Guide to U.S. Elections


Edited by: CQ Press

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    Editors' Note

    The fifth edition of CQ Press's Guide to U.S. Elections has been revised and expanded in many ways to provide readers a logical and more comprehensive explanation of voting—the fundamental act of self-government.

    The editors of this new edition have retained numerous features and content from earlier editions, including multiple means of accessing information, such as through cross-reference page flags and several indexes. This edition also continues to emphasize the origins and development of U.S. elections at the federal and state levels as well as the rise of such important issues as campaign finance reform. Its historical background provides a framework for better understanding the comprehensive array of election returns that are the central feature of the Guide.

    Part I: Elections in America. This section, added to the previous edition, has been refined to provide readers a broad overview of the U.S. elections system. The introductory chapter, “The Evolution of American Elections,” outlines the history of elections, with a particular emphasis on the last seventy years of the twentieth century. This chapter also includes a list of election milestones for the last two hundred years.

    The second chapter, “Elections: An Expanding Franchise,” discusses the long—and often slow—expansion of the franchise in the United States from a highly restricted right to vote in its earliest days to the universal voting privilege that exists today. Issues of voter participation have once again come to the fore with partisan deadlock during the 2000 elections and record high voter turnout in the 2004 contest.

    Part II: Political Parties. First appearing in the previous edition, chapter 3 on campaign finance was developed to chronicle the overriding importance—and influence—of campaign spending and contributions as they became the single most controversial aspect of U.S. elections at the end of the twentieth century. Substantially revised for 2005, this chapter highlights the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 and its consequences, intended and otherwise. Chapter 4, “Politics and Issues, 1945–2004,” helps readers to better understand the historical context in which elections since World War II have been held.

    Chapter 5, “Political Party Development,” has been substantially expanded and revised. In addition to providing a history of the evolution of parties, it examines party systems and addresses the question why two parties? Chapter 6, “Historical Profiles of American Political Parties,” profiles all major and most minor parties, many of which no longer exist.

    Part II also contains a chapter explaining the historical significance of southern primaries, which wielded a disproportionate impact upon the American electoral process during much of the twentieth century.

    Part III: Presidential Elections. This section reviews all U.S. presidential races and includes a detailed elections chronology, nominating convention highlights and platforms, electoral college results (with accompanying maps), and popular vote returns for primaries and general elections.

    Part IV: Congressional Elections. This section highlights election returns for the House and Senate. The election data are supported by chapters explaining the history and evolution of voting for members of the legislative branch of government. Part 4 also includes a chapter on the history of reapportionment and redistricting, the historically decennial process that realigns representation in the House after every census. New to this edition is a discussion of the unprecedented “mid-decade” redistricting in Texas. Also new is an examination of the way that population location, growth, and decline have affected the allocation of House seats throughout U.S. history.

    Part V: Gubernatorial Elections. This section follows the pattern of the previous sections with a detailed listing of general and primary returns for the election of governors, supported by a chapter discussing gubernatorial history. It highlights the 2003 recall of California governor Gray Davis and the election of his successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Finding Information

    A reader can locate information in a number of ways. The table of contents offers an overall view of the book's scope and allows quick access to major sections. Primary divisional headings direct a reader quickly to more specific information. A separate listing identifies tables, figures, and boxes.

    The reader can also turn to one of the six candidate indexes: presidential; gubernatorial general; gubernatorial primary; Senate general; Senate primary; and House. Each of these indexes lists the year(s) each candidate ran for office.

    The general index provides references to all sections of the Guide, except the popular returns, which are indexed in the candidate indexes. The general index can be used independently as a source of information separate from the candidate indexes.

    ICPSR and Other Election Data

    The bulk of election returns used in the Guide to U.S. Elections for presidential, gubernatorial, Senate, House, and southern primary races was supplied by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Except where noted, returns through 1972 came from the ICPSR. (See box, ICPSR Historical Election Returns File, p. xvi and details on the presentation of these returns in this book, pp. 673,871, 1321, and 1477.)

    CQ Press is grateful to the ICPSR staff for its assistance and advice in supplementing this information since the first edition in 1975. We thank especially Richard C. Rockwell, executive director, and Erik W. Austin, director of archival development.

