Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Gingrich Records Weakest GOP Home State Victory in Modern History

Bookmark and Share

Gingrich ties John McCain for the second lowest home state tally for a major GOP presidential candidate since 1972, besting only Pat Robertson

newtgingrich12.jpgDuring Newt Gingrich's Tuesday night pep talk to his supporters, the former House Speaker bragged about his home state victory by explaining how the media called his win in Georgia as the first call of the evening, shortly after the polls closed.

However, in addition to the fact that only two other Super Tuesday states closed at the 7 pm EST hour, Gingrich's victory - while a necessary condition to keep him in the race - was one of the least impressive home state presidential primary victories in modern political history.

A Smart Politics review of presidential primary contests finds that Newt Gingrich's 47.2 percent performance in Georgia was tied for the second lowest support for a Republican presidential candidate in his home state since the 1972 cycle, and the lowest number for a winning candidate.

Aside from presidents running without opposition, there have been 16 GOP candidates over the last 40 years who have carried at least one state during the primary season - and still been active in the race when their home state primary or caucus came up on the calendar.

(Note: Three additional Republican candidates who won at least one state did not participate in their state's presidential preference contest - all in 1996. During that cycle, Pat Buchanan dropped out of the presidential race in March before the Virginia caucuses were completed, Steve Forbes exited the race before New Jersey held its primary, and Kansas opted not to hold their caucuses as a cost-saving measure when it became clear eventual home-state nominee Bob Dole was well on the path to victory).

Gingrich - who admittedly won Georgia on Super Tuesday by a comfortable margin of 21.3 points over Mitt Romney - fared quite poorly when stacked up against the record of most Republican White House hopefuls over the last 11 cycles.

Only one such Republican candidate received a lower vote total in his home state - Pat Robertson in 1988.

During that cycle, Robertson won just 13.7 percent of the vote in his native Virginia - some 39.5 points behind George H.W. Bush - and dropped out of the race shortly thereafter. (Robertson actually performed better in Bush's home state of Texas, winning 15.3 percent of the vote there).

Gingrich is now tied just ahead of Robertson with John McCain - who also registered 47.2 percent in his 2008 victory over Mitt Romney in Arizona.

The only other notable Republican presidential candidate in the last 40 years who failed to win a majority of the vote in his home state was George H.W. Bush in 1980.

While Bush registered just above Gingrich and McCain at 47.5 percent, he actually failed to carry his home state of Texas that cycle - losing by 3.4 points to eventual GOP nominee Ronald Reagan.

Overall, the average Republican White House hopeful has averaged 63.6 percent of the vote in their home state since 1972 - some 16.4 points better than Gingrich.

When also taking into account Democratic presidential candidates, Gingrich's 47.2 percent in Georgia ranks just 42nd best out of the 49 candidates who carried at least one state and participated in their home state contest since 1972.

Two of these candidates, Paul Simon and Jesse Jackson, hailed from the same home state in 1984 (Illinois).

Presuming he remains in the race, Rick Santorum will get his home state test in Pennsylvania on April 24th.

Home State Vote for Major Republican Presidential Candidates, 1972-2012

Year
Candidate
State
Percent
MoV
1988
Bob Dole
Kansas
95.8
94.3
1972
Richard Nixon
California
90.0
80.0
2000
George W. Bush
Texas
87.5
80.4
1980
Ronald Reagan
California
80.3
66.6
2012
Mitt Romney
Massachusetts
72.1
60.0
1992
George H.W. Bush
Texas
69.8
45.9
1976
Ronald Reagan
California
65.5
31.0
1976
Gerald Ford
Michigan
64.9
30.7
1988
George H.W. Bush
Texas
63.9
48.6
2008
Mike Huckabee
Arkansas
60.5
40.2
2000
John McCain
Arizona
60.0
24.4
2008
Mitt Romney
Massachusetts
51.1
10.2
1980
George H.W. Bush
Texas
47.5
-3.4
2008
John McCain
Arizona
47.2
12.6
2012
Newt Gingrich
Georgia
47.2
21.3
1988
Pat Robertson
Virginia
13.7
-39.5
Excludes presidents who ran unchallenged (e.g. Ronald Reagan in 1984, George W. Bush in 2004), minor candidates who failed to carry a single state, and candidates who carried at least one state but dropped out of the race before their home state contest was held. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Angus King Embarks On Well-Trodden Pathway to Maine US Senate Seat
Next post: Will Obama Again Play It Safe with His 2012 Basketball Bracket Picks?

5 Comments


  • What does "MoV" mean? Please do not assume all who read know acronyms, codes, etc. Please add what that means.
    Define the acronym letters (CD=Compact Disc, etc), and define it - what does it mean in function, etc.

  • margin of victory

  • Republican John Anderson (then a serious candidate) carried only 36% of the vote in Illinois in 1980. This information is not included above. Is this an oversight?

  • > Republican John Anderson (then a serious candidate) carried only 36% of the vote in
    > Illinois in 1980. This information is not included above. Is this an oversight?

    No - it's not an oversight. As detailed above, this report is only covering the GOP candidates who carried at least one state in the primaries & caucuses.

  • tanks for informaition..
    this article best because
    Gingrich - who admittedly won Georgia on Super Tuesday by a comfortable margin of 21.3 points over Mitt Romney - fared quite poorly when stacked up against the record of most Republican White House hopefuls over the last 11 cycles.

    Only one such Republican candidate received a lower vote total in his home state - Pat Robertson in 1988.

    During that cycle, Robertson won just 13.7 percent of the vote in his native Virginia - some 39.5 points behind George H.W. Bush - and dropped out of the race shortly thereafter. (Robertson actually performed better in Bush's home state of Texas, winning 15.3 percent of the vote there).

    Gingrich is now tied just ahead of Robertson with John McCain - who also registered 47.2 percent in his 2008 victory over Mitt Romney in Arizona.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

    Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

    Political Crumbs

    Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

    Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


    Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

    Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting