1996 United States presidential election

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1996 United States presidential election
Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg
  1992 November 5, 1996 2000  

All 538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout49.0% [1] Decrease2.svg 6.2 pp
  Bill Clinton.jpg Bob Dole, PCCWW photo portrait.JPG RossPerotColor.jpg
Nominee Bill Clinton Bob Dole Ross Perot
Party Democratic Republican Reform
Home state Arkansas Kansas Texas
Running mate Al Gore Jack Kemp Pat Choate
Electoral vote3791590
States carried31 + DC 190
Popular vote47,401,18539,197,4698,085,294
Percentage49.24%40.71%8.40%

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1996 United States presidential election
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes those won by Clinton/Gore, red denotes states won by Dole/Kemp. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.

President before election

Bill Clinton
Democratic

Elected President

Bill Clinton
Democratic

The 1996 United States presidential election was the 53rd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 5, 1996. [2] Incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton defeated former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the Republican nominee, and Ross Perot, the Reform Party nominee.

United States presidential election type of election in the United States

The election of the president and the vice president of the United States is an indirect election in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in one of the 50 U.S. states or in Washington, D.C. cast ballots not directly for those offices, but instead for members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors. These electors then in turn cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for president, and for vice president. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes is then elected to that office. If no candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes for President, the House of Representatives chooses the winner; if no one receives an absolute majority of the votes for Vice President, then the Senate chooses the winner.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Bill Clinton 42nd president of the United States

William Jefferson Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to his presidency, he served as governor of Arkansas and as attorney general of Arkansas (1977–1979). A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was known as a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy. He is the husband of former Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton is notable as one of only two U.S. presidents to have been impeached.

Contents

Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were re-nominated without incident by the Democratic Party. Numerous candidates entered the 1996 Republican primaries, with Dole considered the early front-runner. Dole clinched the nomination after defeating challenges by publisher Steve Forbes and paleoconservative leader Pat Buchanan. Dole's running mate was Jack Kemp, a former Congressman and football player who had served as the Housing Secretary under President George H. W. Bush. Ross Perot, who had won 18.9% of the popular vote as an independent candidate in the 1992 election, ran as the candidate of the Reform Party. Perot received less media attention in 1996 and was excluded from the presidential debates.

Vice President of the United States Second highest executive office in United States

The vice president of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as president of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president is empowered to preside over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The vice president also presides over joint sessions of Congress.

Al Gore 45th Vice President of the United States

Albert Arnold Gore Jr. is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Gore was Bill Clinton's running mate in their successful campaign in 1992, and the pair was re-elected in 1996. Near the end of Clinton's second term, Gore was selected as the Democratic nominee for the 2000 presidential election but lost the election in a very close race after a Florida recount. After his term as vice-president ended in 2001, Gore remained prominent as an author and environmental activist, whose work in climate change activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Steve Forbes American businessman and publisher

Malcolm Stevenson "Steve" Forbes Jr. is an American publishing executive. Forbes was a candidate in the 1996 and 2000 Republican Presidential primaries. Forbes is the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes, a business magazine. Forbes is the son of longtime Forbes publisher Malcolm Forbes, and the grandson of that publication's founder, B.C. Forbes. He is an adviser at the Forbes School of Business & Technology.

Clinton's chances of winning were initially considered slim in the middle of his term as his party had lost both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1994 for the first time in decades. He was able to regain ground as the economy began to recover from the early 1990s recession with a relatively stable world stage. Clinton tied Dole to Newt Gingrich, the unpopular Republican Speaker of the House. Dole promised an across-the-board 15% reduction in federal income taxes and attacked Clinton as a member of the "spoiled" Baby Boomer generation. Dole's age was a persistent issue in the election, and gaffes by Dole exacerbated the issue for his campaign.

United States House of Representatives Lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.

The early 1990s recession describes the period of economic downturn affecting much of the Western world in the early 1990s, believed to be caused by restrictive monetary policy enacted by central banks primarily in response to inflation concerns, the loss of consumer and business confidence as a result of the 1990 oil price shock, the end of the Cold War and the subsequent decrease in defense spending, the savings and loan crisis and a slump in office construction resulting from overbuilding during the 1980s. The global GDP growth returned to normal by 1994. The impacts of the recession included the resignation of Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, the electoral defeat of George H. W. Bush in the United States, reduction of active companies by 15% and unemployment up to nearly 20% in Finland, civil disturbances in the United Kingdom and the growth of discount stores in the United States and beyond.

Clinton maintained a consistent polling edge over Dole, and he won re-election with a substantial margin in the popular vote and the Electoral College. Clinton became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win two straight presidential elections. Dole won 40.7% of the popular vote and 159 electoral votes, while Perot won 8.4% of the popular vote. Despite Dole's defeat, the Republican Party was able to maintain a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Turnout was registered at 49.0%, the lowest for a presidential election since 1924.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd president of the United States

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by the initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the Democratic Party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II, which ended shortly after he died in office. He is rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but has also been subject to substantial criticism.

1924 United States presidential election Election of 1924

The 1924 United States presidential election was the 35th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 4, 1924. In a three-way contest, incumbent Republican President Calvin Coolidge won election to a full term.

