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Electoral history of Ronald Reagan

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On the campaign trail, President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan wave from limousine while touring Dixon, Illinois. February 1984.

This is the electoral history of Ronald Reagan. Reagan, a Republican, served as the 40th President of the United States (1981–89) and earlier as the 33rd Governor of California (1967–75).

Having been elected twice to the presidency,[1] Reagan reshaped the Republican party, led the modern conservative movement, and altered the political dynamic of the United States.[2] His 1980 presidential campaign stressed some of his fundamental principles: lower taxes to stimulate the economy,[3] less government interference in people's lives,[4] states' rights,[5] and a strong national defense.[6]

During his presidency, Reagan pursued policies that reflected his personal belief in individual freedom, brought changes domestically, both to the U.S. economy and expanded military, and contributed to the end of the Cold War.[7] Termed the Reagan Revolution, his presidency would reinvigorate American morale,[8][9] reinvigorate the American economy and reduce American reliance upon government.[7]

In addition to this, Reagan was the oldest person ever elected to the presidency, at the age of 69 on the date of his first presidential election victory in 1980.[10]

California gubernatorial election, 1966[edit]

Results of the 1966 gubernatorial election

California Republicans were impressed with Reagan's political views and charisma after his "Time for choosing" speech,[11] he announced in late 1965, his campaign for Governor of California in 1966.[12][13] He defeated former San Francisco mayor George Christopher in the GOP primary. In Reagan's campaign, he emphasized two main themes: "to send the welfare bums back to work", and, in reference to burgeoning anti-war and anti-establishment student protests at the University of California at Berkeley, "to clean up the mess at Berkeley".[14] Ronald Reagan accomplished in 1966 what US Senator William F. Knowland in 1958 and former Vice-President Richard M. Nixon in 1962 had tried: he was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown,[15] and was sworn in as the 33rd governor of California on January 2, 1967.[11][16]

Republican primary[edit]

1966 Republican primary election results[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ronald Reagan 1,417,623 64.62
Republican George Christopher 675,683 30.80
Republican Warren N. Dorn 44,812 2.04
Republican William Penn Patrick 40,887 1.86
Republican Joseph R. Maxwell 7,052 0.32
Republican Sam Yorty (write-in) 5,993 0.27
Republican Pat Brown (inc.) (write-in) 1,700 0.08
Total votes 2,193,750 100

Democratic primary[edit]

1966 Democratic primary election results[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Pat Brown (inc.) 1,355,262 51.91
Democratic Sam Yorty 981,088 37.58
Democratic Carlton Benjamin Goodlett 95,476 3.66
Democratic Wallace J. Duffy 77,029 2.95
Democratic Dale Alexander 43,453 1.66
Democratic Ronald Reagan (write-in) 27,422 1.05
Democratic Ingram W. Goad 18,088 0.69
Total votes 2,597,818 100

General election[edit]

1966 gubernatorial election, California[18][19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ronald Reagan 3,742,913 57.55
Democratic Pat Brown (incumbent) 2,749,174 42.27
Other Various candidates 11,358 0.18
Total votes 6,503,445 100.00
Voter turnout 57.70%
Republican gain from Democratic

1968 presidential election[edit]

Shortly after the beginning of his term as California governor, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968 as part of a "Stop Nixon" movement, hoping to cut into Nixon's Southern support[20] and be a compromise candidate[21] if neither Nixon nor second-place Nelson Rockefeller received enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Republican convention. However, by the time of the convention Nixon had 692 delegate votes, 25 more than he needed to secure the nomination, followed by Rockefeller with Reagan in third place.[20]

