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The Most Votes Ever Against A Candidate For President

President Bush's re-election was greeted by competing claims from the right and the left. The initial claim from Bush supporter was that George Bush received more votes for President than any other candidate in history. A quick check of the records indicates that the claim is accurate. Of course a 3% margin of victory hardly compares to any of the many election blowouts (15% or greater) in US history.

Next up was the competing claim from the left that more people voted against President Bush than any candidate in history. Ignoring for the moment that it is not possible to vote against a candidate (there are only two options in an election - you can vote for a candidate or not vote for a candidate), this particular claim is not true.

              Total Votes  Votes For (%)     Votes For Others (%)
Clinton 1992 104,425,014 44,909,326 (43%) 59,515,688 (57%)
Bush 2004 116,077,697 59,770,096 (51%) 56,307,601 (48%)

Of course the fact that 56,307,601 people didn't vote for Bush (i.e. voted against) is about as informative as the fact that 59,515,688 didn't vote for Bill Clinton - neither statistic really matters when it comes to the election results. In 1992 third party candidate Ross Perot garnered nearly 20 million votes and Bush (41) nearly 40 million votes, yet Bill Clinton won the Electoral College by a wide margin.

Both men won their respective elections because they received the most votes where it matters - in the Electoral College. Interestingly both won the popular vote by nearly the same percentage margin and total vote differential with the second place candidate.

Update: I wasn't happy with the initial wording I used in this post... I've updated the text to be clearer...

Update 2: As noted in the comments, the new record holder for most votes against him in a Presidential election (more accurately votes for other candidates - or "not for" the record holder) is actually now John Kerry, who has topped even Bubba's mark.


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Comments (30)

No one has been able to exp... (Below threshold)
Joni:

No one has been able to explain this oddity to me:

During this past week's election, in Washington, DC:

Votes FOR Bush: 9%
Votes FOR Kerry: 90%
Votes FOR Nader: 1%

???

Washington, D.C. is full of... (Below threshold)

Washington, D.C. is full of urban blacks. What do you expect?

(I know its generalizing and all that but honestly, it really is full of people who live off of welfare)

Joni -- I don't understand ... (Below threshold)

Joni -- I don't understand what you find so surprising about that. DC is incredibly liberal. Republicans who work in DC tend to live in Virginia.

And Kevin, the mainsteam media has built this myth of Bill Clinton as the greatest politician ever (though they won't say so). Don't rain on their parade with facts.

The fact that 56,307,601... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

The fact that 56,307,601 people voted against Bush is about as informative as the fact that 59,515,688 voted against Bill Clinton.

I know your post is just a jab at those that were trying to claim that Bush had received the most against votes ever, so essentially were are in agreement. What bothers me the most, however, is again a maniacal liberal attempt to use "facts" that don't exist. What they need to be called on is that there is no "against" box on the ballot. You only vote "for" one candidate or the other. There very likely are a lot of voters that voted with the intention of voting against Bush, but a vote "for" Kerry is not proof of their intent. The liberals again, as in Florida 2000, claim to the know the intent of the voter from facts not in evidence.

Clinton. Now there's a real... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Clinton. Now there's a real sleazebag con artist. Yesterday on Hannity's show some lunkhead Lib called Bush a baby killer. How easily they forget that it was the Clinton Administration who killed innocent children. How easily they forget Waco. Not only did they kill children but they were American children. And they did it based on fraudulent reports regarding child abuse and gun violations. Yet no one in the news media complained. If anything they actually defended Clinton's mass murder.

Rodney, just to play devil'... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Rodney, just to play devil's advocate (a roll which I love):

While there's no place on the ballot to register a vote against a particular candidate, it's not unreasonable to accumulate all the votes for other candidates and contrast them with votes for a particular candidate. It's informative to see how the numbers compare, sort of a "different perspective."

But comparing total votes for a candidate from election to election is pretty useless, especially since under our election process, even the percentage of the popular vote is tangential to the actual election.

Ah, the people who ran the ... (Below threshold)

Ah, the people who ran the show at Waco were fully entrenched members of the Bush 41’s Justice Department, Clinton had just taken office a month or so before. The decisions that were made at Waco were pretty much that same as those that gave us the Ruby Ridge tragedy, also a product of Bush’s Justice department You will see some striking differences in the way the stand off with the Montana Freemen and the Texas separatists were handled which were both successful. In other words Clinton’s Justice learned.

You all shouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good smear though.

Now, Kevin. When will you ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Now, Kevin. When will you learn not to inject facts into a debate with liberals? Everyone knows that Bill Clinton was the most beloved president of all time by ALL the people. You are allowing facts such as him never receiving half the popular vote to cloud his legacy.

Margo: Don't you know givin... (Below threshold)
julie:

Margo: Don't you know giving a box of crayons to a poor Iraqi kid prolongs the war?

Rick DeMent: What facts? You're just spouting opinions and not a very intelligent ones, either.

Boyd,Yes, I agree ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

Boyd,

Yes, I agree that is valid to contrast the votes for one candidate against the votes for another. But, it is all too easy to slip into the mode of accepting non-qualified claims. The claim in this case being that all Kerry votes all also votes "against" Bush. That presumes to know the intent of the voter. Someone may have not been against Bush, but simply liked Kerry more.

