United States presidential election, 1980

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United States presidential election, 1980
United States
1976 ←
November 4, 1980
→ 1984

All 538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout52.6%[1]
 Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981-cropped.jpgCarter cropped.jpgJohnAnderson.png
NomineeRonald ReaganJimmy CarterJohn B. Anderson
PartyRepublicanDemocraticIndependent
Home stateCaliforniaGeorgiaIllinois
Running mateGeorge H. W. BushWalter MondalePatrick Lucey
Electoral vote489490
States carried446 + DC0
Popular vote43,903,23035,480,1155,719,850
Percentage50.8%41.0%6.6%

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About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Reagan/Bush, Blue denotes those won by Carter/Mondale. Numbers indicate the electoral votes per state.

President before election

Jimmy Carter
Democratic

Elected President

Ronald Reagan
Republican

 
Jump to: navigation, search
United States presidential election, 1980
United States
1976 ←
November 4, 1980
→ 1984

All 538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout52.6%[1]
 Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981-cropped.jpgCarter cropped.jpgJohnAnderson.png
NomineeRonald ReaganJimmy CarterJohn B. Anderson
PartyRepublicanDemocraticIndependent
Home stateCaliforniaGeorgiaIllinois
Running mateGeorge H. W. BushWalter MondalePatrick Lucey
Electoral vote489490
States carried446 + DC0
Popular vote43,903,23035,480,1155,719,850
Percentage50.8%41.0%6.6%

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About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Reagan/Bush, Blue denotes those won by Carter/Mondale. Numbers indicate the electoral votes per state.

President before election

Jimmy Carter
Democratic

Elected President

Ronald Reagan
Republican

The United States presidential election of 1980 was the 49th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1980. The contest was between incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, former California Governor Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent. Reagan, aided by the Iran hostage crisis and a worsening economy at home, won the election in a landslide, receiving the highest number of electoral votes ever won by a non-incumbent presidential candidate.

Carter, after defeating Edward M. Kennedy for the Democratic nomination, attacked Reagan as a dangerous right-wing radical. For his part, Reagan pledged to uplift the pessimistic mood of the nation, and won a decisive victory; in the simultaneous Congressional elections, Republicans won control of the United States Senate for the first time in 28 years. This election marked the beginning of what is popularly called the "Reagan Revolution"[2] and proved, according to conservative author Craig Shirley, "like those in 1800, 1860, and 1932, to be one of the most consequential in American history, radically altering the future and giving rise to a new generation of conservatism".[3]

Background[edit]

Throughout most of the 1970s, the United States underwent a wrenching period of low economic growth, high inflation and interest rates, and intermittent energy crises.[4] By October 1978, Iran, a major oil supplier to the United States at the time, was experiencing a major uprising that severely damaged its oil infrastructure and greatly weakened its capability to produce oil.[5] In January 1979, shortly after Iran's leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country, lead Iranian opposition figure Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from a 14-year exile and installed an Islamist regime that was hostile towards the United States.[5] The damage that resulted from Khomeini's rise to power would soon be felt throughout many American cities.[5] In the spring and summer of 1979 inflation was on the rise and various parts of the country were experiencing energy shortages.[6]

With the return of the long gas lines that were last seen just after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Carter was widely blamed and planned on delivering his fifth major speech on energy; however, he felt that the American people were no longer listening. Carter left for the presidential retreat of Camp David. "For more than a week, a veil of secrecy enveloped the proceedings. Dozens of prominent Democratic Party leaders—members of Congress, governors, labor leaders, academics and clergy—were summoned to the mountaintop retreat to confer with the beleaguered president." His pollster, Pat Caddell, told him that the American people simply faced a crisis of confidence because of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Vietnam War; and Watergate.[7] On July 15, 1979, Carter gave a nationally-televised address in which he identified what he believed to be a "crisis of confidence" among the American people. This came to be known as his "malaise" speech, although Carter never used the word in the speech.[8]

Many expected Senator Kennedy to successfully challenge Carter in the upcoming Democratic Primary. Kennedy’s official announcement was scheduled for early November. A television interview with Roger Mudd of CBS a few days before the announcement went badly, however. Kennedy gave an "incoherent and repetitive"[9] answer to the question of why he was running, and the polls, which showed him leading the President by 58-25 in August now had him ahead 49-39.[10]