1968 Republican presidential primaries[edit]

Gold denotes a state won by Richard Nixon. Blue denotes a state won by Nelson Rockefeller. Green denotes a state won by James A. Rhodes. Purple denotes a state won by Ronald Reagan. Grey denotes a state that did not hold a primary.
Candidate Number of votes[22] Percentage[22] States carried[23]
Ronald Reagan 1,696,632 37.93% 1
Richard Nixon 1,679,443 37.54% 9
James A. Rhodes 614,492 13.74% 1
Nelson A. Rockefeller 164,340 3.67% 1
Unpledged 140,639 3.14% 0
Eugene McCarthy (write-in) 44,520 1.00% 0
Harold Stassen 31,655 0.71% 0
John Volpe 31,465 0.70% 0
Others 21,456 0.51% 0
George Wallace (write-in) 15,291 0.34% 0
Robert Kennedy (write-in) 14,524 0.33% 0
Hubert Humphrey (write-in) 5,698 0.13% 0
Lyndon B. Johnson (write-in) 4,824 0.11% 0
George Romney 4,447 0.10% 0
Raymond P. Shafer 1,223 0.03% 0
William W. Scranton 724 0.02% 0
Charles H. Percy 689 0.02% 0
Barry M. Goldwater 598 0.01% 0
John V. Lindsay 591 0.01% 0

1968 Republican National Convention[edit]

The Republican Convention Talley[24]
President (before switches) (after switches) Vice President Vice-Presidential votes
Richard M. Nixon 692 1238 Spiro T. Agnew 1119
Nelson Rockefeller 277 93 George Romney 186
Ronald Reagan 182 2 John V. Lindsay 10
Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes 55 Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke 1
Michigan Governor George Romney 50 James A. Rhodes 1
New Jersey Senator Clifford Case 22 Not Voting 16
Kansas Senator Frank Carlson 20
Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller 18
Hawaii Senator Hiram Fong 14
Harold Stassen 2
New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay 1

California gubernatorial election, 1970[edit]

Results

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to recall him in 1968,[25] Reagan was re-elected in 1970, defeating "Big Daddy" Jesse Unruh.[16] He did not seek a third term in the following election cycle.

1970 gubernatorial election, California[26][27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ronald Reagan (incumbent) 3,439,174 52.83
Democratic Jesse M. Unruh 2,938,607 45.14
Peace and Freedom Ricardo Romo 65,954 1.01
American Independent William K. Shearer 65,847 1.01
Invalid or blank votes 123,851 1.87
Total votes 6,633,433 100.00
Voter turnout 54.50%
Republican hold

1976 presidential election[edit]

1976 electoral college vote.

In 1976, Reagan challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford in a bid to become the Republican Party's candidate for president. Reagan soon established himself as the conservative candidate with the support of like-minded organizations such as the American Conservative Union which became key components of his political base, while President Ford was considered a more moderate Republican.[28] Though Reagan lost the Republican nomination, he received 307 write-in votes in New Hampshire, 388 votes as an Independent on Wyoming's ballot, and a single electoral vote from a faithless elector in the November election from the state of Washington,[29] which Ford had won over Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter. Ford ultimately lost the general election to Carter.

1976 Republican presidential primaries[edit]

Red indicates a win by Reagan, blue a win by Ford.
Candidate Number of votes[30] Percentage[30] States carried[31]
Gerald Ford (inc.) 5,529,899 53.29% 27
Ronald Reagan 4,760,222 45.88% 23
Unpledged 34,717 0.34% 0

1976 Republican National Convention (Presidential tally)[edit]

First ballot vote for the presidential nomination by state delegations
Republican National Convention Presidential nominee vote, 1976[32]
Candidate Votes Percentage
President Ford 1,187 52.57%
Ronald Reagan 1,070 47.39%
Elliot Richardson 1 0.04%
Totals 2,258 100.00%

1976 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally)[edit]

