Letter Bag: No, Incumbents Do Not Historically win Close Elections

It's time for another fun Letter Bag post! Today's response is directed at an anonymous poster, who we shall hereby refer to as Malakali the Rancor Keeper (look that up so you can see how clever I am).

Before having his comment deleted because he violated Biblical Conservatism's Rules for Commenting, Malakali claimed that in close elections the incumbent wins, historically.  Clearly the only history Malakali knows is 2004. Let me correct our dear rancor keeping friend:

Election 2000 there was no incumbent although incumbent VP Al Gore lost the election (he won the popular vote by .5% but lost in the Electoral College by 5 votes).

Election 1996 was a comfortable 9% victory for the incumbent Bill Clinton.

Election 1992 was a comfortable enough 5% victory for Clinton, but if we want to call 5% close, the incumbent lost.

Election 1988 had no incumbent, but the incumbent VP George Bush won by 8%.

Election 1984 was a landslide victory for the incumbent Ronald Reagan.

Election 1980 shortly before the election several polls had Carter winning by about 3-5% only a few weeks before the election. For example, on October 20, 1980, a New York Times Poll had Carter winning 45% to 43% (Remember there was a strong 3rd Party candidate, a Republican, John Anderson, who was at 10% in this poll). On October 27, 2008 the Times had the race at Carter 42%, Reagan 39% (Anderson 8%.) Reagan won.

Election 1976 Jimmy Carter won by 2% over incumbent Gerald Ford.

Election 1972 Richard Nixon won re-election in a landslide defeating George McGovern by 23% (which as a side note makes the Watergate Break-In one of the stupidest acts of cheating ever. It's like Major league ballplayers corking bats to play a junior college team.

Election 1968 there was no incumbent but Richard Nixon defeated the incumbent VP Hubert Humphrey by 1%.

Election 1964 Lyndon Johnson won handily with a 32% margin of victory.

Election 1960 there was no incumbent but John F. Kennedy beat the incumbent VP by less than 1% of the popular vote.

Election 1956 Dwight Eisenhower won by over 15% in landslide.

Election 1952 there was no incumbent nor did the incumbent Vice President run. For the record, Eisenhower won in a landslide.

So basically the incumbent lost in close elections in 1976 and 1980. The incumbent Vice President lost in close elections in 1960, 1968, and 2000. (In both 1960 and 2000, the incumbent Vice President lost in close elections as they attempted to succeed the highly popular term limited Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bill Clinton.)  Counting incumbent VPs with incumbent Presidents, that's five losses for incumbents in close elections to one win, and the 2004 Election wasn't as close as you'd like to believe (Bush won by 3%).

You see, Milakali, despite what the biased Drive-By Media is telling you, incumbents historically have LOST close elections. Especially when those incumbents are continually below 50% in the polls. Undecided voters this late do not break for the incumbent. That isn't history. The Left can keep talking about 2004 but I've just shown you FIFTY YEARS of history to argue your point. Even if we toss the incumbent VPs, that's still two losses for the incumbent to one win in close elections.

As Mitt Romney said in the 2008 Republican debates, quoting President John Adams, "Facts are stubborn things." And those facts just don't back what you desperately want to believe, Malakali. History has shown us that you will feel as crushed on Election Day as the original Malakali did when that gate crushed the Rancor.