What are the best and worst election outcomes in U.S. history?

What are the best and worst election outcomes in U.S. Presidential history?

In the upcoming version of President Infinity, going to Highscores and clicking the Historical button will load results for every U.S. Presidential election. They are ranked according to our algorithm, which looks at electoral college seats as a percentage, and popular vote as a percentage. It then combines these two, and generates a score.

So, what are the results?

Best election results in U.S. Presidential history.

Here you can see the top 10 of all time, all 58 of which span elections from 1789 (the first) to 2016 (the most recent). Not surprisingly, George Washington occupies the number 1 and number 2 spots. 5 of the top 10 spots are held by people who won in the first 30 years of the history of the country (Washington twice, Jefferson, Monroe twice).

Somewhat surprising is that the time from 1964 to 1984 contains 3 of the top 10 (Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan), making it a hot spot for landslide elections not seen since the very beginning of the country.

All of the top 10 Presidents won their respective elections with a strong majority (57% is the lowest, Franklin Roosevelt in 1932) and very strong electoral college majorities.

There are 58 results in total, so what about the bottom 8?

Worst election results in U.S. Presidential history.

As can be seen, the prize for last place goes to John Quincy Adams, who received neither an electoral college majority or the most votes in the popular vote. Rather, the election was sent to the House to decide. Andrew Jackson, who received the highest number of electoral college votes and the highest percentage of the popular vote (41%) in the election, however, would get his revenge, winning back to back elections in 1828 and 1832 (for 28th and 24th places, respectively).

Lincoln gets second to last, with his victory in 1860 – the last before the Civil War – being an extremely weak showing, with only 40% of the popular vote despite a comfortable electoral college victory. Lincoln’s 1864 results are an anomaly, as they contained only the Union states, but he did significantly better, getting a ranking of 11th, albeit after a significant part of the country voted to secede.

Trump’s 2016 victory gets 53rd and a spot in the last 8. What about Obama? 2012 gets him 35th, and 2008 29th, so right in the middle of the pack. George W. Bush also gets a spot in the last 8 for his 2000 election, and 48th for his 2004, which combined are the weakest election results of any two-term President.

The President with the greatest disparity in results? That would be Nixon, getting 56th in 1968, but then 8th in 1972.

What will 2020 bring? We shall see.

3 thoughts on “What are the best and worst election outcomes in U.S. history?”

  1. In past versions of the game, when results would come in certain states would be locked in or “called” for a candidate and it would call the election at a certain point in the night like in real life. Is there any chance of that feature coming back in later versions?

  2. @John,

    Yes, it’s on the to-do list. I would like to see it implemented not with the next update for President Infinity, but the round of updates for it after Congress Infinity is updated.

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