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Amusing Statistic:

From Crossing Wall Street:

Total Democratic Presidential Votes Since 1932: 745,407,082

Total Republican Presidential Votes Since 1932: 745,297,123

Of course, this weighs recent elections, in which more votes were cast, more heavily than older elections. I haven't checked the data, though they link to a spreadsheet with the data, which you folks can easily check if you'd like. Thanks to Prof. Brad Smith for the pointer.

Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
12.5.2008 12:18am
On behalf of the Republican Party, let me be the first to say I DEMAND A RECOUNT.

12.5.2008 12:32am
neurodoc:
When I was younger and more naive (pre-November 2000), it never occurred to me that reported vote counts might be less reliably accurate than my bank balance. So, I would have foolishly marveled were I told then that the sum total of votes separating Dems and Repubs over the course of 20 consecutive presidential elections was 109,959, no more, no less. Now, I'd let it go at "interesting," and wonder about the implications, if any.
12.5.2008 1:13am
Donny:
Isn't this the expected result? In a winner-take-all system, the minority party will slowly shift positions until they can win a majority. Over a long enough period, with sufficiently rational actors, we'd expect it to be 50/50, right?
12.5.2008 1:19am
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Total Democratic Presidential Votes Since 1932: 745,407,082
Total Republican Presidential Votes Since 1932: 745,297,123
Total Third-Party Presidential Votes Since 1932: 66,061,486

The overall third party vote is less than 10% of either major party - but 600 times the margin of victory.
12.5.2008 2:58am
PubliusFL:
12.5.2008 8:37am
PubliusFL:
Sorry, 1932 covers 20 elections rather than 30. Going to 1912 makes it 25, and to 1952 makes it 15. There are, of course, 5 elections every 20 years.
12.5.2008 8:41am
matttroke:
Mildly interesting, but mostly meaningless. Others have noted that where you peg the starting point will have a lot to do with the numbers that you get. My take is that the nature of the parties and the electorate has gone through so many alterations that the party voters in the 1800s, 1930s and today are so different that grouping them together is useless.

Post-civil war, the Republicans were the abolitionist civil-rights party, but probably have a different cast today. In the sixties, southern Democrats had a segregationist bent, not so much today. Teddy Roosevelt was a conservationist, but the Republicans don't wear that mantle today.
12.5.2008 9:58am
smokey t.b.:
mattroke -
You are wrong on the last point. Republicans are still conservationists (even environmentalists with a small "e"). What they are not are Environmentalists, the new religion of the left.
12.5.2008 10:33am
MarkField (mail):
PubliusFL's post would show even more impressive leads for Republicans if you went back to 1860. That should be an important clue that the country has been dominated by Republican presidents between 1860 and 2004 (24 victories v. 13 for Dems).

As others have noted though, the parties have changed ideologies over that time, so this says nothing in particular about policy.
12.5.2008 10:54am
Anonymouse Troll:
Chapman oddly states that his numbers, which are one order of magnitude off from the originals show "stunning parity" and then calls a change in one order of magnitude resulting from shifting the start point a "significant edge" for the Republicans. Some actuary.
12.5.2008 11:19am
Lawnchair Reactionary:

Republicans are still conservationists (even environmentalists with a small "e"). What they are not are Environmentalists, the new religion of the left.

How many Republicans of today would have supported the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act? Both were passed in the 70s with bipartisan support. Were post-war pre-Gingrich Republicans also a part of this new religion?
12.5.2008 1:34pm
Steve H:

Republicans are still conservationists (even environmentalists with a small "e"). What they are not are Environmentalists, the new religion of the left.

Um, "Drill, Baby, Drill!"?
12.5.2008 1:57pm
Bretzky (mail):
These numbers slightly overstate the similarity between the Republicans' and Democrats' vote totals. Using the roughly 66.0 million figure for third-party candidates that arbitraryaardvark cites above, you'd get 47.882% of the votes for the Dems and 47.875% for the Reps.

If you look at the average take per election, though, you get a percentage of 48.600% for the Dems and 47.515% for the Reps. This disparity makes sense when you consider that, since 1932, five major party candidates have failed to get 40% of the vote. Four of them have been Republicans: Hoover in '32, Landon in '36, Goldwater in '64, and Bush in '92. The only Democrat to have that happen was McGovern in '72.

Of course, if you go back to 1920, the numbers do look much better for the Republicans, since Alfred Smith was the Democrat's high water mark in the 1920s, and he only managed 40.8% of the vote in '28.
12.5.2008 3:11pm
DiversityHire:
Um, "Drill, Baby, Drill!"?

I won't speak for Republicans or Democrats, but capital-"e"-Environmentalists!! -bang-bang are today's equivalent of segregationists: rigid adherents to an irrational belief-system which posits the power to control and adversely affect the lives and well-being of others for the sake of a purity myth. Drilling for oil is the most sacred of their taboos as its an obvious metaphor for the rape of Mother Gaia. Did they ever think that maybe Gaia likes it too?
12.5.2008 5:01pm