Meanwhile, an opportunity for political redemption came for Carter as the Khomeini regime again gained public attention and allowed the taking of 52 American hostages by a group of Islamist students and militants at the US embassy in Tehran on November 5, 1979. Carter’s calm approach towards handling this crisis resulted in his approval ratings jump in the 60-percent range in some polls, due to a "rally ‘round the flag" effect.[11] By the beginning of the election season, the prolonged Iran hostage crisis had sharpened public perceptions of a national crisis.[12] On April 25, 1980, Carter's ability to use the hostage crisis to regain public acceptance eroded when his attempt to rescue the hostages ended in disaster and drew further skepticism towards his leadership skills.[13]

Following the failed rescue attempt, Jimmy Carter was overwhelmingly blamed for the Iran hostage crisis, in which the followers of the Ayatollah Khomeni burned American flags and chanted anti-American slogans, paraded the captured American hostages in public, and burned effigies of Carter. Carter's critics saw him as an inept leader who had failed to solve the worsening economic problems at home. His supporters defended the president as a decent, well-intentioned man being unfairly attacked for problems that had been building for years.[2]

Nominations[edit]

Democratic Party[edit]

Democratic candidates:

Candidates gallery[edit]

Jimmy Carter received the Democratic nomination amidst the most tumultuous primary race that an elected incumbent president has encountered since President Taft, during the highly contentious election of 1912. Having defeated Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in 24 of 34 primaries, President Carter entered the party's convention in New York in August with 60 percent of the delegates pledged to him on the first ballot. Despite this, Kennedy refused to drop out, leading to a fight at the convention.

There was a short-lived "Draft Muskie" movement in the summer of 1980 that was seen as a favorable alternative to a deadlocked convention. One poll showed that Secretary of State Edmund Muskie would be a more popular alternative to Carter than Kennedy, implying that the attraction was not so much to Kennedy as to the fact that he was not Carter. Muskie was polling even with Ronald Reagan at the time, while Carter was seven points down.[14] Although the underground "Draft Muskie" campaign failed, it became a political legend.[15]

After a futile last-ditch attempt by Kennedy to alter the rules to free delegates from the first-ballot pledge, Carter was renominated with 2,129 votes to 1,146 for Kennedy. Vice President Walter Mondale was also renominated. In his acceptance speech, Carter warned that Reagan's conservatism posed a threat to world peace and progressive social welfare programs from the New Deal to the Great Society.[16]

Republican Party[edit]

Republican candidates

Former Governor Ronald Reagan was the odds-on favorite to win his party's nomination for president after nearly beating incumbent President Gerald Ford just four years earlier. He won the nomination on the first round at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan, in July, then chose George H. W. Bush, his top rival, as his running mate.

Other candidates[edit]

John Anderson[edit]

John Anderson, after being defeated in the Republican primaries, entered the general election as an independent candidate, campaigning as a moderate Republican alternative to Reagan's conservatism. However, his campaign appealed primarily to frustrated anti-Carter voters.[17] His support progressively evaporated through the campaign season as his supporters were pulled away by Carter and Reagan. His running mate was Patrick Lucey, a Democratic former Governor of Wisconsin and then Ambassador to Mexico, appointed by President Carter.

Ed Clark[edit]

The Libertarian Party nominated Ed Clark for President and David H. Koch for Vice President. They received almost one million votes and were on the ballot in all 50 states plus Washington DC. Koch, a co-owner of Koch Industries, pledged part of his personal fortune to the campaign.

The Clark-Koch ticket received 921,128 votes (1.06% of the total nationwide).[18] This is the highest percentage of popular votes a Libertarian Party candidate has ever received in a presidential race to date, and remained the highest overall number of votes earned by a Libertarian candidate until the 2012 election, when Gary Johnson and James P. Gray became the first Libertarian ticket to earn more than a million votes, albeit with a lower overall vote percentage than Clark-Koch. His strongest support was in Alaska, where he came in third place with 11.66% of the vote, finishing ahead of independent candidate John Anderson and receiving almost half as many votes as Jimmy Carter.

Others[edit]

The Socialist Party USA nominated David McReynolds for President and Sister Diane Drufenbrock for Vice President, making McReynolds the first openly gay man to run for President and Drufenbrock the first nun to be a candidate for national office in the U.S.

The Citizens Party ran Barry Commoner for President and La Donna Harris for Vice President.

