You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Of Margins And Landslides

With the final national polls settling around Obama +7, I realized that I lacked a good sense of historical context for that number. Turns out it's about the margin of George H.W. Bush's 1988 win against Michael Dukakis: 53.4% to 45.6%.

That's certainly impressive. It doesn't, however, really compare to Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide against Walter Mondale. That sucker was 18 points -- 58.8% to 40.6%. Incredible. (Reagan beat Carter in 1980 by nearly 10 points.) And it turns out that both LBJ and Richard Nixon (in '72) won by roughly 23 points. Times have changed, eh? (See all the popular and electoral vote tallies since 1964 here.)

But maybe recent history is the better comparison point to judge tomorrow's outcome. There's a case to be made that hyper-sophisticated advertising and micro-targeting have created conditions where the political pros will mostly battle between the 45 yard lines.

--Michael Crowley