Background

In 1995, the Republican Party was riding high on the significant gains made in the 1994 mid-term elections. In those races, the Republicans, led by whip Newt Gingrich, captured the majority of seats in the House for the first time in forty years and the majority of seats in the Senate for the first time in eight years. Gingrich became Speaker of the House, while Bob Dole elevated to Senate Majority leader.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

The Republican Revolution, Revolution of '94, or Gingrich Revolution, refers to the Republican Party (GOP) success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate. The day after the election, conservative Democrat Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama changed parties, becoming a Republican; on March 3, 1995, Colorado senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell switched to the Republican side as well, increasing the GOP senate majority.

Newt Gingrich 50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Newton Leroy Gingrich is an American politician, author, and historian who served as the 50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. A member of the Republican Party, he was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 6th congressional district from 1979 until his resignation in 1999. In 2012, Gingrich was a candidate for the presidential nomination of his party.

The Republicans of the 104th Congress pursued an ambitious agenda, highlighted by their Contract with America, but were often forced to compromise with President Clinton, who wielded veto power. A budget impasse between Congress and the Clinton Administration eventually resulted in a government shutdown. Clinton, meanwhile, was praised for signing the GOP's welfare reform and other notable bills, but was forced to abandon his own health care plan.

104th United States Congress 1995–1997 U.S. Congress

The One Hundred Fourth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 1995, to January 3, 1997, during the third and fourth years of Bill Clinton's presidency. Apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the 1990 United States census. Both chambers had Republican majorities for the first time since the 1950s. Major events included passage of elements of the Contract with America and a budget impasse between Congress and the Clinton Administration that resulted in the Federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996.

The Contract with America was a legislative agenda advocated for by the United States Republican Party during the 1994 Congressional election campaign. Written by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, and in part using text from former President Ronald Reagan's 1985 State of the Union Address, the Contract detailed the actions the Republicans promised to take if they became the majority party in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Many of the Contract's policy ideas originated at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Veto legal power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation

A veto is the power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution, or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate will override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto may give power only to stop changes, like the US legislative veto, or to also adopt them, like the legislative veto of the Indian President, which allows him to propose amendments to bills returned to the Parliament for reconsideration.

Democratic Party nomination

Democratic Candidates

Democratic Party Ticket, 1996
Bill Clinton Al Gore
for Presidentfor Vice President
Bill Clinton.jpg
Al Gore, Vice President of the United States, official portrait 1994.jpg
42nd
President of the United States
(1993–2001)
45th
Vice President of the United States
(1993–2001)
Campaign
Clintongore1996.gif

With the advantage of incumbency, Bill Clinton's path to renomination by the Democratic Party was uneventful. At the 1996 Democratic National Convention, Clinton and incumbent Vice President Al Gore were renominated with token opposition. Incarcerated fringe candidate Lyndon LaRouche won a few Arkansas delegates who were barred from the convention. Jimmy Griffin, former Mayor of Buffalo, New York, mounted a brief campaign but withdrew after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary. Former Pennsylvania governor Bob Casey contemplated a challenge to Clinton, but health problems forced Casey to abandon a bid. [3] [4]

Clinton easily won primaries nationwide, with margins consistently higher than 80%. [5]

Republican Party nomination

Republican Candidates

Republican Party Ticket, 1996
Bob Dole Jack Kemp
for Presidentfor Vice President
Bob Dole, PCCWW photo portrait.JPG
Jack Kemp official portrait.jpg
U.S. Senator
from Kansas
(1969–1996)
9th
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
(1989–1993)
Campaign
Dolekemp1996.gif

A number of Republican candidates entered the field to challenge the incumbent Democratic President, Bill Clinton.

The fragmented field of candidates debated issues such as a flat tax and other tax cut proposals, and a return to supply-side economic policies popularized by Ronald Reagan. More attention was drawn to the race by the budget stalemate in 1995 between the Congress and the President, which caused temporary shutdowns and slowdowns in many areas of federal government service.

Former Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin of Illinois, who served in the United States House of Representatives from Illinois's 16th District and was the 1990 Republican U.S. Senate nominee losing to incumbent Paul Simon conducted a bid for most of 1995, but withdrew before the Iowa caucuses as polls showed her languishing far behind. She participated in a number of primary Presidential debates before withdrawing. [6] Martin's predecessor in Congress, John Anderson had made first a Republican then Independent Presidential bid in 1980. Also, Simon who defeated Martin for the U.S. Senate had run for President as a Democrat in 1988.