The Communist Party USA ran Gus Hall for President and Angela Davis for Vice President.

The American Party nominated Percy L. Greaves, Jr. for President and Frank L. Varnum for Vice President.

Rock star Joe Walsh ran a mock campaign as a write-in candidate, promising to make his song "Life's Been Good" the new national anthem if he won, and running on a platform of "Free Gas For Everyone." Though the 33-year-old Walsh was not old enough to actually assume the office, he wanted to raise public awareness of the election.

General election[edit]

Campaign[edit]

Interest rate crisis of 1980

Under federal election laws, Carter and Reagan received $29.4 million each, and Anderson was given a limit of $18.5 million with private fund-raising allowed for him only. They were not allowed to spend any other money. Carter and Reagan each spent about $15 million on television advertising, and Anderson under $2 million. Reagan ended up spending $29.2 million in total, Carter $29.4 million, and Anderson spent $17.6 million— partially because he (Anderson) didn't get Federal Election Commission money until after the election[citation needed].

The 1980 election is considered by some to be a realigning election, reaching a climate of confrontation practically not seen since 1932. Reagan's supporters praise him for running a campaign of upbeat optimism.[19] David Frum says Carter ran an attack-based campaign based on "despair and pessimism" which "cost him the election."[20] Carter emphasized his record as a peacemaker, and said Reagan's election would threaten civil rights and social programs that stretched back to the New Deal. Reagan's platform also emphasized the importance of peace, as well as a prepared self-defense.[19]

Immediately after the conclusion of the primaries, a Gallup poll held that Reagan was ahead, with 58% of voters upset by Carter's handling of the Presidency.[19] One analysis of the election has suggested that "Both Carter and Reagan were perceived negatively by a majority of the electorate."[21] While the three leading candidates (Reagan, Anderson and Carter) were religious Christians, Carter had the most support of evangelical Christians according to a Gallup poll.[19] However, in the end, Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority lobbying group is credited with giving Reagan two-thirds of the white evangelical vote.[22] According to Carter: "that autumn [1980] a group headed by Jerry Falwell purchased $10 million in commercials on southern radio and TV to brand me as a traitor to the South and no longer a Christian."[23]

The election of 1980 was a key turning point in American politics. It signaled the new electoral power of the suburbs and the Sun Belt. Reagan's success as a conservative would initiate a realigning of the parties, as liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats would either leave politics or change party affiliations through the 1980s and 1990s to leave the parties much more ideologically polarized.[2] While during Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign, many voters saw his warnings about a too-powerful government as hyperbolic and only 30% of the electorate agreed that government was too powerful, by 1980 a majority of Americans believed that government held too much power.[24]

Campaign promises[edit]

Reagan promised a restoration of the nation's military strength, at the same time 60% of Americans polled felt defense spending was too low.[25] Reagan also promised an end to "'trust me' government" and to restore economic health by implementing a supply-side economic policy. Reagan promised a balanced budget within three years (which he said would be "the beginning of the end of inflation"), accompanied by a 30% reduction in tax rates over those same years. With respect to the economy, Reagan famously said, "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."[19] Reagan also criticized the "windfall profit tax" that Carter and Congress enacted that year in regards to domestic oil production and promised to attempt to repeal it as president.[26] The tax was not a tax on profits, but on the difference between the price control-mandated price and the market price.[27]

On the issue of women's rights there was much division, with many feminists frustrated with Carter, the only candidate who supported the Equal Rights Amendment. After a bitter Convention fight between Republican feminists and antifeminists the Republican Party dropped their forty-year endorsement of the ERA.[28] Reagan, however, announced his dedication to women's rights and his intention to, if elected, appoint women to his cabinet and the first female justice to the Supreme Court.[29] He also pledged to work with all 50 state governors to combat discrimination against women and to equalize federal laws as an alternative to the ERA.[19] Reagan was convinced to give an endorsement of women's rights in his nomination acceptance speech.

