How deceptive is the percentage of popular vote in presidential elections? (Not to mention the Electoral College scam- a method used to prevent a true democratic form of government that takes the power away from the people and into the hands of the Republic.) From A People’s History of America by Howard Zinn:
The repeated elections of Republican candidates, Reagan in 1980 and 1984, George Bush in 1988, were treated by the press with words like “landslide” and “overwhelming victory.” They were ignoring four facts: that roughly half the population, though eligible to vote, did not; that those who did vote were limited severely in their choices to the two parties that monopolized the money and the media; that as a result many of their votes were cast without enthusiasm; and that there was little relationship between voting for a candidate and voting for specific policies….
…Because our peculiar voting arrangements allow a small margin of popular votes to become a huge majority of electoral votes, the media can talk about “overwhelming victory,” thus deceiving their readers and disheartening those who don’t look closely at the statistics. Could one say from these figures that “the American people” wanted Reagan, or Bush, as President? One could certainly say that more voters preferred the Republican candidates to their opponents. But even more seemed to want neither candidate. Nevertheless, on the basis of these slim electoral pluralities, Reagan and Bush would claim that “the people” had spoken.
Indeed, when the people did speak about issues, in surveys of public opinion, they expressed beliefs to which neither the Republican nor Democratic parties paid attention.
Zinn had calculated the numbers for Reagan and Bush I. So I went ahead and calculated all the elections since 1960 (and Reagan and Bush to verify Zinn). Why 1960? Data is scarce before then.
Here are the numbers for the Presidential Election Popular Vote Support Percentage of all eligible voters:
1960 JFK: 31.35%
1964 LBJ: 37.80%
1968 Nixon: 26.41%
1972 Nixon: 33.51%
1976 Carter: 26.81%
1980 Reagan: 26.67%
1984 Reagan: 31.21%
1988 Bush I: 26.75%
1992 Clinton: 23.73%
1996 Clinton: 24.12%
2000 Bush II: 24.52%
2004 Bush II: 28.04%
2008 Obama: 30.06%
I had to calculate these stats on my own because they do not come up in the search engines quickly enough for me (I tried three different permutations of keywords before finally using the two sets of data and a spreadsheet to divide them), which also demonstrates Zinn’s point about how conditioned we all have come to accept the “popular vote percentage” and “electoral vote counts”. The only time these stats were really brought to our attention occurred when Ross Perot received over 17 million votes in 1992 and when George W. Bush didn’t even win the popular vote in 2000.
Feel free to draw your own conclusions and observations.