Candidate[33] Votes received[33] Percentage[33]
Bob Dole 1,921 85.04%
Abstaining 103 4.56%
Jesse Helms 103 4.56%
Ronald Reagan 27 1.20%
Phil Crane 23 1.02%
John Grady 19 0.84%
Louis Frey 9 0.40%
Anne Armstrong 6 0.27%
Howard Baker 6 0.27%
William F. Buckley 4 0.18%
John B. Connally 4 0.18%
David C. Treen 4 0.18%
Alan Steelman 3 0.13%
Edmund Bauman 2 0.09%
Bill Brock 2 0.09%
Paul Laxalt 2 0.09%
Elliot Richardson 2 0.09%
Richard Schweiker 2 0.09%
William E. Simon 2 0.09%
Jack Wellborn 2 0.09%
James Allen 1 0.04%
Ray Barnhardt 1 0.04%
George H. W. Bush 1 0.04%
Pete Domenici 1 0.04%
James B. Edwards 1 0.04%
Frank S. Glenn 1 0.04%
David Keene 1 0.04%
James McClure 1 0.04%
Nancy Palm 1 0.04%
Donald Rumsfeld 1 0.04%
John W. Sears 1 0.04%
Roger Staubach 1 0.04%
Steve Symms 1 0.04%

Election results[edit]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote[34] Electoral
vote[35]
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote[35]
James Earl Carter Jr. Democratic Georgia 40,831,881 50.08% 297 Walter Frederick Mondale Minnesota 297
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. (Incumbent) Republican Michigan 39,148,634 48.02% 240 Bob Dole Kansas 241
Ronald Wilson Reagan Republican California (a) (a) 1
Eugene McCarthy (none) Minnesota 740,460 0.91% 0  (b)  (b) 0
Roger MacBride Libertarian Vermont 172,553 0.21% 0 David Bergland California 0
Lester Maddox American Independent Georgia 170,274 0.21% 0 William Dyke Wisconsin 0
Thomas J. Anderson American  (c) 158,271 0.19% 0 Rufus Shackelford   0
Peter Camejo Socialist Workers California 90,986 0.11% 0 Willie Mae Reid 0
Gus Hall Communist New York 58,709 0.07% 0 Jarvis Tyner 0
Margaret Wright People's 49,013 0.06% 0 Benjamin Spock 0
Lyndon LaRouche U.S. Labor New York 40,043 0.05% 0 R. Wayne Evans 0
Other 70,785 0.08% Other
Total 81,531,584 100% 538 538
Needed to win 270 270

1980 presidential election[edit]

1980 electoral college vote

Reagan ran against Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter and independent candidate John B. Anderson.[1][36] He was praised by supporters for running a campaign of upbeat optimism.[37] Aided by the Iran hostage crisis and a worsening economy at home marked by high unemployment and inflation, Reagan won the election in a massive landslide.[10][38] The 1980 presidential election marked the beginning of the Reagan Era, and signified a conservative realignment in national politics.[39][40] At 69 years old, Reagan became the oldest person ever elected US president.[10]

1980 Republican presidential primaries[edit]

Red indicates a win by Reagan, blue a win by Bush.
Candidate Number of votes[41] Percentage[41] States carried[42]
Ronald Reagan 7,709,793 59.79% 44
George H. W. Bush 3,070,033 23.81% 6
John B. Anderson 1,572,174 12.19% 0
Howard Baker 181,153 1.41% 0
Phil Crane 97,793 0.76% 0
John B. Connally 82,625 0.64% 0
Unpledged 68,155 0.53% 0
Ben Fernandez 68,155 0.53% 0
Harold Stassen 25,425 0.20% 0
Gerald Ford 10,557 0.08% 0
Bob Dole 7,204 0.06% 0

1980 Republican National Convention (Presidential tally)[edit]

Republican National Convention Presidential nominee vote, 1980[43]
Candidate Votes Percentage
Ronald Reagan 1,939 97.44%
John B. Anderson 37 1.86%
George H. W. Bush 13 0.65%
John B. Connally and Anne Armstrong 1 each 0.05%
Totals 2,258 100.00%