Carter was criticized by his own aides for not having a "grand plan" for the recovery of the economy, nor did he ever make any campaign promises; he often criticized Reagan's economic recovery plan, but did not create one of his own in response.[19]

Campaign events[edit]

Ronald Reagan campaigning with his wife Nancy and Strom Thurmond in Columbia, South Carolina, October 10, 1980

In August, after the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan gave a campaign speech at the annual Neshoba County Fair on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. He was the first presidential candidate ever to campaign at the fair.[17] Reagan famously announced, "Programs like education and others should be turned back to the states and local communities with the tax sources to fund them. I believe in states' rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can at the community level and the private level."[19] Reagan also stated, "I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them."[30] President Carter attacked Reagan for injecting "hate and racism" by the "rebirth of code words like 'states' rights'".[31]

Two days later, Reagan appeared at the Urban League convention in New York, where he said, "I am committed to the protection and enforcement of the civil rights of black Americans. This commitment is interwoven into every phase of the plans I will propose."[19] He then said that he would develop "enterprise zones" to help with urban renewal.[19]

Reagan made some gaffes during the campaign. When Carter appeared in a small Alabama town, Tuscumbia, Reagan incorrectly claimed the town had been the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan—it was actually the home of the KKK's national headquarters.[19] Reagan was widely ridiculed by Democrats for saying that trees caused pollution; he later said that he meant only certain types of pollution and his remarks had been misquoted.[32]

Meanwhile, Carter was burdened by a continued weak economy and the Iran hostage crisis.[25] Inflation, high interest rates, and unemployment continued through the course of the campaign, and the ongoing hostage crisis in Iran became, to many, a symbol of American impotence during the Carter years.[25] John Anderson's independent candidacy, aimed at liberals, was also seen as hurting Carter more than Reagan,[19] especially in such Democratic states as Massachusetts and New York.

The debates[edit]

External video
Reagan-Carter presidential debate, October 28, 1980

An important event in the 1980 presidential campaign was the lone presidential debate, which was held one week to the day before the election (October 28).[33] Going into the debate, average poll data indicated that Reagan had a two to three point lead over Carter.[33] After the debate, Reagan was able to increase his lead dramatically against the president to win a comfortable Republican victory.

The League of Women Voters, which had sponsored the 1976 Ford/Carter debate series, announced that it would do so again for the next cycle in the spring of 1979. However, Carter was not eager to participate with any debate. He had repeatedly refused to a debate with Senator Edward M. Kennedy during the primary season, and had given ambivalent signals as to his participation in the fall.

The League of Women Voters had announced a schedule of debates similar to 1976, three presidential and one vice presidential. No one had much of a problem with this until it was announced that Rep. John Anderson might be invited to participate along with Carter and Reagan. Carter steadfastly refused to participate with Anderson included, and Reagan refused to debate without him. It took months of negotiations for the League of Women Voters to finally put it together. It was held on September 21, 1980 in the Baltimore Convention Center. Reagan said of Carter's refusal to debate: "He [Carter] knows that he couldn't win a debate even if it were held in the Rose Garden before an audience of Administration officials with the questions being asked by Jody Powell." [34] The League of Women Voters promised the Reagan campaign that the debate stage would feature an empty chair to represent the missing president. Carter was very upset about the planned chair stunt, and at the last minute convinced the League to take it out. The debate was moderated by Bill Moyers. Anderson, who many thought would handily dispatch the former Governor, managed only a draw, according to many in the media at that time. The Illinois congressman, who had been as high as 20% in some polls, and at the time of the debate was over 10%, dropped to about 5% soon after. Anderson failed to substantively engage Reagan, instead he started off by criticizing Carter: "Governor Reagan is not responsible for what has happened over the last four years, nor am I. The man who should be here tonight to respond to those charges chose not to attend," to which Reagan added: "It's a shame now that there are only two of us here debating, because the two that are here are in more agreement than disagreement." [35]

As September turned into October, the situation remained essentially the same. Governor Reagan insisted Anderson be allowed to participate, and the President remained steadfastly opposed to this. As the standoff continued, the second round was canceled, as was the vice presidential debate.

With two weeks to go to the election, the Reagan campaign decided that the best thing to do at that moment was to accede to all of President Carter's demands, and LWV agreed to exclude Congressman Anderson from the final debate, which was rescheduled for October 28 in Cleveland, Ohio.

President Carter (left) and former Governor Reagan (right) at the presidential debate on October 28, 1980.