    Major sources used to update or supplement the ICPSR data are identified at the beginning of each section. The primary sources include the biennial America Votes series, compiled by Richard M. Scammon, Alice V. McGillivray, and Rhodes Cook, and American State Governors, 1776–1976, Vol. 1, by Joseph E. Kallenbach and Jessamine S. Kallenbach. Additional valuable assistance in adding and correcting data and supplying missing full names has been provided by elections scholars Michael Dubin and Kenneth C. Martis.


    Any reference book of over 1500 pages is the work of many individuals, and this edition of the Guide is no exception. Principal contributors to the fifth edition are as follows:

    • Rhodes Cook — Historical Profiles of American Political Parties; Historical Significance of Southern Primaries; Senate Elections, Gubernatorial Elections; and extensive data on election returns and results.
    • Marian L. Currinder — Campaign Finance.
    • Geoff Earle — Congressional Elections: Introduction and House Elections.
    • Deborah Kalb — The Evolution of American Elections; Elections: An Expanding Franchise; Politics and Issues, 1945–2004; Chronology of Presidential Elections; and Nominating Conventions.
    • Kenneth C. Martis — Political Geography of Reapportionment.
    • John L. Moore — Presidential Elections: Introduction; Convention Chronology, 1831–2004; and The Electoral College.
    • Gerald Pomper and Miles Pomper — Political Party Development and Presidential Primaries.
    • David R. Tarr — Reapportionment and Redistricting. He also provided valuable insight on the ongoing evolution of the Guide.

    Their efforts have enhanced the foundation laid by those who contributed to one or more earlier editions. These contributors include Bob Benenson, Michael Dubin, Phil Duncan, Ronald D. Elving, Alan Ehrenhalt, Charles C. Euchner, Paul Finkelman, John L. Moore, Warden Moxley, Patricia Ann O'Connor, Matt Pinkus, Jon P. Preimesberger, Robert H. Resnick, David R. Tarr, and Elizabeth Wehr.

    The editors are grateful to Prof. Richard Rose, internationally known elections expert, for once again providing an introduction to this work. He is the author of many books and studies on elections.

    Editorial development of this edition of the Guide was under the direction of Kathryn Suarez, director of Library Reference Publishing; Andrea Pedolsky, chief, editorial acquisitions; acquisitions editors Shana Wagger and Mary Carpenter; and development editor David Arthur. Valuable contributions were also made by Tim Arnquist and Olivia Rubenstein.

    Production was coordinated by Sally Ryman with assistance from Anna Socrates and Anne Stewart. Also making major contributions to this edition were copyeditor and former CQ Press staffer Jon Preimesberger. The volume was composed by BMWW, indexed by Indexing Partners LLC, and proofread by Inge Lockwood and Jan Wickline.

    Inevitably in a reference work of this size and complexity, errors and omissions occur. We are grateful to the diligent readers who have noted possible errors in earlier editions and have supplied additional details where existing information was missing or incomplete. In all cases, editors have attempted to verify new details brought to our attention and have made revisions where possible. CQ Press again invites comments and suggestions from scholars and other users of the Guide to U.S. Elections.

    The CQ Press Electronic Library Offers Powerful Online Databases to Complement Your Elections Research

    The extensive statistics and in-depth analysis provided in the Guide to U.S. Elections become even more powerful tools when paired with the online elections resources available in the CQ Press Electronic Library.

    The CQ Voting and Elections Collection allows for sophisticated research on voting and elections data, targeted to specific informational needs. The dynamic, user-friendly interface allows researchers to quickly and easily compare and contrast voting and elections data at the presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial levels. It is also possible to conduct detailed research on voters and voter demographics as well as on the U.S. campaign and election system. Advanced search and analysis features, such as “Seat Status and Competition,”“Party Control, Split Districts, and Third Parties,” and “Party Switches and Special Elections” provide access to professional-level research that will inform and enhance knowledge.