Former U.S. Army General Colin Powell was widely courted as a potential Republican nominee. However, on November 8, 1995, Powell announced that he would not seek the nomination. Former Secretary of Defense and future Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney was touted by many as a possible candidate for the presidency, but he declared his intentions not to run in early 1995. Former and future Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld formed a presidential campaign exploratory committee, but declined to formally enter the race. Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Secretary of Education William Bennett both flirted with bids, both even set up exploratory committees, for a number of months but both finally declared within days of each other they would not run either. [7]

Primaries and convention

Ahead of the 1996 primary contest, Republican Leader of the United States Senate and former vice-presidential candidate Bob Dole was seen as the most likely winner. However, Steve Forbes finished first in Delaware and Arizona while paleoconservative firebrand Pat Buchanan managed early victories in Alaska and Louisiana, in addition to a strong second place in the Iowa caucuses and a surprising victory in the small but key New Hampshire primary. Buchanan's New Hampshire win alarmed the Republican "establishment" sufficiently as to provoke prominent Republicans to quickly coalesce around Dole, [8] and Dole won every primary starting with North and South Dakota. Dole resigned his Senate seat on June 11 and the Republican National Convention formally nominated Dole on August 15, 1996 for President.

Popular primaries vote [9]

Convention tally:

Former Representative and Housing Secretary Jack Kemp was nominated by acclamation for Vice President, the following day. This was the only Republican ticket between 1976 and 2008 that did not include a member of the Bush family.

Major third parties

Parties in this section have obtained ballot access in enough states to theoretically obtain the minimum number of electoral votes needed to win the election. Individuals included in this section have completed one or more of the following actions: received, or formally announced their candidacy for, the presidential nomination of a third party; formally announced intention to run as an independent candidate and obtained enough ballot access to win the election; filed as a third party or non-affiliated candidate with the FEC (for other than exploratory purposes). Within each party, candidates are listed alphabetically by surname.

Reform Party nomination

Ross Perot was on the ballot in every state. BallotAccessofRossPerot1996.svg
Ross Perot was on the ballot in every state.

Reform candidates

The United States Reform Party had great difficulty in finding a candidate willing to run in the general election. Lowell Weicker, Tim Penny, David Boren and Richard Lamm were among those who toyed with the notion of seeking its presidential nomination, though all but Lamm decided against it; Lamm had himself come close to withdrawing his name from consideration. Lamm designated Ed Zschau as his Vice Presidential candidate.

Ultimately, the Reform Party nominated its founder Ross Perot from Texas in its first election as an official political party. Although Perot easily won the nomination, his victory at the party's national convention led to a schism as supporters of Lamm accused him of rigging the vote to prevent them from casting their ballots. This faction walked out of the national convention and eventually formed their own group, the American Reform Party, and attempted to convince Lamm to run as an Independent in the general election; Lamm declined, pointing out a promise he made before running that he would respect the Party's final decision.

Economist Pat Choate was nominated for Vice President.

Libertarian Party nomination

Harry Browne was on the ballot in every state. BallotAccessofHarryBrowne1996.svg
Harry Browne was on the ballot in every state.

Libertarian candidates

The Libertarian Party nominated free-market writer and investment analyst, Harry Browne from Tennessee, and selected Jo Jorgensen from South Carolina as his running-mate. Browne and Jorgensen drew 485,798 votes (0.5% of the popular vote).

The Balloting
Presidential Ballot1st
Harry Browne 416
Rick Tompkins 74
None61
Irwin Schiff 32
Douglas J. Ohmen20
Jeffrey Diket1
Jo Jorgensen 1

Natural Law Party nomination

John Hagelin was on the ballot in forty-three states (463 Electoral Votes). Those states with a lighter shade are states in which he was an official write-in candidate. BallotAccessofJohnHagelin1996.svg
John Hagelin was on the ballot in forty-three states (463 Electoral Votes). Those states with a lighter shade are states in which he was an official write-in candidate.

Natural Law candidate:

The Natural Law Party for a second time nominated scientist and researcher John Hagelin for President and Mike Tompkins for Vice President. The party platform included preventive health care, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy technologies. During his campaigns, Hagelin favored abortion rights without public financing, campaign finance law reform, improved gun control, a flat tax, the eradication of PACs, a ban on soft money contributions, and school vouchers.

Hagelin and Tompkins drew 113,671 votes (0.1% of the popular vote).

U.S. Taxpayers' Party nomination

Howard Phillips was on the ballot in thirty-eight states (414 Electoral Votes). Those states with a lighter shade are states in which he was an official write-in candidate. BallotAccessofHowardPhillips1996.svg
Howard Phillips was on the ballot in thirty-eight states (414 Electoral Votes). Those states with a lighter shade are states in which he was an official write-in candidate.

U.S. Taxpayers' candidates

The U.S. Taxpayers Party had run its first presidential ticket in 1992, it being head by Howard Phillips who had failed to find any prominent conservative willing to take the mantle. In 1996 the situation ultimately proved the same, though Pat Buchanan for a time was widely speculated to be planning on bolting to the Taxpayers' Party should the expected Republican nominee, Senator Bob Dole, name a Pro-Choice running-mate. When Jack Kemp, who is Pro-Life, was tapped for the position Buchanan agreed to endorse the Republican ticket. Again, Phillips found himself at a temporary post that was made permanent, with Herbert Titus being nominated for the Vice Presidency.

Phillips and Titus drew 182,820 votes (0.2% of the popular vote).