Moderated by Howard K. Smith and presented by the League of Women Voters, the presidential debate between President Carter and Governor Reagan ranked among the highest ratings of any television show in the previous decade. Debate topics included the Iranian hostage crisis, and nuclear arms treaties and proliferation. Carter's campaign sought to portray Reagan as a reckless "war hawk," as well as a "dangerous right-wing radical". Governor Reagan would have none of it, and it came as no surprise then, when the candidates repeatedly clashed over the nuclear weapons issue in their debate. But it was President Carter's reference to his consultation with 12-year-old daughter Amy concerning nuclear weapons policy that became the focus of post-debate analysis and fodder for late-night television jokes. President Carter said he had asked Amy what the most important issue in that election was and she said, "the control of nuclear arms." A famous political cartoon, published the day after Reagan's landslide victory, showed Amy Carter sitting in Jimmy's lap with her shoulders shrugged asking "the economy? the hostage crisis?"

In contrast to Carter's serious and somewhat distant attitude, Reagan's demeanor was calm, sunny, tolerant and almost folksy. [citation needed]. When President Carter made another verbal attack against Reagan by making a reference to what he saw as the governor's record, which include voting against Medicare and Social Security benefits, Governor Reagan sighed and replied with a calm and nonchalant: "There you go again".[36]

In describing the national debt that was approaching 1 trillion dollars, Reagan stated "a billion is a thousand millions, and a trillion is a thousand billions." When Carter would attack the content of Reagan's campaign speeches, Reagan began his counter with words: "Well... I don't know that I said that. I really don't."

In his closing remarks, Reagan asked the viewers a simple yet devastating question that would resonate with voters in 1980 and beyond: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions 'yes', why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. If you don't agree, if you don't think that this course that we've been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have."

Endorsements[edit]

In September 1980, former Watergate scandal prosecutor Leon Jaworski accepted a position as honorary chairman of Democrats for Reagan.[25] Five months earlier, Jaworski had harshly criticized Reagan as an "extremist;" he said after accepting the chairmanship, "I would rather have a competent extremist than an incompetent moderate."[25]

Former Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota (who in 1968 had challenged Lyndon Johnson from the left, causing the then-President to all but abdicate) endorsed Reagan.[37]

Three days before the November 4 voting in the election, the National Rifle Association endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in its history, backing Reagan. Reagan had received the California Rifle and Pistol Association's Outstanding Public Service Award. Carter had appointed Abner J. Mikva, a fervent proponent of gun control, to a federal judgeship and had supported the Alaska Lands Bill, closing 40,000,000 acres (160,000 km2) to hunting.[38]

Results[edit]

Election results by county.
1980 Presidential Election, Results by Congressional District

The election was held on November 4, 1980.[39] 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).[40] 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.[41][42] 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 was the most lopsided defeat for any incumbent president in an election where only two candidates won electoral votes. Also, Jimmy Carter was 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.[24]

Reagan's electoral college victory of 489 electoral votes (90.9% of the electoral vote) was 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.

Statistics[edit]

Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPctVice-presidential candidateHome stateElect. vote
Ronald Wilson ReaganRepublicanCalifornia43,903,23050.75%489George Herbert Walker BushTexas489
James Earl Carter, Jr.DemocraticGeorgia35,480,11541.01%49Walter Frederick MondaleMinnesota49
John Bayard AndersonIndependentIllinois5,719,8506.61%0Patrick Joseph LuceyWisconsin0
Ed ClarkLibertarianCalifornia921,1281.06%0David H. KochKansas0
Barry CommonerCitizensMissouri233,0520.27%0La Donna HarrisOklahoma0
Gus HallCommunistNew York 44,9330.05%0Angela DavisCalifornia 0
John RarickAmerican IndependentLouisiana 40,9060.05%0Eileen ShearerCalifornia 0
Clifton DeBerrySocialist WorkersCalifornia 38,7380.04%0Matilde ZimmermannNew York 0
Ellen McCormackRight to LifeNew York 32,3200.04%0Carroll DriscollNew Jersey 0
Maureen SmithPeace and FreedomCalifornia 18,1160.02%0Elizabeth BarronCalifornia 0
Other77,2900.09%Other
Total86,509,678100%538538
Needed to win270270

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1980 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (August 7, 2005).

Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (August 7, 2005).

