Obama’s popular vote totals put him in small club

Updated
Obama's popular vote totals put him in small club
Obama's popular vote totals put him in small club

The 2012 presidential election has obviously come and gone, but before we move on entirely, there’s a little tidbit of statistical trivia that struck me as interesting – and chart worthy.

Bloomberg reports today that, thanks to some provisional ballots that have now been counted in New York City, President Obama’s popular-vote total is up to 51.06%. That wouldn’t be especially interesting, were it not for the fact that Obama is the first presidential candidate since Dwight Eisenhower to top 51% twice.

In fact, in American history, this is a feat that’s only been pulled off by six presidents: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and now, Barack Obama.

In case you’re wondering if Reagan made the cut, he came close, but ended up with 50.7% in 1980. Plenty of other candidates might have had a better shot at this, were it not for third-party candidates.

Also, though Obama’s popular-vote win on election night seemed quite narrow, it’s now grown to about four percentage points (and roughly 5 million votes), which is a pretty comfortable margin of victory.

We can debate the utility and value of electoral “mandates,” but if they mean anything, Obama has earned enough public backing to have Congress take his agenda seriously.

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Obama's popular vote totals put him in small club

Updated