Election results[edit]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote[36] Electoral
vote[44])
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote[44])
Ronald Wilson Reagan Republican California 43,903,230 50.75% 489 George Herbert Walker Bush Texas 489
James Earl Carter Jr. (Incumbent) Democratic Georgia 35,480,115 41.01% 49 Walter Frederick Mondale Minnesota 49
John Bayard Anderson Independent Illinois 5,719,850 6.61% 0 Patrick Joseph Lucey Wisconsin 0
Ed Clark Libertarian California 921,128 1.06% 0 David H. Koch Kansas 0
Barry Commoner Citizens Missouri 233,052 0.27% 0 La Donna Harris Oklahoma 0
Gus Hall Communist New York  44,933 0.05% 0 Angela Davis California  0
John Rarick American Independent Louisiana  40,906 0.05% 0 Eileen Shearer California  0
Clifton DeBerry Socialist Workers California  38,738 0.04% 0 Matilde Zimmermann New York  0
Ellen McCormack Right to Life New York  32,320 0.04% 0 Carroll Driscoll New Jersey  0
Maureen Smith Peace and Freedom California  18,116 0.02% 0 Elizabeth Barron California  0
Other 77,290 0.09% Other
Total 86,509,678 100% 538 538
Needed to win 270 270

1984 presidential election[edit]

1984 electoral college vote

Reagan ran for reelection as President in 1984, running against Democrat Walter Mondale. Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 of 50 states.[45] Reagan won a record 525 electoral votes, the most of any candidate in United States history,[46] and received 58.8% of the popular vote to Mondale's 40.6%.[45] Only Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1936, had a higher electoral landslide.[47] At 73 years old, Reagan again became the oldest person elected to the presidency, breaking his own record in 1980.[48]

1984 Republican presidential primaries[edit]

Reagan won every statewide contest.
Candidate Number of votes[49] Percentage[49] States carried[49]
Ronald Reagan (inc.) 6,484,987 98.78% 50
Unpledged 55,458 0.85% 0
Harold Stassen 12,749 0.19% 0

1984 Republican National Convention (Presidential tally)[edit]

Candidate Number of votes[50] Percentage[50]
Ronald Reagan (inc.) 2,233 99.91%
Abstaining 2 0.09%

Election results[edit]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote[45] Electoral
vote[51]
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote[51]
Ronald Wilson Reagan (Incumbent) Republican California 54,455,472 58.77% 525 George Herbert Walker Bush Texas 525
Walter Frederick Mondale Democratic Minnesota 37,577,352 40.56% 13 Geraldine Anne Ferraro New York 13
David Bergland Libertarian California  228,111 0.25% 0 Jim Lewis Connecticut  0
Lyndon LaRouche Independent Virginia  78,809 0.09% 0 Billy Davis Mississippi  0
Sonia Johnson Citizens Idaho  72,161 0.08% 0 Richard Walton Rhode Island  0
Bob Richards Populist Texas  66,324 0.07% 0 Maureen Salaman California  0
Dennis L. Serrette New Alliance New Jersey  46,853 0.05% 0 Nancy Ross New York  0
Larry Holmes Workers World New York  46,853 0.05% 0 Gloria La Riva California  0
Gus Hall Communist New York  36,386 0.04% 0 Angela Davis California  0
Melvin T. Mason Socialist Workers California  24,699 0.03% 0 Matilde Zimmermann New York  0
Other 49,181 0.05% Other
Total 92,653,233 100% 538 538
Needed to win 270 270

See also[edit]

  • Democratic Party, Reagan was a member of this party early in his life, but was mainly opposed by this party during his political career.
  • Reagan coalition, a term for the combination of voters who supported Reagan and his election campaigns.
  • Reagan Democrat, a term used for a traditional Democratic voter who defected from their party to support Reagan in 1980 and 1984.
  • Reagan's coattails, a term used to describe the influence of Reagan's popularity on elections other than his own, after the American political expression to “ride in on another’s coattails.”

References[edit]

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