Popular vote
Reagan
  
50.75%
Carter
  
41.01%
Anderson
  
6.61%
Clark
  
1.06%
Others
  
0.56%
Electoral vote
Reagan
  
90.89%
Carter
  
9.11%

Results by state[edit]

[43]

States/districts won by Reagan/Bush
States/districts won by Carter/Mondale
Ronald Reagan
Republican
Jimmy Carter
Democratic
John Anderson
Independent
Ed Clark
Libertarian
MarginState Total
Stateelectoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %#
Alabama9654,19248.759636,73047.45-16,4811.23-13,3180.99-17,4621.301,341,929AL
Alaska386,11254.35341,84226.41-11,1557.04-18,47911.66-44,27027.94158,445AK
Arizona6529,68860.616246,84328.24-76,9528.81-18,7842.15-282,84532.36873,945AZ
Arkansas6403,16448.136398,04147.52-22,4682.68-8,9701.07-5,1230.61837,582AR
California454,524,85852.69453,083,66135.91-739,8338.62-148,4341.73-1,441,19716.788,587,063CA
Colorado7652,26455.077367,97331.07-130,63311.03-25,7442.17-284,29124.001,184,415CO
Connecticut8677,21048.168541,73238.52-171,80712.22-8,5700.61-135,4789.631,406,285CT
Delaware3111,25247.213105,75444.87-16,2886.91-1,9740.84-5,4982.33235,668DE
D.C.323,31313.41-130,23174.89316,1319.28-1,1040.63--106,918-61.49173,889DC
Florida172,046,95155.52171,419,47538.50-189,6925.14-30,5240.83-627,47617.023,687,026FL
Georgia12654,16840.95-890,73355.761236,0552.26-15,6270.98--236,565-14.811,597,467GA
Hawaii4130,11242.90-135,87944.80432,02110.56-3,2691.08--5,767-1.90303,287HI
Idaho4290,69966.464110,19225.19-27,0586.19-8,4251.93-180,50741.27437,431ID
Illinois262,358,04949.65261,981,41341.72-346,7547.30-38,9390.82-376,6367.934,749,721IL
Indiana131,255,65656.0113844,19737.65-111,6394.98-19,6270.88-411,45918.352,242,033IN
Iowa8676,02651.318508,67238.60-115,6338.78-13,1231.00-167,35412.701,317,661IA
Kansas7566,81257.857326,15033.29-68,2316.96-14,4701.48-240,66224.56979,795KS
Kentucky9635,27449.079616,41747.61-31,1272.40-5,5310.43-18,8571.461,294,627KY
Louisiana10792,85351.2010708,45345.75-26,3451.70-8,2400.53-84,4005.451,548,591LA
Maine4238,52245.614220,97442.25-53,32710.20-5,1190.98-17,5483.36523,011ME
Maryland10680,60644.18-726,16147.1410119,5377.76-14,1920.92--45,555-2.961,540,496MD
Massachusetts141,057,63141.90141,053,80241.75-382,53915.15-22,0380.87-3,8290.152,524,298MA
Michigan211,915,22548.99211,661,53242.50-275,2237.04-41,5971.06-253,6936.493,909,725MI
Minnesota10873,24142.56-954,17446.5010174,9908.53-31,5921.54--80,933-3.942,051,953MN
Mississippi7441,08949.427429,28148.09-12,0361.35-5,4650.61-11,8081.32892,620MS
Missouri121,074,18151.1612931,18244.35-77,9203.71-14,4220.69-142,9996.812,099,824MO
Montana4206,81456.824118,03232.43-29,2818.05-9,8252.70-88,78224.39363,952MT
Nebraska5419,93765.535166,85126.04-44,9937.02-9,0731.42-253,08639.49640,854NE
Nevada3155,01762.54366,66626.89-17,6517.12-4,3581.76-88,35135.64247,885NV
New Hampshire4221,70557.744108,86428.35-49,69312.94-2,0670.54-112,84129.39383,999NH
New Jersey171,546,55751.97171,147,36438.56-234,6327.88-20,6520.69-399,19313.422,975,684NJ
New Mexico4250,77954.974167,82636.78-29,4596.46-4,3650.96-82,95318.18456,237NM
New York412,893,83146.66412,728,37243.99-467,8017.54-52,6480.85-165,4592.676,201,959NY
North Carolina13915,01849.3013875,63547.18-52,8002.85-9,6770.52-39,3832.121,855,833NC
North Dakota3193,69564.23379,18926.26-23,6407.84-3,7431.24-114,50637.97301,545ND
Ohio252,206,54551.51251,752,41440.91-254,4725.94-49,0331.14-454,13110.604,283,603OH
Oklahoma8695,57060.508402,02634.97-38,2843.33-13,8281.20-293,54425.531,149,708OK
Oregon6571,04448.336456,89038.67-112,3899.51-25,8382.19-114,1549.661,181,516OR
Pennsylvania272,261,87249.59271,937,54042.48-292,9216.42-33,2630.73-324,3327.114,561,501PA
Rhode Island4154,79337.20-198,34247.67459,81914.38-2,4580.59--43,549-10.47416,072RI
South Carolina8441,20749.578427,56048.04-14,1501.59-4,9750.56-13,6471.53890,083SC
South Dakota4198,34360.534103,85531.69-21,4316.54-3,8241.17-94,48828.83327,703SD
Tennessee10787,76148.7010783,05148.41-35,9912.22-7,1160.44-4,7100.291,617,616TN
Texas262,510,70555.28261,881,14741.42-111,6132.46-37,6430.83-629,55813.864,541,637TX
Utah4439,68772.774124,26620.57-30,2845.01-7,2261.20-315,42152.20604,222UT
Vermont394,59844.37381,89138.41-31,76014.90-1,9000.89-12,7075.96213,207VT
Virginia12989,60953.0312752,17440.31-95,4185.11-12,8210.69-237,43512.721,866,032VA
Washington9865,24449.669650,19337.32-185,07310.62-29,2131.68-215,05112.341,742,394WA
West Virginia6334,20645.30-367,46249.81631,6914.30-4,3560.59--33,256-4.51737,715WV
Wisconsin111,088,84547.9011981,58443.18-160,6577.07-29,1351.28-107,2614.722,273,221WI
Wyoming3110,70062.64349,42727.97-12,0726.83-4,5142.55-61,27334.67176,713WY
TOTALS:53843,903,23050.7548935,480,11541.01495,719,8506.61-921,1281.06-8,423,1159.7486,509,678US

