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Rule by the Non-Majority?
Plurality Winners in American Elections

October 2003 

We have assembled a great deal of information about the growing frequency and impact of victories in American primary and general elections which are won with less than 50% of the vote meaning won by a plurality rather than a majority of votes cast.  Most American states have had governors who have won elections with less than 50% of the vote since 1990.  In the three presidential elections since 1988, most states awarded all of their electoral votes to a candidate who was opposed by most voters in that state.  A significant number of congressional seats were won by mere pluralities.  Read the overview to our report.

Presidential Elections

Gubernatorial Elections

  • U.S. Governors, 1990-2003 - A comprehensive list of gubernatorial candidates who won primary and/or general elections by plurality
  • US Governors, 1948-2003 - Three groupings of governors
    elected in general elections with less than 50%
  • Current Governors - 22 currently serving governors who won either a primary or general election with less than 50% of Votes

Congressional Elections


Related Links:

Washington Post columnist Richard Morins October 2000 column on CVD's analysis of plurality victory issues.

The Center for Voting and Democracy's 1995 report, The End of Majority Rule?

The Center for Voting and Democracy's August 2000 report,  Impact of U.S. Runoff Elections on Racial Minorities and Women: An Analysis and Comparison with Instant Runoff Voting

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) home page.

Report on Louisiana two-round runoff system that some propose as a response to Supreme Court decision invalidating blanket primaries in California, Washington and Alaska.

 


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