,583            145,938 Martin Van Buren
15 1844 James Polk Dem. 79.2% 170/275 61.8% 49.5% 1.5%        1,339,570              39,413 Henry Clay
16 1848 Zachary Taylor Whig 72.8% 163/290 56.2% 47.3% 4.8%        1,360,235            137,882 Lewis Cass
17 1852 Franklin Pierce Dem. 69.5% 254/296 85.8% 50.8% 7.0%        1,605,943            219,525 Winfield Scott
18 1856 James Buchanan Dem. 79.4% 174/296 58.8% 45.3% 12.2%        1,835,140            494,472 John Frémont
19 1860 Abraham Lincoln Rep. 81.8% 180/303 59.4% 39.7% 10.1%        1,855,993            474,049 John Breckinridge
20 1864 Abraham Lincoln Rep. 76.3% 212/233 91.0% 55.0% 10.1%        2,211,317            405,090 George McClellan
21 1868 Ulysses Grant Rep. 80.9% 214/294 72.8% 52.7% 5.3%        3,013,790            304,810 Horatio Seymour
22 1872 Ulysses Grant Rep. 72.1% 286/352 81.3% 55.6% 11.8%        3,597,439            763,729 Thomas Hendricks
23 1876 Rutherford Hayes Rep. 82.6% 185/369 50.1% 47.9% -3.0%        4,034,142 –         252,666 Samuel Tilden
24 1880 James Garfield Rep. 80.5% 214/369 58.0% 48.3% 0.1%        4,453,337                 1,898 Winfield Scott Hancock
25 1884 Grover Cleveland Dem. 78.2% 219/401 54.6% 48.9% 0.6%        4,914,482              57,579 James Blaine
26 1888 Benjamin Harrison Rep. 80.5% 233/401 58.1% 47.8% -0.8%        5,443,892 –            90,596 Grover Cleveland
27 1892 Grover Cleveland Dem. 75.8% 277/444 62.4% 46.0% 3.0%        5,553,898            363,099 Benjamin Harrison
28 1896 William McKinley Rep. 79.6% 271/447 60.6% 51.0% 4.3%        7,112,138            601,331 William Jennings Bryan
29 1900 William McKinley Rep. 73.7% 292/447 65.2% 51.6% 6.1%        7,228,864            857,932 William Jennings Bryan
30 1904 Theodore Roosevelt Rep. 65.5% 336/476 70.6% 56.4% 18.8%        7,630,557        2,546,677 Alton Brooks Parker
31 1908 William Taft Rep. 65.7% 321/483 66.5% 51.6% 8.5%        7,678,335        1,269,356 William Jennings Bryan
32 1912 Woodrow Wilson Dem. 59.0% 435/531 81.9% 41.8% 14.4%        6,296,284        2,173,563 Theodore Roosevelt
33 1916 Woodrow Wilson Dem. 61.8% 277/531 52.2% 49.2% 3.1%        9,126,868            578,140 Charles Evans Hughes
34 1920 Warren Harding Rep. 49.2% 404/531 76.1% 60.3% 26.2%      16,144,093        7,004,432 James Cox
35 1924 Calvin Coolidge Rep. 48.9% 382/531 71.9% 54.0% 25.2%      15,723,789        7,337,547 John Davis
36 1928 Herbert Hoover Rep. 56.9% 444/531 83.6% 58.2% 17.4%      21,427,123        6,411,659 Al Smith
37 1932 Franklin Roosevelt Dem. 56.9% 472/531 88.9% 57.4% 17.8%      22,821,277        7,060,023 Herbert Hoover
38 1936 Franklin Roosevelt Dem. 61.0% 523/531 98.5% 60.8% 24.3%      27,752,648      11,070,786 Alf Landon
39 1940 Franklin Roosevelt Dem. 62.4% 449/531 84.6% 54.7% 10.0%      27,313,945        4,966,201 Wendell Willkie
40 1944 Franklin Roosevelt Dem. 55.9% 432/531 81.4% 53.4% 7.5%      25,612,916        3,594,987 Thomas Dewey
41 1948 Harry Truman Dem. 52.2% 303/531 57.1% 49.6% 4.5%      24,179,347        2,188,055 Thomas Dewey
42 1952 Dwight Eisenhower Rep. 62.3% 442/531 83.2% 55.2% 10.9%      34,075,529        6,700,439 Adlai Stevenson
43 1956 Dwight Eisenhower Rep. 60.2% 457/531 86.1% 57.4% 15.4%      35,579,180        9,551,152 Adlai Stevenson
44 1960 John F. Kennedy Dem. 63.8% 303/537 56.4% 49.7% 0.2%      34,220,984            112,827 Richard Nixon
45 1964 Lyndon Johnson Dem. 62.8% 486/538 90.3% 61.1% 22.6%      43,127,041      15,951,287 Barry Goldwater
46 1968 Richard Nixon Rep. 62.5% 301/538 56.0% 43.4% 0.7%      31,783,783            511,944 Hubert Humphrey
47 1972 Richard Nixon Rep. 56.2% 520/538 96.7% 60.7% 23.2%      47,168,710      17,995,488 George McGovern
48 1976 Jimmy Carter Dem. 54.8% 297/538 55.2% 50.1% 2.1%      40,831,881        1,683,247 Gerald Ford
49 1980 Ronald Reagan Rep. 54.2% 489/538 90.9% 50.8% 9.7%      43,903,230        8,423,115 Jimmy Carter
50 1984 Ronald Reagan Rep. 55.2% 525/538 97.6% 58.8% 18.2%      54,455,472      16,878,120 Walter Mondale
51 1988 George H. W. Bush Rep. 52.8% 426/538 79.2% 53.4% 7.7%      48,886,597        7,077,121 Michael Dukakis
52 1992 Bill Clinton Dem. 58.1% 370/538 68.8% 43.0% 5.6%      44,909,806        5,805,256 George H. W. Bush
53 1996 Bill Clinton Dem. 51.7% 379/538 70.5% 49.2% 8.5%      47,400,125        8,201,370 Bob Dole
54 2000 George W. Bush Rep. 54.2% 271/538 50.4% 47.9% -0.5%      50,460,110 –         543,816 Al Gore
55 2004 George W. Bush Rep. 60.1% 286/538 53.2% 50.7% 2.5%      62,040,610        3,012,171 John Kerry
56 2008 Barack Obama Dem. 61.6% 365/538 67.8% 52.9% 7.3%      69,498,516        9,550,193 John McCain
57 2012 Barack Obama Dem. 58.6% 332/538 61.7% 51.1% 3.9%      65,915,795        4,982,291 Mitt Romney
58 2016 Donald Trump Rep. 60.2% 304/538 56.5% 46.1% -2.1%      62,984,828 –      2,868,686 Hillary Clinton
59 2020 Joe Biden Dem. 66.9% 290/538 53.9% 50.6% 2.9%      75,250,000 6,900,000 Donald J. Trump

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Name *
Email *
Website