Popular and Electoral Votes Have Been Split Three Times In The Past

Vote Split - United States - IllustrationVirtually every major poll has President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a virtual deadlock heading into Tuesday's Presidential election. 

There was a time when President Obama seemed to be cruising his way towards winning a second term. The first Presidential debate changed all of that, and the race for the White House has been extremely close ever since. 

The very close race between Obama and Romney brings up the possibility of another popular vote / electoral vote split. As we saw in 2000, winning the popular vote doesn't mean that you win the election. Instead, it's the electoral vote that decides who will be the next leader of the free world. 


This leads to the question - how many popular/electoral vote splits have there been in the past?

The answer - three, with the most recent occurring in the 2000 Presidential election.

Here are the three instances where the popular and electoral votes were split:

2000 - George W. Bush ended up receiving 271 electoral votes, while Al Gore received 266. Al Gore received 48.4% of the popular vote, while George W. Bush received 47.9% of the popular vote. 

1888 - Benjamin Harrison received 233 electoral votes while Grover Cleveland received 168. Cleveland won 48.6% of the popular vote, while 47.8% voted for Harrison. 

1876 - Rutherford B. Hayes won 185-184 (electoral vote) over Samuel Tilden, despite the fact that Tilden won 51.0% of the popular vote. Hayes, on the other hand, received 47.9% of the popular vote.

Note - in 1824, Andrew Jackson won the electoral vote (99-84) and the popular vote (41.3% to 30.9%), but John Quincy Adams was elected President of the United States after the House of Representatives decided the election. 


Experts say that it is unlikely that there will be a popular/electoral vote split this year, but there is certainly a chance of it occurring. 

Filed under: General Knowledge

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