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Historical United States Presidential Election Results by Party

Last week, I finished a socials project on the United States Presidential Elections, 2012. By ‘I finished’, I mean ‘I researched Romney’s stance on important issues for approximately five hours the night before the presentation because the group member who was supposed to research Romney’s stance was too busy drawing our poster, and the other group member already worked too hard.

Of course, it was a great success and we got a B. High or low, you can probably guess…

As part of the project, we needed a poster with drawings (finished the morning before school, of course) and graphs. I (read: the other group member) pulled up some graphs about historical income tax rates, the American electorate, and an Obama vs. Romney meta-poll. However, what we really wanted was a graph of previous presidential elections’ electoral and popular vote distribution. (I honestly don’t know why nobody has made this graph before.)

If you came to this post for the same reason, then look no further than this:

Historical United States Presidential Election Electoral Vote Results (in Percent) by Main Party Affiliations, 1828 - 2012

Historical United States Presidential Election Popular Vote Results (in Percent) by Main Party Affiliations, 1828 - 2012

That’s right. From 1828 to 2012, all 57 United States Presidential Elections’ results – electoral and popular votes – are above. It starts from 1828 because of the whole 12th Amendment thing before 1804, because I didn’t want to add the Federalists into the graph (cluttering the legend), because there’s no popular vote information before 1824, and because 1824’s four Democratic-Republican candidates were too confusing to add in.

All my source data comes from the America Presidency Project. There are no errors with the electoral vote graph, as I used exact fractions. There may be slight rounding errors with the popular vote graph, but it should not deviate by more than five pixels.

The other rules I used to make this graph are:

  • The denominator in the electoral vote fractions are the total number of votes cast – this excludes abstaining electors;
  • When a faithless elector votes for a candidate affiliated with another party, his vote goes to that candidate’s party;
  • When a faithless elector votes for the vice-presidential nominee of his intended party to be president, his vote still goes to his intended party;
  • The States’ Rights Democratic Party’s votes count as the Democratic Party’s votes;
  • The Southern Democratic Party’s votes count as the Democratic Party’s votes;
  • The Constitutional Union Party’s votes count as the Whig Party’s votes;
  • The National Union Party’s votes count as the Republican Party’s votes;
  • The Liberal Republican Party’s votes count as the Republican Party’s votes;
  • All other votes count as Independent/Other votes;
  • And when multiple candidates from the same party run, their combined votes are added together.

So, yep. That took a lot of work, and I still don’t know how to export an Excel graph…

Feel free to do whatever you want with these graphs. If you ever need to use this for a socials project or something, leave a comment telling me what you did with it! I’m sure we’ll hear many… interesting stories.

P.S. Check out this historical United States Senate and House composition by left-right ideology graph over at xkcd. If only America’s presidential election system were like Canada’s prime minister election system – that is to say, non-existent (but generally based on leader of House majority) – then I could’ve used his graph…

12 responses

  1. Americans are fat!

    2012/11/11 at 09:41

  2. Bulgarians are tall!

    2012/11/11 at 19:35

  3. This is really impressive. I have no use for it, but I am sure some people do. You should post it somewhere else as well and become super internet famous (you are already regular internet famous), unfortunately, I don’t know where else you could post it.

    2012/11/12 at 01:13

  4. Also, it is kind of interesting how the electoral vote jumps up and down quite a bit, but the popular vote is somewhat consistent in shape.At least, I think it is interesting. :P

    2012/11/12 at 01:15

  5. I refuse to do anything with politics ever again :(

    Maybe I’ll become Google Images famous (like some things in O-New already are). My best bet would be if I get on page one of Google Images when somebody searches ‘historical american presidential election results’ or something. Or even page two, because there are literally no graphs of this kind there in ten pages of Google Images :(

    2012/11/12 at 01:15

  6. Yeah, generally parties with denser voter bases get more electoral votes, while parties with spread-out voter bases get fewer (such as basically all the green parties). Since 1928, parties which were neither Democrat nor Republican have only gotten electoral votes twice.

    2012/11/12 at 01:17

  7. What are you majoring in anyway?

    2012/11/12 at 12:36

  8. Dunno yet. Probably going into law, since it’s the only thing which doesn’t involve science nor creativity, lol.

    2012/11/12 at 19:25

  9. Wait so you’re not in college yet?

    2012/11/13 at 12:16

  10. objection

    2012/11/13 at 16:54

  11. overrulez

    2012/11/14 at 00:38

  12. Obviously not. If I were in college would I be writing an anime blog?

    2012/11/14 at 00:39