General election

Campaign

Without meaningful primary opposition, Clinton was able to focus on the general election early, while Dole was forced to move to the right and spend his campaign reserves fighting off challengers. Political adviser Dick Morris urged Clinton to raise huge sums of campaign funds via soft money for an unprecedented early TV blitz of swing states promoting Clinton's agenda and record. As a result, Clinton could run a campaign through the summer defining his opponent as an aged conservative far from the mainstream before Dole was in a position to respond. Compared to the 50-year-old Clinton, then 73-year-old Dole appeared especially old and frail, as illustrated by an embarrassing fall off a stage during a campaign event in Chico, California. Dole further enhanced this contrast on September 18 when he made a reference to a no-hitter thrown the day before by Hideo Nomo of the "Brooklyn Dodgers", a team that had left Brooklyn for Los Angeles 38 years earlier. A few days later Dole would make a joke about the remark by saying, "And I'd like to congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals on winning the N.L. Central. Notice I said the St. Louis Cardinals, not the St. Louis Browns." (The Browns had left St. Louis after the 1954 season to become the Baltimore Orioles.)

Dole chose to focus on Clinton as being "part of the spoiled baby boomer generation" and stating, "My generation won [World War II], and we may need to be called to service one last time." Although his message won appeal with older voters, surveys found that his age was widely held as a liability and his frequent allusions to WWII and the Great Depression in speeches and campaign ads "unappealing" to younger voters. To prove that he was still healthy and active, Dole released all of his medical records to the public and published photographs of himself running on a treadmill. After the falling incident in California, he joked that he "was trying to do that new Democratic dance, the macarena." [10]

The Clinton campaign avoided mentioning Dole's age directly, instead choosing to confront it in more subtle ways such as the campaign slogan "Building Bridges to the Future" in contrast to the Republican candidate's frequent remarks that he was a "bridge to the past", before the social upheavals of the 1960s. Clinton, without actually calling Dole old, questioned the age of his ideas. [11]

Dole (left) and Clinton (right) at the first presidential debate on October 6, 1996 at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut. 1996 1st Presidential Debate H.png
Dole (left) and Clinton (right) at the first presidential debate on October 6, 1996 at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut.

With respect to the issues, Dole promised a 15% across-the-board reduction in income tax rates and made former Congressman and supply side advocate Jack Kemp his running mate. Bill Clinton framed the narrative against Dole early, painting him as a mere clone of unpopular House Speaker Newt Gingrich, warning America that Bob Dole would work in concert with the Republican Congress to slash popular social programs, like Medicare and Social Security, dubbed by Clinton as "Dole-Gingrich". [12] Bob Dole's tax-cut plan found itself under attack from the White House, who said it would "blow a hole in the deficit," which had been cut nearly in half during his opponent's term. [13]

Throughout the run-up to the general election, Clinton maintained comfortable leads in the polls over Dole and Perot. The televised debates featured only Dole and Clinton, locking out Perot and the other minor candidates from the discussion. Perot, who had been allowed to participate in the 1992 debates, would eventually take his case to court, seeking damages from not being in the debate, as well as citing unfair coverage from the major media outlets.

Throughout this campaign, Clinton was always leading in the polls, generally by large margins. In October, Republican National Committee "operatives urg[ed] their party's Congressional candidates to cut loose from Bob Dole and press voters to maintain a Republican majority" [14] and spent $4 million on advertising in targeted districts. [15]

Presidential Debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced two debates:

Debates among candidates for the 1996 U.S. presidential election
No.DateHostLocationModeratorsParticipantsViewership

(Millions)

P1Sunday, October 6, 1996 Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts Hartford, Connecticut Jim Lehrer President Bill Clinton

Senator Bob Dole

46.1 [16]
VPWednesday, October 9, 1996 Mahaffey Theater St. Petersburg, Florida Jim Lehrer Vice President Al Gore

Secretary Jack Kemp

26.6 [16]
P2Wednesday, October 16, 1996 University of San Diego San Diego, California Jim Lehrer President Bill Clinton

Senator Bob Dole

36.6 [16]
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Hartford, CT
Red pog.svg
Mahaffey Theater
St. Petersberg, FL
Red pog.svg
University of San Diego
San Diego CA
Sites of the 1996 general election debates

Campaign donations controversy

In late September 1995, questions arose regarding the Democratic National Committee's fund-raising practices. In February the following year, China's alleged role in the campaign finance controversy first gained public attention after the Washington Post published a story stating that a U.S. Department of Justice investigation had discovered evidence that agents of China sought to direct contributions from foreign sources to the DNC before the 1996 presidential campaign. The paper wrote that intelligence information had showed the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. was used for coordinating contributions to the DNC [17] in violation of U.S. law forbidding non-American citizens from giving monetary donations to U.S. politicians and political parties. Seventeen people were eventually convicted for fraud or for funneling Asian funds into the U.S. elections.