Close states[edit]

Margin of victory less than 5% (165 electoral votes):

  1. Massachusetts, 0.15%
  2. Tennessee, 0.29%
  3. Arkansas, 0.61%
  4. Alabama, 1.30%
  5. Mississippi, 1.32%
  6. Kentucky, 1.46%
  7. South Carolina, 1.53%
  8. Hawaii, 1.90%
  9. North Carolina, 2.12%
  10. Delaware, 2.33%
  11. New York, 2.67%
  12. Maryland, 2.96%
  13. Maine, 3.36%
  14. Minnesota, 3.94%
  15. West Virginia, 4.51%
  16. Wisconsin, 4.72%

Margin of victory more than 5%, but less than 10% (113 electoral votes):

  1. Louisiana, 5.45%
  2. Vermont, 5.96%
  3. Michigan, 6.49%
  4. Missouri, 6.81%
  5. Pennsylvania, 7.11%
  6. Illinois, 7.93%
  7. Connecticut, 9.64%
  8. Oregon, 9.66%

Voter demographics[edit]

Social groups and the presidential vote, 1980 and 1976
Size'80 Carter'80 Reagan'80 Anderson'76 Carter'76 Ford
Party
Democratic43662667722
Independent233054124354
Republican2811844990
Ideology
Liberal185727117026
Moderate51424885148
Conservative31237142970
Ethnicity
Black10821438216
Hispanic2484277524
White88365584752
Sex
Female48454675048
Male52375475048
Religion
Protestant46375664455
White Protestant41316264357
Catholic25405175444
Jewish54539146434
Family income
Less than US$10,00013504165840
$10,000–$14,99915474285543
$15,000–$24,99929385374850
$25,000–$50,00024325883662
Over $50,000525658
Occupation
Professional or manager39335694157
Clerical, sales, white-collar11424884653
blue-collar17464755741
Agriculture329663
Unemployed3553576534
Education
Less than high school11504535841
High school graduate28435145446
Some college28355585149
College graduate273551114555
Union membership
Labor union household28474475939
No member of household in union62355584355
Age
18–21 years old64443114850
22–29 years old174343115146
30–44 years old31375474949
45–59 years old23395564752
60 years or older18405444752
Region
East25424795147
South27445135445
White South22356034652
Midwest27405174850
Far West19355394651
Community size
City over 250,00018543586040
Suburb/small city53375385347
Rural/town29395454753

