Elections '96 Summary: A Closer Look at the Numbers

By Rust, Michael; Daly, Bob | Insight on the News, December 2, 1996 | Go to article overview

Elections '96 Summary: A Closer Look at the Numbers


Rust, Michael, Daly, Bob, Insight on the News


The Popular Vote

Unofficial results, with 99% of the vote reported, showed the president with 45.6 million votes, or 49.9%. Dole had 37.8 million votes, or 41%, while Ross Perot obtained 7.8 million votes, or 8%. Green Party nominee Ralph Nader received more than 580,000 votes, while Libertarian Harry Browne garnered more than 470,000 votes.

Results Summary

After the tumult of the campaign, little appears to have changed. Republicans maintained control of Capitol Hill for the first time since 1928, while Bill Clinton easily defeated GOP nominee Bob Dole. Clinton's electoral-vote total was slightly higher than four years ago, but the basic breakdown of states remained the same, with the Democratic nominee strongest in the Northeast and on the West Coast, while the Republican ticket was strongest in the South and mountain West.

Gaining Weight

House: The status quo remains in effect in the House of Representatives. Despite a mammoth media campaign by organized labor, the GOP maintained its majority, albeit a slightly reduced one. Republicans fell from 236 seats to at least 225, with four seats still undecided and two depending on a Dec. 10 Texas runoff. Democrats went from 198 seats to at least 203.

Senate: The GOP's 53-seat majority in the Senate grew to 55, after the counting of absentee ballots in Oregon, where Republican Gordon Smith had led only narrowly with 500,000 absentee ballots still to be counted. The Senate likely will be more conservative, as incoming Republicans such as Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Sam Brownback of Kansas replace outgoing GOP moderates.

Important State Ballot Measures

California: Prop. 209, restricting affirmative action, passed 54% to 46% Prop. 215, allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients, passed 56% to 44%

Colorado: Parental-rights amendment failed 58% to 42% Ending property-tax exemption for churches failed 83% to 17%

Hellos and Goodbyes to Prominent Incumbents

Only one incumbent senator - South Dakota's Larry Pressler - was defeated, although a number of his colleagues retired.

Returning

House Helen Chenoweth (R) ID Cynthia McKinney (D) GA George Nethercutt (R) WA Todd Tiahrt (R) KS Rick White (R) WA

Senate Jesse Helms (R) NC John Kerry (D) MA Strom Thurmond (R) SC John Warner (R) VA Paul Wellstone (D) MN

Not Returning

House David Funderburk (R) NC Fred Heineman (R) NC Martin Hoke (R) OH Randy Tate (R) WA Mike Ward (D) KY

Senate Bill Bradley (D) NJ Bill Cohen (R) ME Mark Hatfield (R) OR Bennett Johnston (D) LA Larry Pressler (R) SD

Congressional &

Gubernatorial

Results

Unlike 1992 and 1994, incumbents generally had a pleasant election night this year. While 19 House Republicans lost their seats, more than 80 percent of the GOP freshmen in the 104th Congress - a group specifically targeted by organized labor's $35 million media blitz - escaped unscathed. (This means that unions spent an estimated $6 million for every toppled Republican on their "hit list" - not a very good cost-benefit ratio when the GOP retains a majority.)

As they hoped, Republicans picked up the bulk of House seats being vacated by Democrats in the South, although Democrats picked up a couple of House seats in North Carolina and held Senate seats in Louisiana and Georgia. Democrats did well in the Northeast, where they defeated moderate Republicans like New York's Dan Frisa and Massachusetts, Peter Blute.

The status quo also was the winner in gubernatorial races, where Democrats and Republicans split: Democrats won in New Hampshire, while in West Virginia, Republican Cecil Underwood, 73, became the nation's oldest governor four decades after he had been the youngest.

KEY

R Republican D Democrat I Independent L Libertarian O Other * Incumbent

ALABAMA

House Winner: Loser: R S. …

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