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[Puzzleblogger Kevan Choset, August 8, 2005 at 11:58am] Trackbacks
Popular Vote:

After the 2004 Presidential election, when Bush supporters said that their candidate had received the most votes of any candidate in history (59.5 million), Kerry supporters often responded by pointing out that Kerry himself had gotten the second highest number of votes in history (55.9 million).

Who received the third highest popular vote in history?

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Who received the fourth and fifth highest popular votes in history?

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I'll leave this third one as an open question: Who received the third most votes of any candidate in any race in the 2004 elections? (Bush and Kerry were obviously first and second.)

NOTE: I'm having problems enabling comments. Check back shortly.

UPDATE: Comments are working.

Milhouse (www):
Barbara Boxer
8.8.2005 2:24pm
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
Yep.
8.8.2005 2:35pm
Kevan Choset (mail):
Barbara Boxer is correct. According to this site, she received 6,947,021 votes.
8.8.2005 2:49pm
Moral Hazard (mail):
The top two vote-getters in 2004 were George Bush and Dick Cheney. The third and fourth were John Kerry and John Edwards.
8.8.2005 2:58pm
Milhouse (www):
Moral Hazard, if you want to get technical like that, then you're actually wrong, because Bush and Cheney only got about 280 votes each. The 50 million or so that voted in support of the Bush-Cheney candidacy actually voted not for them but for state lists of electors. So it may turn out, if we look at it from the point of view you are urging, that Boxer was actually the top vote-getter in the entire election.

But in a non-hypertechnical sense, the Bush-Cheny joint candidacy was the top vote getter, the Kerry-Edwards team was second, and Boxer was third.
8.8.2005 3:14pm
Kim Scarborough (mail) (www):
An interesting related question: what candidate received the most votes as a percentage of the voting-eligible population? Probably George Washington, but I have no idea who the second-most is. Roosevelt in 1936?
8.8.2005 3:31pm
Kristian (mail) (www):
IIRC, George Washington was not elected by popular vote (of the electors). That was, I think a 19th change. I do think, however, that President Washington was elected with 100% of the electoral votes....
8.8.2005 3:53pm
Paul Rosenzweig (mail):
Washington received 69 electoral votes. At the time every elector cast two ballots, with the winner becoming President and the second highest total becoming vice president. There were 73 electors but 4 chose not to cast ballots (or perhaps given communications issues they didn't convey their ballots to Congress timely) so there were only 69 individual electors who voted. Amonst them Washington was unaninously selected by each. Adams received 34 votes and became VP. Interestingly, scattered other individuals received cumulatively 35 votes, so Adams did not have a majority of second votes cast.
8.8.2005 4:03pm
Amber (mail):
I don't know about you Moral Hazard, but in 2004 I only voted once and that vote counted for both president and the VP he selected. My ballot didn't have any option to split the tickets. And I was even voting in Chicago at the time!

Seriously, I don't understand why these stats are so perpetually interesting to folks, since they're almost entirely predicted by population growth. The only exception is the 1984 Reagan beating both 2000 candidates. It's right up there with unadjusted all-time movie grosses: Star Wars (1977) grossed only 2/3 as much as Titanic, but had 50% more attendees. Sure enough, when you adjust for inflation Star Wars made more money.
8.8.2005 4:17pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Kim Scarborough (mail) (www):
An interesting related question: what candidate received the most votes as a percentage of the voting-eligible population? Probably George Washington, but I have no idea who the second-most is. Roosevelt in 1936?


James Monroe in 1820. All but one electoral vote.
8.8.2005 4:45pm
Andrew E. Adel:
Syd- As I recall, the Monroe electoral vote was not unanimous merely because one elector threw his vote to another guy to preserve Washington as the only unanimously elected President.
8.8.2005 10:35pm