Source: CBS News/ New York Times interviews with 12,782 voters as they left the polls, as reported in the New York Times, November 9, 1980, p. 28, and in further analysis. The 1976 data are from CBS News interviews.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Jerry Lanson (November 6, 2008). "A historic victory. A changed nation. Now, can Obama deliver?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  3. ^ Shirley, Craig (2009). Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-933859-55-2. 
  4. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 292. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 
  5. ^ a b c "Oil Squeeze". Time magazine. 1979-02-05. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Inflation-proofing". ConsumerReports.org. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  7. ^ "Jimmy Carter". American Experience. PBS. 
  8. ^ ""Crisis of Confidence" Speech (July 15, 1979)" (text and video). Miller Center, University of Virginia. 
  9. ^ Allis, Sam (2009-02-18). "Chapter 4: Sailing Into the Wind: Losing a quest for the top, finding a new freedom". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  10. ^ Time Magazine, 11/12/79
  11. ^ http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0027(199012)34%3A4%3C588%3AFPAPPC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7
  12. ^ Reagan's Lucky Day: Iranian Hostage Crisis Helped The Great Communicator To Victory, CBS News, January 21, 2001
  13. ^ The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission
  14. ^ "Clinton Campaign Reminiscent of 1980 Race", The CBS News.
  15. ^ "Steenland: Odd man out?", The Star Tribune.
  16. ^ William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  17. ^ a b Kornacki, Steve (April 5, 2011) The myths that just won't die, Salon.com
  18. ^ "1980 Presidential General Election Results". Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. 2005. Retrieved November 23, 2011.  |coauthors= requires |author= (help)
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Skinner, Kudelia, Mesquita, Rice (2007). The Strategy of Campaigning. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-11627-0. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  20. ^ Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 161. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 
  21. ^ Wayne, Stephen J. (1984). The Road to the White House (2nd ed.), p. 210. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-68526-2.
  22. ^ "When worlds collide: politics, religion, and media at the 1970 East Tennessee Billy Graham Crusade. (appearance by President Richard M. Nixon)". Journal of Church and State. March 22, 1997. Retrieved August 18, 2007. 
  23. ^ Carter, Jimmy (2010). White House Diary. New York, N.Y: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 469. 
  24. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 283. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 
  25. ^ a b c d e Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 344. ISBN 0-465-04195-7. 
  26. ^ Thorndike, Joseph J. (November 10, 2005). "Historical Perspective: The Windfall Profit Tax -- Career of a Concept". TaxHistory.org. Retrieved November 6, 2008. 
  27. ^ [1], CRS Report RL33305, The Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax of the 1980s: Implications for Current Energy Policy, by Salvatore Lazzari, p. 5.
  28. ^ Melich, Tanya (July 18, 2005). "O'Connor's Tenure Began One Hot Summer". Womens eNews. Retrieved May 28, 2010. 
  29. ^ James Taranto, Leonard Leo (2004). Presidential Leadership. Wall Street Journal Books. ISBN 978-0-7432-7226-1. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  30. ^ Kneeland, Douglas E. (August 4, 1980). "Reagan Campaigns at Mississippi Fair; Nominee Tells Crowd of 10,000 He Is Backing States' Rights". New York Times. p. A11. 
  31. ^ 'The Made-for-TV Election with Martin Sheen' clip 14 on YouTube
  32. ^ Bridges, Andrew (March 17, 2003). "Here We Go Again!". CBS News. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  33. ^ a b Nate Cohn (September 12, 2012). "Exploding the Reagan 1980 Comeback Myth". The New Republic. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  34. ^ Shirley, Craig (2009). Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books. p. 478. ISBN 978-1-933859-55-2. 
  35. ^ Shirley, Craig (2009). Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books. p. 479. ISBN 978-1-933859-55-2. 
  36. ^ "The Second 1980 Presidential Debate". PBS. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  37. ^ MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour (December 12, 2005). Online NewsHour: Remembering Sen. Eugene McCarthy — December 12, 2005. PBS.
  38. ^ Facts on File 1980 Yearbook, p.844
  39. ^ "Voters the choice is yours". St. Petersburg Times. 4 November 1980. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Reagan in a landslide". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 5 November 1980. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  41. ^ Facts on File Yearbook 1980 p865
  42. ^ Facts on File Yearbook 1980 p838
  43. ^ "1980 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved March 18, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

Books[edit]

Journal articles[edit]

External links[edit]