Election Universe

By a hairline: Four US elections that were really really close

By a hairline: Four US elections that were really really close
October 24 2016, 13:29
Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Pundits have started to speculate how close the US presidential race will be. Is it going to be a blowout similar to when President Lyndon Jonson trounced Barry Goldwater (R) in 1954 by winning 61.05 percent of the popular vote?

Or will it be a cliffhanger that will keep the public on the edge of their seats until the winner until the last vote had been counted?

Instead of looking at the pools to predict the future, we’ll take a look back at some of the closest presidential elections in US history.

  1. 2000 – George W. Bush defeats Al Gore by five electoral votes while losing popular vote by 0.5%

One of the most controversial US presidential elections took place in 2000 when George W. Bush (R) won over Al Gore (D), then-vice president, by taking 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266.

It also made the world take a closer look at the peculiarities of US elections where the electoral college is the real battleground and someone who gets more popular votes may not necessarily be declared winner.

  1. 1960 – John F. Kennedy defeats Richard Nixon (0.2% of the popular vote)

The 1960 elections saw John F. Kennedy (D) and Richard Nixon (R) fighting tooth and nail for the presidency, which in the end was settled when Kennedy won by 84 electoral votes and by only 112,827 popular votes.

With the tally 34,220,984 for Kennedy and 34,108,157 for Nixon, this election was the closest since 1916.

  1. 1884 – Grover Cleveland defeats James Blaine  (0.7% of the popular vote)

This presidential contest was so closely fought that after the dust had settled, only 57,000 votes separated Grover Cleveland (D) and James Blaine (R). The nail-biter contest was settled when Cleveland took New York by a margin of 1,047— out of over 1.1 million.

  1. 1844 – James Polk defeats Henry Clay – (1.4% of the popular vote)

In 1844, James Polk (D) defeated Henry Clay (Whig) by only 39,000 votes, a narrow margin that was a reflection of the deep division among Americans about burning issues such as expansionism.

Source: Mic