One of the more notable events learned involved Vice President Al Gore and a fund-raising event held at Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California. The Temple event was organized by DNC fund-raisers John Huang and Maria Hsia. It is illegal under U.S. law for religious organizations to donate money to politicians or political groups due to their tax-exempt status. The U.S. Justice Department alleged Hsia facilitated $100,000 in illegal contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign through her efforts at the Temple. Hsia was eventually convicted by a jury in March 2000. [18] The DNC eventually returned the money donated by the Temple's monks and nuns. Twelve nuns and employees of the Temple refused to answer questions by pleading the Fifth Amendment when they were subpoenaed to testify before Congress in 1997. [19]

Results

On election day, President Clinton won a decisive victory over Dole, becoming the first Democrat to win two consecutive presidential elections since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, 1940, and 1944. In the popular vote, he out-polled Dole by over 8.2 million votes. The Electoral College map did not change much from the previous election, with the Democratic incumbent winning 379 votes to the Republican ticket's 159. In the West, Dole managed to narrowly win Colorado and Montana (both had voted for Clinton four years earlier), while Clinton became the first Democrat to win the state of Arizona since Harry Truman in 1948. In the South, Clinton took Florida – a state he had failed to win in 1992 – from the Republicans in exchange for the less electoral-vote-rich Georgia. The election helped to cement Democratic presidential control in California, Vermont, Maine, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut; all went on to vote Democratic in every subsequent presidential election after having voted Republican in the five prior to 1992. 1996 marked the first time that Vermont voted for a Democrat in two successive elections. Pennsylvania and Michigan both voted Democratic, and would remain in the Democratic presidential fold until 2016. Although Clinton won a victory in the popular vote that was slightly greater than that achieved by his previous rival President George H.W. Bush, he won less Electoral states due to under-performance in rural counties nationwide – a precursor of the trend where future Democratic contenders for the Presidency perform well in populated metropolitan areas but vastly underperform in rural counties.

Reform Party nominee Ross Perot won approximately 8% of the popular vote. His vote total was less than half of his performance in 1992. The 1996 national exit poll showed that just as in 1992, [20] Perot drew supporters from Clinton and Dole equally. [21] In polls directed at Perot voters as to who would be a second choice, Clinton consistently held substantial leads. [22] Perot's best showing was in states that tended to strongly favor either Clinton (such as Maine) or Dole (particularly Montana, though the margin of victory there was much closer). Perot once again received his lowest amount of support in the South.

Although Clinton is a native of Arkansas, and his running mate hailed from Tennessee, the Democratic ticket again carried just four of the eleven states of the American South. This tied Clinton's 1992 run for the weakest performance by a winning Democratic presidential candidate in the region before 2000 (in terms of states won). Clinton's performance seems to have been part of a broader decline in support for the Democratic Party in the South. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, the Democrats would fail to carry even one of the former Confederate states, contributing to their defeat both times. This completed the Republican takeover of the American South, a region in which Democrats had held a near monopoly from 1880 to 1948. However, in 2008, the Democrats were able to win three former Confederate states, but that was still worse than Clinton's performances in both 1992 and 1996. Since 1984, no winning presidential candidate has surpassed Bill Clinton's 8.5 percentage popular vote margin, or his 220 electoral vote margin since 1988. Also note that no Democratic presidential candidate has surpassed Clinton's electoral vote margin since 1964 and except Lyndon B. Johnson in that election no Democratic presidential candidate has surpassed his 8.5 percentage popular vote margin since 1940.

The election was also notable for the fact that for the first time in U.S. history the winner was elected without winning the male vote and the third time in U.S. history that a candidate was elected President twice without receiving an absolute majority of the popular vote in either election (Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson are the others, although all three won pluralities [i.e. the most votes]). [21]

Clinton was the first Democrat to win re-election to the presidency since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the first Southern Democrat to win re-election since Andrew Jackson in 1832.

Following the 2016 election, 1996 remains the last time the following states voted Democratic: Arizona, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and West Virginia. Clinton also remains the last presidential candidate of either party to win at least one county in every state [lower-alpha 1] and the last Democrat to win a majority or plurality in Ross County, Ohio, Spokane County, Washington, Pinal and Gila Counties, Arizona, Washington County, Arkansas, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Oneida County, New York and Anoka County, Minnesota. [23] Clinton was also the last Democrat to win Florida, Nevada and Ohio until 2008. This election also constitutes the last time that a Democrat won the presidency without winning Colorado and Virginia.

Electoral Results
Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPercentageVice-presidential candidateHome stateElectoral vote
William Jefferson Clinton (Incumbent) Democratic [lower-alpha 2] Arkansas 47,401,18549.24%379 Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. Tennessee 379
Robert Joseph Dole Republican [lower-alpha 3] Kansas 39,197,46940.71%159 Jack French Kemp New York [25] 159
Henry Ross Perot Reform [lower-alpha 4] Texas 8,085,2948.40%0 Patrick Choate [lower-alpha 5] Washington, D.C.0
Ralph Nader Green Connecticut 685,2970.71%0 Winona LaDuke [lower-alpha 6] California 0
Harry Browne Libertarian Tennessee 485,7590.50%0 Jo Jorgensen South Carolina 0
Howard Phillips Taxpayers Virginia 184,6560.19%0 Herbert Titus Oregon 0
John Hagelin Natural Law Iowa 113,6700.12%0 Mike Tompkins Massachusetts 0
Other [lower-alpha 7] 113,6670.12%Other [lower-alpha 8]
Total96,277,634100%538538
Needed to win270270

Official Source (Popular Vote): 1996 Official Presidential General Election Results

Source (popular and electoral vote): Federal Elections Commission Electoral and Popular Vote Summary unofficial Secondary Source (Popular Vote):Leip, David. "1996 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved August 7, 2005.

