1980 United States presidential election

1980 United States presidential election

← 1976 November 4, 1980 1984 →

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout52.6%[1] Decrease 0.9 pp
  Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981-cropped.jpg Carter cropped.jpg John Bayard Anderson (cropped).jpg
Nominee Ronald Reagan Jimmy Carter John B. Anderson
Party Republican Democratic Independent
Home state California Georgia Illinois
Running mate George H. W. Bush Walter Mondale Patrick Lucey
Electoral vote 489 49 0
States carried 44 6 + DC 0
Popular vote 43,903,230 35,480,115 5,719,850
Percentage 50.7% 41.0% 6.6%

1980 United States presidential election in California1980 United States presidential election in Oregon1980 United States presidential election in Washington (state)1980 United States presidential election in Idaho1980 United States presidential election in Nevada1980 United States presidential election in Utah1980 United States presidential election in Arizona1980 United States presidential election in Montana1980 United States presidential election in Wyoming1980 United States presidential election in Colorado1980 United States presidential election in New Mexico1980 United States presidential election in North Dakota1980 United States presidential election in South Dakota1980 United States presidential election in Nebraska1980 United States presidential election in Kansas1980 United States presidential election in Oklahoma1980 United States presidential election in Texas1980 United States presidential election in Minnesota1980 United States presidential election in Iowa1980 United States presidential election in Missouri1980 United States presidential election in Arkansas1980 United States presidential election in Louisiana1980 United States presidential election in Wisconsin1980 United States presidential election in Illinois1980 United States presidential election in Michigan1980 United States presidential election in Indiana1980 United States presidential election in Ohio1980 United States presidential election in Kentucky1980 United States presidential election in Tennessee1980 United States presidential election in Mississippi1980 United States presidential election in Alabama1980 United States presidential election in Georgia1980 United States presidential election in Florida1980 United States presidential election in South Carolina1980 United States presidential election in North Carolina1980 United States presidential election in Virginia1980 United States presidential election in West Virginia1980 United States presidential election in the District of Columbia1980 United States presidential election in Maryland1980 United States presidential election in Delaware1980 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1980 United States presidential election in New Jersey1980 United States presidential election in New York1980 United States presidential election in Connecticut1980 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1980 United States presidential election in Vermont1980 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1980 United States presidential election in Maine1980 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1980 United States presidential election in Hawaii1980 United States presidential election in Alaska1980 United States presidential election in the District of Columbia1980 United States presidential election in Maryland1980 United States presidential election in Delaware1980 United States presidential election in New Jersey1980 United States presidential election in Connecticut1980 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1980 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1980 United States presidential election in Vermont1980 United States presidential election in New HampshireElectoralCollege1980.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Reagan/Bush and blue denotes those won by Carter/Mondale. Numbers indicate electoral votes cast by each state.

President before election

Jimmy Carter
Democratic

Elected President

Ronald Reagan
Republican

The 1980 United States presidential election was the 49th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1980. Republican nominee Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent Democratic president Jimmy Carter in a landslide victory. This was the second successive election in which the incumbent president was defeated, after Carter himself defeated Gerald Ford four years earlier in 1976. Additionally, it was only the second time, and the first in nearly 100 years that a Republican candidate defeated an incumbent Democrat. Due to the rise of conservatism following Reagan's victory, some historians consider the election to be a political realignment that began with Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign in 1964, and the 1980 election marked the start of the Reagan Era.[2]

Carter's unpopularity and poor relations with Democratic leaders encouraged an intra-party challenge by Senator Ted Kennedy, a younger brother of former President John F. Kennedy. Carter defeated Kennedy in the majority of the Democratic primaries, but Kennedy remained in the race until Carter was officially nominated at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. The Republican primaries were contested between Reagan, who had previously served as the Governor of California, former Congressman George H. W. Bush of Texas, Congressman John B. Anderson of Illinois, and several other candidates. All of Reagan's opponents had dropped out by the end of the primaries, and the 1980 Republican National Convention nominated a ticket consisting of Reagan and Bush. Anderson entered the race as an independent candidate, and convinced former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey, a Democrat, to serve as his running mate.

Reagan campaigned for increased defense spending, implementation of supply-side economic policies, and a balanced budget. His campaign was aided by Democratic dissatisfaction with Carter, the Iran hostage crisis, and a worsening economy at home marked by high unemployment and inflation. Carter attacked Reagan as a dangerous right-wing extremist and warned that Reagan would cut Medicare and Social Security.

Reagan won the election by a landslide, taking 489 electoral votes and 50.7% of the popular vote with a margin of 9.7%. Reagan received the highest number of electoral votes ever won by a non-incumbent presidential candidate. In the simultaneous Congressional elections, Republicans won control of the United States Senate for the first time since 1955. Carter won 41% of the vote but carried just six states and Washington, D.C. Anderson won 6.6% of the popular vote, and he performed best among liberal Republican voters dissatisfied with Reagan. Reagan, then 69, was the oldest person to ever be elected to a first term. As of 2021, this is the most recent presidential election where an incumbent Democratic president failed to win a second term.

  1. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". Presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  2. ^ Perlstein, Richard (2001). Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. New York: Nation Books. pp. x. ISBN 978-1-56858-412-6.

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