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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ranking the Runners Up

A recent post noted that Trump's share of the electoral vote ranks 46th of the 58 presidential elections back to Washington.  What about the losers?  This table ranks the first runner-up in each election since 1804.  (I exclude the first four elections, in which it is possible to identify the winner, but the concept of "loser" is more problematic.  Before the 12th Amendment, each elector cast two votes, with the assumption that the second-ranking candidate would be vice president.  This system blew up with the tie of 1800.)

Clinton did pretty well, 8th among the 54 runners up.

Party designations:
D - Democratic
R - Republican
F - Federalist
W -Whig
NR - National Republican
DR - Democrat-Republican
P - Progressive


  1. 1876        Samuel J. Tilden (D)             49.86%
  2. 2000        Al Gore (D)                          49.44%
  3. 1916        Charles E. Hughes (R)         47.83%
  4. 2004        John Kerry (D)                     46.65%
  5. 1884        James G. Blaine (R)             45.39%
  6. 1976        Gerald R. Ford (R)               44.61%
  7. 1848        Lewis Cass (D)                     43.79%
  8. 2016        Hillary Clinton (D)             43.12%
  9. 1880        Winfield S. Hancock (D)      42.01%
  10. 1888        Grover Cleveland (D)           41.90%
  11. 1812        DeWitt Clinton (F)                41.01%
  12. 1960        Richard Nixon (R)                40.78%
  13. 1896        William J. Bryan (D)             39.37%
  14. 1856        John C. Fremont (R )            38.51%
  15. 2012        Mitt Romney (R )                  38.29%
  16. 1844        Henry Clay (W)                    38.18%
  17. 1824        Andrew Jackson (D-R)         37.93%
  18. 1948        Thomas E. Dewey (R)          35.59%
  19. 1968        Hubert Humphrey (D)          35.50%
  20. 1900        William J. Bryan (D)             34.68%
  21. 1908        William J. Bryan (D)             33.54%
  22. 1892        Benjamin Harrison (R)          32.66%
  23. 2008        John McCain (R )                 32.16%
  24. 1828        John Quincy Adams (NR)    31.80%
  25. 1992        George H.W. Bush (R)         31.23%
  26. 1996        Bob Dole (R)                        29.55%
  27. 1904        Alton B. Parker (D)               29.41%
  28. 1868        Horatio Seymour (D)            27.21%
  29. 1808        Charles C. Pinckney (F)        26.86%
  30. 1924        John W. Davis (D)                25.61%
  31. 1836        William Henry Harrison (W) 24.83%
  32. 1920        James M. Cox (D)                 23.92%
  33. 1860        John C. Breckinridge (SD)    23.76%
  34. 1988        Michael Dukakis (D)             20.63%
  35. 1840        Martin Van Buren (D)           20.41%
  36. 1944        Thomas Dewey (R )              18.64%
  37. 1832        Henry Clay (NR)                  17.13%
  38. 1952        Adlai E. Stevenson (D)         16.76%
  39. 1912        Theodore Roosevelt (P)        16.57%
  40. 1928        Alfred E. Smith (D)              16.38%
  41. 1816        Rufus King (F)                      15.67%
  42. 1940        Wendell Willkie (R )             15.44%
  43. 1852        Winfield Scott (W)                14.19%
  44. 1956        Adlai E. Stevenson (D)         13.75%
  45. 1872        Thomas Hendricks (D)         11.93%
  46. 1932        Herbert C. Hoover (R )         11.11%
  47. 1964        Barry M. Goldwater (R )        9.67%
  48. 1980        Jimmy Carter (D)                   9.11%
  49. 1864        George B. McClellan (D)       9.01%
  50. 1804        Charles C. Pinckney (F)         7.95%
  51. 1972        George S. McGovern (D)       3.16%
  52. 1984        Walter F. Mondale (D)           2.42%
  53. 1936        Alfred M. Landon (R)           1.51%
  54. 1820        John Quincy Adams (DR  )    0.43%