Voting age population: 196,498,000

Percent of voting age population casting a vote for President: 49.00%

Popular vote
Clinton
49.24%
Dole
40.71%
Perot
8.40%
Nader
0.71%
Browne
0.50%
Others
0.44%
Electoral vote
Clinton
70.45%
Dole
29.55%
ElectoralCollege1996-Large.png

Results by state

States/districts won by Clinton/Gore
States/districts won by Dole/Kemp
Bill Clinton
Democratic
Bob Dole
Republican
Ross Perot
Reform
Ralph Nader
Green
Harry Browne
Libertarian
OthersMarginState Total
Stateelec­toral
votes
#%elec­toral
votes
#%elec­toral
votes
#%elec­toral
votes
#%elec­toral
votes
#%elec­toral
votes
#%elec­toral
votes
#%#
Alabama 9662,16543.16%769,04450.12%992,1496.01%5,2900.34%5,7010.37%−106,879−6.97%1,534,349AL
Alaska 380,38033.27%122,74650.80%326,33310.90%7,5973.14%2,2760.94%2,2880.95%−42,366−17.53%241,620AK
Arizona 8653,28846.52%8622,07344.29%112,0727.98%2,0620.15%14,3581.02%5520.04%31,2152.22%1,404,405AZ
Arkansas 6475,17153.74%6325,41636.80%69,8847.90%3,6490.41%3,0760.35%7,0660.80%149,75516.94%884,262AR
California 545,119,83551.10%543,828,38038.21%697,8476.96%237,0162.37%73,6000.73%62,8060.63%1,291,45512.89%10,019,484CA
Colorado 8671,15244.43%691,84845.80%899,6296.59%25,0701.66%12,3920.82%10,6130.70%−20,696−1.37%1,510,704CO
Connecticut 8735,74052.83%8483,10934.69%139,52310.02%24,3211.75%5,7880.42%4,1330.30%252,63118.14%1,392,614CT
Delaware 3140,35551.80%399,06236.58%28,71910.60%180.01%2,0520.76%6390.24%41,29315.25%270,845DE
D.C. 3158,22085.19%317,3399.34%3,6111.94%4,7802.57%5880.32%1,1880.64%140,88175.85%185,726DC
Florida 252,546,87048.02%252,244,53642.32%483,8709.12%4,1010.08%23,9650.45%4520.01%302,3345.70%5,303,794FL
Georgia 131,053,84945.84%1,080,84347.01%13146,3376.37%17,8700.78%1720.01%−26,994−1.17%2,299,071GA
Hawaii 4205,01256.93%4113,94331.64%27,3587.60%10,3862.88%2,4930.69%9280.26%91,06925.29%360,120HI
Idaho 4165,44333.65%256,59552.18%462,51812.71%3,3250.68%3,8380.78%−91,152−18.54%491,719ID
Illinois 222,341,74454.32%221,587,02136.81%346,4088.03%1,4470.03%22,5480.52%12,2230.29%754,72317.51%4,311,391IL
Indiana 12887,42441.55%1,006,69347.13%12224,29910.50%1,1210.05%15,6320.73%6730.03%−119,269−5.58%2,135,842IN
Iowa 7620,25850.26%7492,64439.92%105,1598.52%6,5500.53%2,3150.19%7,1490.58%127,61410.34%1,234,075IA
Kansas 6387,65936.08%583,24554.29%692,6398.62%9140.09%4,5570.42%5,2860.49%−195,586−18.21%1,074,300KS
Kentucky 8636,61445.84%8623,28344.88%120,3968.67%7010.05%4,0090.29%3,7050.27%13,3310.96%1,388,708KY
Louisiana 9927,83752.01%9712,58639.94%123,2936.91%4,7190.26%7,4990.42%8,0250.45%215,25112.07%1,783,959LA
Maine 4312,78851.62%4186,37830.76%85,97014.19%15,2792.52%2,9960.49%2,4860.41%126,41020.86%605,897ME
Maryland 10966,20754.25%10681,53038.27%115,8126.50%2,6060.15%8,7650.49%5,9500.33%284,67715.99%1,780,870MD
Massachusetts 121,571,76361.47%12718,10728.09%227,2178.89%4,7340.19%20,4260.80%14,5380.57%853,65633.39%2,556,785MA
Michigan 181,989,65351.69%181,481,21238.48%336,6708.75%2,3220.06%27,6700.72%11,3170.29%508,44113.21%3,848,844MI
