Donald Trump’s win last November was one of the closest presidential elections of all time, but when were the biggest wins?
7th – Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932
The 1932 election followed the start of the Great Depression, which badly damaged the US economy. Incumbent Republican President Herbert Hoover had won a strong mandate four years before, but when it came to the 1932 election, progressive Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt made Hoover a one-term-president in a stunning election win. He swept up 42 of the 48 states at the time, winning an impressive 472/531 electoral college votes (89%). The election marked the start of two long decades of Democratic White House-rule, as well as the start of Roosevelt’s transformative New Deal agenda, which helped people and the economy after the economic crash under Hoover.
6th – Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964
Johnson only became president after the tragic assassination of JFK in 1963. After his president’s death, LBJ was quickly inaugurated and led his party into a presidential election in 1964. He won 486 out of 538 electoral college votes, 90.33% of those in total. The maximum a president can serve under the 26th Amendment is two full terms, however, presidents can serve a maximum of ten years if they serve as president for less than two years due to them replacing an incumbent president. As such, Johnson was eligible to seek a “third term” in 1968, but declined to do so. Had he done so and won, he would have been the first president to exercise this right.
5th – Ronald Reagan in 1980
This Republican actor-turned-presidential candidate served as California’s governor before becoming his party’s presidential nominee in 1980 and defeating incumbent President Jimmy Carter in November that same year. Reagan won 489/538 electoral college votes (90.89%), sweeping up all but six states (and D.C.). The result was a huge humiliation for the Democrats, who had only returned to power four years previously.
4th – Abraham Lincoln in 1864
Lincoln’s inclusion on this list, while factually correct, is kind of cheating since this election was held during the American Civil War when eleven states had seceded from the union, meaning tha many of the states that opposed to what Lincoln stood for were not even contesting the election. Nonetheless, Lincoln won the election on a National Union platform with Andrew Jackson as his running-mate. Lincoln secured all but three states, becoming president with 91% of the electoral college votes – 212 out of 233 at the time.
Lincoln was assassinated shortly into his second term.
3rd – Richard Nixon in 1972
After a failed presidential bid in 1960 followed by a failed gubernatorial bid in Califrornia, Dwight Eisenhower’s Vice President Richard Nixon became the Republican Party’s nominee for the 1968 election. Nixon went on to win the election, and then secured a second term four years later. Winning every state bar Massachusetts (and D.C.), as well as almost 61% of the popular vote, Nixon would probably be remembered for his resounding second election win were it not for Watergate. Nixon won 520/538 electoral college votes, almost 97% of those available.
2nd – Ronald Reagan in 1984
Reagan won big in 1980, but he won ever bigger four years later. He secured 525/538 electoral votes (97.58%), winning ever state besides Minnesota, and of course the perpetually Democratic Washington D.C.
The biggest US presidential election landslide of all time – Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936
After a big win in 1932, Roosevelt secured an even more stunning victory four years later. Winning 523/531 (98.49%) electoral college votes, this Democratic big-hitter only lost Vermont and Maine at this election.
On top of this, FDR is America’s most electorally successful president. After his 1936 win, he secured an historic third term in 1940, and a fourth one in 1944. He was only stopped by death, which defeated him just months into his fourth and final term. His third Vice President Harry S. Truman took over from him, and won a full term in 1948.
Who won more?
Out of the top seven, four of the biggest presidential election wins in US history were by Republicans, but the Democrats take the top spot.
All electoral college totals and percentages are based off those on this Wikipedia page.