I really have a peave against arguments that include, either implicity or explicitly, a everyone knows type statement as proof of part of the point.

In this case, I feel the 'everyone knows' was implied to be that all for Kerry votes, represent anti-votes to Bush. I guess the 'against' could be construed to be just not 'for,' but that doesn't fit the context of the posts I've read.

Stupid facts. No fair usin... (Below threshold)
jb:

Stupid facts. No fair using them. You KNOW what the liberals were trying to say.

I thought Janet Reno was in... (Below threshold)
Frank:

I thought Janet Reno was in charge of the baby killing fiasco at Waco. She was Attorney General wasn't she?

It wasn't Clinton Fault when it's Waco and one month, but it's Bush's fault for 9-11 cuz it's 8 months Right!

Another example of Heads I win, tails you lose.

I guess Janet pissing off all those cuban-americans about Elian Gonzalez got Gore and Kerry their underwhelming Florida votes in 2000 and 2004.

You don't get it do you? T... (Below threshold)
Headzero:

You don't get it do you? The left only will acknowledge any statistics that put Kerry in the Whitehouse.

The rest is lies, fraud, intimidation, stealing, Rovian scare tactics blah blah blah blah blah.

I call it being sore losers. They need to point a finger at the mirror and see who is to blame and how they can fix that next time. If they don't the implosion of the Democratic party in 2008 will be spectacular, making Mondales run look like a landslide in favor of Mondale.

Steve L mentioned that "... (Below threshold)

Steve L mentioned that "Everyone knows that Bill Clinton was the most beloved president of all time by ALL the people".....I beg to differ....I know PLENTY of people who thought he was a dirtbag....It's not wise to use words like ALL and NONE when talking about opinions....You might be misrepresenting those of us who thought Billy Boy was a horny liar....

"Steve L mentioned that "Ev... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

"Steve L mentioned that "Everyone knows that Bill Clinton was the most beloved president of all time by ALL the people".....I beg to differ....I know PLENTY of people who"

And there's that Everyone knows statement, I let that one slip by accidently.
Sort of the written equivalent of knowing a politician is lying because his lips are moving.

Also lets give credit where credit is due. If #41 is to some great extent responsible for Waco, Then Clinton is to some great extent for the slipping economy, (which started before he even left office) and the for world environment that lead up to 9/11.

crzydjm and rodney dill, hi... (Below threshold)

crzydjm and rodney dill, his post
"Steve L mentioned that "Everyone knows that Bill Clinton was the most beloved president of all time by ALL the people"....."
was sarcastic. Next time READ THE WHOLE POST before replying.

Thank you, Henry. At least... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Thank you, Henry. At least someone got it.

I did read it, but somehow ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

I did read it, but somehow the sarcasm slipped by me that time. Not the first time and probably not the last time.
:)

Not exactly the brightes... (Below threshold)

Not exactly the brightest fish in the barrel is he?

Yup, today zinging me is <b... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

Yup, today zinging me is
Just like shootin' crayons in the box

Yep.....I admit that the sa... (Below threshold)

Yep.....I admit that the sarcasm slipped thru my hands as well....My apologies to Steve....Now to go bang my head against a wall...

And I thought CBS was jumpi... (Below threshold)
moseby:

And I thought CBS was jumping the gun when they called D.C. for kerry with only 0.0001% of the precincts having reported in....

from the root article...<br... (Below threshold)
brotherStefan:

from the root article...
>>"Next up was the competing claim from the left that more people voted against President Bush than any candidate in history."

I must be missing some statistical nuance here. If those votes that President Bush did NOT get can be deemed "votes against Bush", would not the same logic apply to those votes that Kerry/Edwards did NOT get? And if I've got that right, then the statement quoted above must be factually vacuous on its face. The honor of "historically most voted against" would have to go to the Kerry/Edwards team, exceeding those votes "against" Clinton by over 155,000 ballots.

Or am I missing something>

brotherStefan,LOL<... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

brotherStefan,

LOL

Very true, stefan, they use... (Below threshold)

Very true, stefan, they used the word "candidate" instead of "winning candidate". If they are generalizing for ALL forms of candidates, then yes, Kerry received more votes "against" than any candidate in history.

Oops! Make that the better... (Below threshold)
brotherStefan:

Oops! Make that the better part of a quarter milllion ballots (not 155,000). My math error stems from having been distracted by the blinding flash of inspiration derived from the posted statistics.

Something I haven't seen or... (Below threshold)
Roo:

Something I haven't seen or heard anywhere. This record number of votes- for and "against",,, there are more voters (was going to say citizens, but,,,)now, so how about starting to use percentages. seems like they'd be more accurate.

No, numbers are accurate, h... (Below threshold)

No, numbers are accurate, however, they need to be more statistically correct

It was pointed out to me af... (Below threshold)

It was pointed out to me after I linked to these numbers that Clinton comes in second to Kerry now.

Kerry was not voted for by over 59 million so he gets the first spot, and Clinton gets the second.

Bush is a confident man, bu... (Below threshold)
roger:

Bush is a confident man, but why so beleagured?
He's not a leader, he's a Texas Leaguer!!




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