Minnesota 101,120,43851.10%10766,47634.96%257,70411.75%24,9081.14%8,2710.38%14,8430.68%353,96216.14%2,192,640MN
Mississippi 7394,02244.08%439,83849.21%752,2225.84%2,8090.31%4,9660.56%−45,816−5.13%893,857MS
Missouri 111,025,93547.54%11890,01641.24%217,18810.06%5340.02%10,5220.49%13,8700.64%135,9196.30%2,158,065MO
Montana 3167,92241.23%179,65244.11%355,22913.56%2,5260.62%1,9320.47%−11,730−2.88%407,261MT
Nebraska 5236,76134.95%363,46753.65%571,27810.52%2,7920.41%3,1170.46%−126,706−18.70%677,415NE
Nevada 4203,97443.93%4199,24442.91%43,9869.47%4,7301.02%4,4600.96%7,8851.70%4,7301.02%464,279NV
New Hampshire 4246,21449.32%4196,53239.37%48,3909.69%4,2370.85%3,8020.76%49,6829.95%499,175NH
New Jersey 151,652,32953.72%151,103,07835.86%262,1348.52%32,4651.06%14,7630.48%11,0380.36%549,25117.86%3,075,807NJ
New Mexico 5273,49549.18%5232,75141.86%32,2575.80%13,2182.38%2,9960.54%1,3570.24%40,7447.33%556,074NM
New York 333,756,17759.47%331,933,49230.61%503,4587.97%75,9561.20%12,2200.19%34,8260.55%1,822,68528.86%6,316,129NY
North Carolina 141,107,84944.04%1,225,93848.73%14168,0596.68%2,1080.08%8,7400.35%3,1130.12%−118,089−4.69%2,515,807NC
North Dakota 3106,90540.13%125,05046.94%332,51512.20%8470.32%1,0940.41%−18,145−6.81%266,411ND
Ohio 212,148,22247.38%211,859,88341.02%483,20710.66%2,9620.07%12,8510.28%27,3090.60%288,3396.36%4,534,434OH
Oklahoma 8488,10540.45%582,31548.26%8130,78810.84%5,5050.46%−94,210−7.81%1,206,713OK
Oregon 7649,64147.15%7538,15239.06%121,2218.80%49,4153.59%8,9030.65%10,4280.76%111,4898.09%1,377,760OR
Pennsylvania 232,215,81949.17%231,801,16939.97%430,9849.56%3,0860.07%28,0000.62%27,0600.60%414,6509.20%4,506,118PA
Rhode Island 4233,05059.71%4104,68326.82%43,72311.20%6,0401.55%1,1090.28%1,6790.43%128,36732.89%390,284RI
South Carolina 8504,05143.85%573,45849.89%864,3865.60%4,2710.37%3,2910.29%−69,407−6.04%1,149,457SC
South Dakota 3139,33343.03%150,54346.49%331,2509.65%1,4720.45%1,2280.38%−11,210−3.46%323,826SD
Tennessee 11909,14648.00%11863,53045.59%105,9185.59%6,4270.34%5,0200.27%4,0640.21%45,6162.41%1,894,105TN
Texas 322,459,68343.83%2,736,16748.76%32378,5376.75%4,8100.09%20,2560.36%12,1910.22%−276,484−4.93%5,611,644TX
Utah 5221,63333.30%361,91154.37%566,4619.98%4,6150.69%4,1290.62%6,8801.03%−140,278−21.07%665,629UT
Vermont 3137,89453.35%380,35231.09%31,02412.00%5,5852.16%1,1830.46%2,4110.93%57,54222.26%258,449VT
Virginia 131,091,06045.15%1,138,35047.10%13159,8616.62%9,1740.38%18,1970.75%−47,290−1.96%2,416,642VA
Washington 111,123,32349.84%11840,71237.30%201,0038.92%60,3222.68%12,5220.56%15,9550.71%282,61112.54%2,253,837WA
West Virginia 5327,81251.51%5233,94636.76%71,63911.26%3,0620.48%93,86614.75%636,459WV
Wisconsin 111,071,97148.81%11845,02938.48%227,33910.35%28,7231.31%7,9290.36%15,1780.69%226,94210.33%2,196,169WI
Wyoming 377,93436.84%105,38849.81%325,92812.25%1,7390.82%5820.28%−27,454−12.98%211,571WY
TOTALS:53847,400,12549.24%37939,198,75540.71%1598,085,4028.40%685,2970.71%485,7980.50%420,0240.44%8,201,3708.52%96,275,401US

