The election was held on November 4, 1980. Ronald Reagan with running mate George H.W. Bush beat Carter by almost 10 percentage points in the popular vote. Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time in twenty-five years on Reagan's coattails. The electoral college vote was a landslide, with 489 votes (representing 44 states) for Reagan and 49 votes for Carter (representing 6 states and the District of Columbia). NBC News projected Reagan as the winner at 8:15 pm EST (5:15 PST), before voting was finished in the West, based on exit polls. (It was the first time a broadcast network used exit polling to project a winner, and took the other broadcast networks by surprise.) Carter conceded defeat at 9:50 pm EST. Carter's loss was the worst performing of an incumbent President since Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 by a margin of 18%. Carter's defeat is the most lopsided defeat for any incumbent president in an election where only two candidates won electoral votes. Also, Jimmy Carter is the first incumbent Democrat to serve only one full term since James Buchanan and fail to secure re-election since Andrew Johnson (Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms while Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson served one full term in addition to taking over after the deaths of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy respectively).
John Anderson won 6.6% of the popular vote and failed to win any state outright. He found the most support in New England, fueled by liberal Republicans who felt Reagan was too far to the right; his best showing was in Massachusetts, where he won 15% of the popular vote. Conversely, Anderson performed worst in the South. Anderson failed to achieve the spoiler effect, due to Reagan's strong showing and the fact that he arguably attracted at least as many Democrats to his ticket as Republicans.
Libertarian Party candidate Ed Clark received 921,299 popular votes (1.1%). The Libertarians succeeded in getting Clark on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Clark's best showing was in Alaska, where he received 12% of the vote. The 921,299 votes achieved by the Clark-Koch ticket was the best performance by a Libertarian presidential candidate until 2012 when the Johnson Gray ticket received 1,273,667 votes.
Reagan won 53% of the vote in reliably Democratic South Boston.
Reagan's electoral college victory of 489 electoral votes (90.9% of the electoral vote) is the most lopsided electoral college victory for a non-incumbent President.
This was also the last election in which an incumbent president was defeated in two elections in a row. The only other time this happened was in 1892.
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Famous quotes containing the word results:
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