    The same sort of detailed research on congressional and Supreme Court voting history can be conducted with the CQ Congress Collection and the CQ Supreme Court Collection. These comprehensive databases include unique voting analysis tools. The useful “Floor Votes” and “Key Votes” features in the CQ Congress Collection help you compare, contrast, and analyze more than one million vote records (yeas and nays) and explore in-depth analysis of key votes from 1945 to the present. The “Voting Bloc Analysis” feature in the CQ Supreme Court Collection allows fascinating compare and contrast research on justices' voting records.

    In addition, all CQ Electronic Library resources offer multiple features that help with managing research efficiently. The “Your Profile” features help in saving and organizing searches, and the fast and easy CiteNow! feature assists in building bibliographies quickly and accurately.

    introduction The 2004 American Election: A Normal Election?

    Richard Rose, Director of the Centre for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland

    On November 2, 2004, candidates and their staffs were ready for an election as unusual as that of 2000.Lawyers and pollwatchers were prepared to file suits and continue fighting the election through legal briefs and affidavits until the Supreme Court decided the winner in December. However, after John Kerry conceded the critical state of Ohio, which George W. Bush won by 118,601 votes, the troops had to go home and accept that the presidential election of 2004 was decided in the normal way, after the votes were counted on election night.

    To recognize that this presidential election was different from that four years earlier is not proof that it was normal. To winning and losing candidates, each election is unique, and breathless insider accounts of a campaign will focus on the here and now rather than on enduring features of the American electoral system. An election can only be described as normal if its key features are typical of contests in preceding decades.

    The most normal feature in the 2004 presidential race was that the candidate with the most votes won. This has been the case in every presidential election since 1892, except that of George W. Bush's first-term victory. Thanks to an expanding American population, the 62,040,610 votes cast for Bush was the highest number ever won by a presidential candidate. His 51 percent share of the popular vote was close to the average winning share of 52 percent in presidential elections since 1948. Bush is representative of post–World War II winners in another respect: In six elections the winner has received less than half the vote and, in eight elections, an absolute majority. Unlike Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, who each won two contests with an absolute majority of the vote, and unlike Bill Clinton, who was twice victorious with just under half the vote, George W. Bush emerged once with less than half the vote and once with an absolute majority.

    Presidential elections are held under winner-take-all rules, for it is impossible to share a single office between two or more candidates according to their share of the popular vote. Proportional representation, therefore, can only be achieved in a multi- member election, such as the election of hundreds of members of a legislature. The result of winner-take-all is, obviously, that the loser gets nothing. The winner's claim to be president of all the people is constitutionally correct, but after a hard and sometimes bitter contest, it may be insufficient to console many of them, such as the 59,028,439 who voted for John Kerry or the 9,103,882 who voted for the forty-first president, George H. W. Bush, when he was defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992.

    The relatively narrow margin of victory for Bush in 2004 is proof that the election was competitive, a necessary condition of democratic elections. It contrasts favorably with the 2004 Russian presidential election, in which Vladimir Putin demonstrated his influence on the media, as well as his popularity, by winning 71 percent of the vote. It contrasts even more favorably with presidential elections held in “facade” democracies that for the incumbent produce 99 percent of the vote, a result literally and figuratively too good to be true.

    Although the two-party system in the United States is strong, this idealized norm has repeatedly been breached by protest candidates, such as Ross Perot, or candidates, such as Strom Thurmond or John Anderson, who lead a breakaway movement from one of the two parties. Three or more candidates on the ballot remove the certainty of the winner receiving half the popular vote. In 1992 Bill Clinton won the presidency with 43 percent of the vote against 37 percent for President George H. W. Bush because Ross Perot took almost 19 percent of the popular vote. In 2000 supporters of Albert Gore blamed Ralph Nader for losing the Democrats the election, as Nader took 2,882,738 votes nationwide. The perceived closeness of the race in 2004 discouraged potential Nader supporters; in 15 states his name was not on the ballot, or he could only receive write-in votes. Nader's total vote in 2004 thus dropped to 465,650. In consequence, the candidates of the two major parties won 99 percent of the popular vote, the highest total since 1988, when the elder Bush and Michael Dukakis together gained the same share.