[29]

Close states

State where the margin of victory was under 1% (8 electoral votes):

  1. Kentucky, 0.96%

States where the margin of victory was under 5% (109 electoral votes):

  1. Nevada, 1.02%
  2. Georgia, 1.17%
  3. Colorado, 1.37%
  4. Virginia, 1.96%
  5. Arizona, 2.22%
  6. Tennessee, 2.41%
  7. Montana, 2.88%
  8. South Dakota, 3.46%
  9. North Carolina, 4.69%
  10. Texas, 4.93%

States where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (143 electoral votes):

  1. Mississippi, 5.13%
  2. Indiana, 5.58%
  3. Florida, 5.70%
  4. South Carolina, 6.04%
  5. Missouri, 6.30%
  6. Ohio, 6.36%
  7. North Dakota, 6.81%
  8. Alabama, 6.96%
  9. New Mexico, 7.32%
  10. Oklahoma, 7.81%
  11. Oregon, 8.09%
  12. Pennsylvania, 9.20% (tipping point state)
  13. New Hampshire, 9.95%

Voter demographics

The Presidential vote in social groups (percentages)
Social groupClintonDolePerot% of
total vote
Total vote49418100
Party and ideology
Conservative Republicans688521
Moderate Republicans2072713
Liberal Republicans444892
Conservative independents1960197
Moderate independents50301715
Liberal independents 5815184
Conservative Democrats 692376
Moderate Democrats8410520
Liberal Democrats895413
Gender and marital status
Married men40481033
Married women6328733
Unmarried men49351215
Unmarried women6228720
Race
White 4346983
Black 8412410
Hispanic 722165
Asian 434881
Religion
Protestant 4150838
Catholic 5337929
Other Christian 45411216
Jewish 781633
Other6023116
None 5923137
White Religious Right
White Religious Right 2665817
Everyone else5435983
Age
18–29 years old53341017
30–44 years old4841933
45–59 years old4841926
60 and older4844724
First time voters
First time voter5434119
Everyone else4842891
Sexual orientation
Gay, lesbian, or bisexual 662375
Heterosexual 4743895
Education
Not a high school graduate5928116
High school graduate51351324
Some college education48401027
College graduate4446826
Postgraduate education 5240517
Family income
Under $15,00059281111
$15,000–30,0005336923
$30,000–50,00048401027
$50,000–75,0004745721
$75,000–100,000444879
Over $100,000385469
Region
East 5534923
Midwest 48411026
South 46.045.97.330
West 4840820
Community size
Population over 500,0006825610
Population 50,000 to 500,0005039821
Suburbs4742839
Rural areas, towns45441030

Source: Voter News Service exit poll, reported in The New York Times , November 10, 1996, 28. [30]

Polling controversy

Some post-election debate focused on the alleged flaws in the pre-election polls, almost all of which overstated Clinton's lead over Dole, some by a substantial margin. For example, a CBS/New York Times poll overstated Clinton's lead by 10 points despite having an error margin of 2.4%. The odds against this sort of error occurring were 15,000:1. [31] A less extreme example was a Pew poll that overstated Clinton's lead by 5 points, the chances of this happening were 10:1 against. [31] Gerald Wasserman, having examined eight pre-election polls, argued that pure chance would produce such a skewed result in favor of Clinton only once in 4,900 elections. [32] However, because Clinton won the election by a comfortable margin, [33] there was no major reaction towards the inaccuracy of the polls. [33] The polls were also less inaccurate than the overwhelming majority of those taken in 1948, [33] which predicted that losing candidate Thomas Dewey would beat President Harry Truman by a comfortable margin, [33] and in 1980, which predicted that Ronald Reagan would win by a smaller margin than he did. [33]

See also

Notes

  1. Others since the Civil War to win a county in every state have been Clinton in 1992, Ronald Reagan in 1984 and 1980, Richard Nixon in 1972 and 1960, John F. Kennedy in 1960, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 and 1952, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944, 1940, 1936 and 1932, Woodrow Wilson in 1912, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, James A. Garfield in 1880 and Ulysses S. Grant in 1872.
  2. In New York, the Clinton vote was a fusion of the Democratic and Liberal slates. There, Clinton obtained 3,649,630 votes on the Democratic ticket and 106,547 votes on the Liberal ticket. [24]
  3. In New York, the Dole vote was a fusion of the Republican, Conservative, and Freedom slates. There, Dole obtained 1,738,707 votes on the Republican ticket, 183,392 votes on the Conservative ticket, and 11,393 votes on the Freedom ticket. [24]
  4. In South Carolina, the Perot vote was a fusion of the Reform and Patriot slates. There, Perot obtained 27,464 votes on the Reform ticket and 36,913 votes on the Patriot ticket. [24]
  5. On the California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas election ballots, James Campbell of California, Perot's former boss at IBM, was listed as a stand-in Vice-Presidential candidate until Perot decided on Pat Choate as his choice for Vice President.
  6. The Green Party vice presidential candidate varied from state to state. Winona LaDuke was his vice presidential candidate in eighteen of the twenty-two states where he appeared on the ballot. Anne Goeke was Nader's running mate in Iowa [26] and Vermont. Madelyn Hoffman was his running mate in New Jersey. [27] Muriel Tillinghast was his running mate in New York. [28]
  7. Candidates receiving less than 0.05% of the total popular vote.
  8. Candidates receiving less than 0.05% of the total popular vote.

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References

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  11. Lewis, Matt (September 25, 2008). "McCain and Obama Can Learn A Lot From Past Debaters". Townhall.com. Retrieved August 18, 2016. It's the age of his ideas that I question
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  15. Romano, Andrew (August 16, 2016). "Down Ticket #3: Republicans want to keep Congress by sacrificing Trump. Good luck with that". Yahoo! News.
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  18. Eskenazi, Michael, "For both Gore and GOP, a guilty verdict to watch" Archived April 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine , CNN.com, March 3, 2000
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  23. Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
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  25. Matthews, Dylan (August 9, 2012). "The effect of veep picks, in two charts". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 27, 2014. Jack Kemp, whose home state of New York saw an even stronger anti-Republican swing in 1996
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Further reading

Books

Journals

Web references

Campaign websites
Other links