Just seven US presidential elections have resulted in the Democrats winning more than 80% of the electoral college vote.
Here they are.
7th – Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944
Roosevelt’s 1944 win was his fourth and final victory, as he died in April 1945. FDR was given a fresh mandate in this election, winning 53.4% of the popular vote and 432 out of 531 electoral college votes (81.36% of those available). His Republican opponent Thomas E. Dewey won just twelve states, a total he improved upon in 1948 when he faced Roosevelt’s third vice president turned president Harry S. Truman and lost.
6th – Woodrow Wilson in 1912
At this election, Democratic Wilson defeated incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft. His striking victory was helped by the competitive election in which three parties had a realistic shot at winning the presidency. Former Republican president Theodore Roosevelt stood on a Progressive Party platform and won 88 electoral college votes, pushing Republican Taft into an embarrassing third place. Wilson won just 42% of the overall vote, but the multi-party election resulted in him securing 435 electoral college votes – 82% of those available.
5th – Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940
In this election, Roosevelt secured his third victory in a row on a wide-ranging progressive platform. He defeated Republican Wendell Willkie in all but ten states, and secured an impressive 84.56% of the electoral college votes available.
4th – Franklin Pierce in 1852
In a list dominated by Franklin’s, Pierce is the only 19th century president to appear. Pierce was probably one of America’s worst presidents as his Kansas-Nebraska Act is generally considered as a significant contributory factor towards the Civil War, but before his reputation was damaged beyond repair, he won a striking victory against Whig Winfield Scott. He secured 254/296 electoral college votes (86%), losing just four states to his opponent.
3rd – Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932
This election marked the start of twenty long years of Democratic White House rule. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Republican president Herbert Hoover soon after the start of the Great Depression, a factor, which combined with Roosevelt’s radical platform of reform and Keynesian economics, undoubtedly helped a Democratic win. Roosevelt won almost 60% of the popular vote and an impressive 89% of electoral college votes available (472/531).
Roosevelt is generally seen as one of America’s most successful presidents, with a C-Span 2017 survey of historians placing him as the country’s third best performing president, coming first in the categories of public persuasion and international relations.
2nd – Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964
Johnson only came to power after the world-stopping assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. One year later, Johnson was elected at the top of the ticket with 60% of the popular vote. He secured 486/538 electoral college votes (90% of those available), making him the Democrats’ second most successful US president in terms of electoral performance. He was eligible to run for a second term four years later, but declined to enter the race.
The Democrats’ most impressive presidential election win ever– FDR in 1936
FDR secured his – and the Democrats’ – biggest ever mandate in 1936, with promises to expand and deliver his progressive New Deal agenda. He won this election with 61% of the popular vote, dwarfing the 36.5% won by his Republican opponent Governor of Kansas Alf Landon. FDR won every state bar Maine and Vermont, meaning that he won 523 out of 531 electoral college votes (98.5%). His win also makes him the presidential candidate to win the largest share of electoral college votes ever, narrowly beating the 97.6% won by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
What about Barack Obama?
Bill Clinton’s 1996 and 1992 victories rank ninth and tenth respectively while Barack Obama’s 2008 win comes in as the twelfth largest Democratic presidential win followed by his 2012 win in fifteenth place.
All figures are based off those included in this list of presidential election victories.