    Since the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, a series of federal and state laws have made it easier for people to register to vote. The closeness of the 2000 race encouraged parties and civic groups to increase turnout in 2004, and media focus on the fact that every vote could count provided an added stimulus. In many states, there are indications of “over-registration,” because the names of people who had moved away or died were not removed from the list of registered electors. In Alaska and Maine, for example, the number of people listed as registered voters exceeded the voting-age population. The nationwide turnout in 2004 was 60.7 percent of the estimated population of voting age, 8.5 points higher than in 2000 and the highest since 1968. Turnout rose more than the average in the most competitive states and less than average in the dozen least competitive states. For example, in hard fought Ohio, turnout was 55.8 percent of the voting-age population in 2000 and 66.3 percent in 2004.

    The proportion of the voting-age population registered to vote has risen to 85.6 percent nationwide, compared to 77.3 percent in 2000. This figure remains below the proportion of the electorate registered in European democracies. Efforts to achieve virtually 100 percent registration face major obstacles. Unlike some European countries, the United States has no requirement for every citizen to have a national identity card; a social security card does not contain photo identification, and drivers' licenses, like voter registration, are a state, not a federal, responsibility. Equally important, many registered voters do not actually vote. In the 2004 election, three in every ten registered electors did not cast a vote.

    While the outcome of the presidential race often dominates election reporting, a bigger book is needed to tell the full story of what has happened when Americans go to the polls. Competitive elections have been held for more than two centuries, and the vote for the presidency is not the only vote that Americans cast: more than 450 federal offices, including representatives and senators, are contested on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and races for governorships and other state and local posts push into the thousands the total number of people elected in one day.

    The fifth edition of the splendid Guide to U.S. Elections is welcome, for it adds new features as well as updates the previous edition, which concluded with the 2000 election. For example, the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act has altered campaign financing and funding, so this edition expands substantially the discussion of campaign finance to match increased spending and regulation. New features build on decades of authoritative work on American elections by CQ Press staff and their associates. The fifth edition makes good use of their expertise in presenting complex information clearly in both prose and in tables.

    Part one, “Elections in America,” is valuable in showing how the constitutional framework of a separately elected chief executive and legislature has survived for centuries through a process of adaptation. It also shows that while the United States has the oldest continuous history of competitive elections, for more than half this period elections were far from democratic. Initially, the right to vote was restricted to adult white males with property, and some states followed English practice of the period by not allowing Catholics or Jews to vote. In the nineteenth century, the right to vote was granted to a large majority of white males. Between the Civil War and World War I, some states allowed African Americans and women the vote, but the right to vote was not guaranteed women until the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.There was no federal guarantee of the right to vote for African Americans until after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    At a time when the significance of political parties is being questioned by single-issue advocacy groups, and television turns politicians into personalities, the discussion of the development of American political parties is particularly important. Part two emphasizes the institutional roots of partisanship in the U.S. political system, notwithstanding the fact that the Founding Fathers did not expect elections to be fought by parties and the word “party” was a term of abuse. In the 1820s electoral competition between two parties emerged, and by 1848 the presidency was contested by three parties. In the 1860 election, which immediately preceded the outbreak of the Civil War, the candidates of four parties, including the recently formed Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, won at least 12 percent of the popular vote and electoral college votes. Competition between Republicans and Democrats for the White House finally emerged after the Civil War.

    Chapter 6, profiling political parties, throws light on what is obscured by the assertion that the United States has a two-party system. Third parties have not won the White House or many seats in Congress but their interventions have sometimes determined which of the two leading parties won and forced changes in their positions. A separate chapter on the Democratic primaries in the South explains how that institution was used to maintain a system of racially biased competition in which whites could vote but blacks could not until the federal courts and Congress guaranteed the right of people of all races to vote.

    Although presidential races are often turned into personality contests, they are also about issues. The 2004 presidential races featured competing appeals for votes on the grounds of moral values, fundamentalist or liberal, how to conduct a war against terrorism, and the state of the nation's economy and health care. Chapter 4 shows that the appeal to issues is nothing new in American politics. Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson won elections emphasizing expansive social programs financed through taxation, while other Democratic candidates have lost on these same issues. Ronald Reagan campaigned against big government and won two elections, while Barry Goldwater took a similar position and was buried in a landslide by Lyndon Johnson and his Great Society program. The Vietnam War is a reminder that the commitment of American troops to battle overseas has long fostered political debate.

    Presidential candidates may appeal to voters as personalities, but they owe their place on the ballot to the party that nominates them. Chapters in part three document the changing path to securing the nomination. From the launch of party politics until the mid-twentieth century, national conventions of party bosses decided who would be the Democratic and Republican candidates; full facts and figures are given for each convention. Since then, primaries have become critical in deciding who the nominees will be. The transitory nature of primaries, which eliminate many candidates, makes it difficult to trace information in later years. Primaries are held at different times and by different rules in different states, and the Guide offers an indispensable and comprehensive source of information about the changing practice of primaries and how they work today.

    What voters do with their ballot is only the start in deciding how an election is won and lost. After votes are totalled, members of the Electoral College cast votes in each of the 50 states, and it is this vote that decides the presidency. The Guide documents how this process is intended to work. It also documents what happens when things do not work smoothly, as happened in the 2000 presidential election and after the election of 1876, when the House of Representatives decided the outcome in default of the Electoral College.

    Electing a president is only one part of a U.S. national election, which also involves the choice of 435 members of the House of Representatives and sufficient senators to determine which party controls the upper house of Congress. The outcome of elections for the House and Senate is critical in determining what a president can and cannot do domestically.

    Part four documents the results of elections for the House since 1824 and since the popular election of senators began in 1913. It shows how the increase in split-ticket voting (an individual voting for candidates of different parties for president and for Congress) has led to an era of divided government, with different parties in control of the White House and Congress. Divided government is sometimes praised because it can require partisan politicians to moderate their views to achieve a cross- party coalition to enact legislation. It can be attacked, however, on the grounds that it blurs accountability for the actions of government and makes it more difficult for the president, the only official accountable to the nation as a whole, to carry through a party program.

    The Republican Party showed its strength in 2004 by winning control of both houses of Congress as well as the White House, a situation that has been normal for many Democratic presidents but not for many successful Republicans. The membership of the House of Representatives is divided relatively evenly with Republicans holding 232 seats and the Democrats 202.Nation- ally, each party's share of the seats was almost exactly in proportion to its share of the total vote in congressional elections. GOP candidates won 50 percent of that vote and 53 percent of the seats, while the Democrats won 47 percent of the vote and 47 percent of the seats.

    However, at the level of the congressional district, elections to the House of Representatives are today uncompetitive. In 2004 the average representative won by a landslide, and in only a dozen seats was the margin of victory less than 7 percent. In numerous seats around the country there was no contest, as an incumbent member of Congress did not face an opponent from the other major party. The low number of competitive seats reflects the readiness of state legislatures to draw boundaries that create safe seats, for example, by giving racial minorities a district in which they are a big majority rather than drawing boundaries that spread the group among several districts, where they might cast the swing vote but nowhere be a majority of electors.

    The ability of congressional Democrats as well as Republicans to win by a big margin, whoever holds the White House, reflects the advantages of incumbency. Incumbents try to win support by convincing people to think of them as “my” member of Congress, and thus insulate themselves against a national downturn in their party's fortunes. Incumbents can be more visible to their electorate and more easily raise campaign funds. This often scares off challenges in primaries as well as opposition in general elections. Part four examines the extent to which incumbency is successful.

    In a federal system, the governors of the 50 states are closer to their voters than is the president. Part five documents the outcome of gubernatorial elections from the beginning of the United States. Altogether, sections three, four, and five make it possible for readers from Alabama to Wyoming to trace how his or her state has voted in presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections for as long as it has been part of the Union.

    Given the number of offices up for election in a four-year period and the number of elections since 1789, any reference book on elections must be big. The fifth edition of the Guide to U.S. Elections is comprehensive enough to offer readers a one-stop service, bringing together results that would otherwise be scattered across many books and libraries. Most of this information is not available on Web sites, because American elections are 200 years older than the Internet. A thorough index makes it easy to find information quickly; and a format mixing prose, tables, and boxed features invites hours of browsing for insights into American politics past and present.

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