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Distribution of votes in the 1880 US presidential election

The 24th US presidential election took place in 1880, and holds the record for the closest ever popular vote between two candidates. The contest was fought between the Republican Party's James A. Garfield, and the Democratic Party's Winfield S. Hancock. Incumbent President Rutherford B. Hayes stuck to his campaign promise to be a one-term president, and did not seek re-election for the Republican Party. James B. Weaver of the Greenback Party (a new leftist and anti-monopoly political party that campaigned on workers' rights) was the most successful third party candidate.

Results

With more than nine million votes cast in the election, the popular vote was split by just 1,898 in the end. Both candidates carried 19 states, however Garfield emerged victorious, with a 48.3 percent share of the popular vote, compared to Hancock's 48.2 percent. In contrast, the electoral vote was not as close, with Garfield receiving 214 votes to Hancock's 155. A map of the results also shows a clear geographical split between voters, as Garfield swept the north while Hancock took all of the southern states.

Assassination of President Garfield

Garfield assumed office in March 1881, and had planned for anti-corruption, educational and civil rights policies to come into effect, however he was assassinated less than six months into his first year in office. Garfield was shot at a train station in Washington D.C. on July 2nd 1881, and he died from his wounds ten weeks later on September 19. His assassin was Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally ill writer and lawyer, who believed that he had greatly contributed to Garfield's victory in the election and was offended when the administration rejected his application to work as a US consul in either Paris or Vienna. Guiteau was sentenced to death in January 1882, and was hanged in the June of that year.

Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 24th US presidential election in 1880

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Source

Release date

2011

Region

United States

Survey time period

1880

Supplementary notes

*Actual number of electoral votes:
James A. Garfield - 214
Winfield S. Hancock - 155
James B. Weaver - 0
**Actual number of popular votes:
James A. Garfield - 4,446,158
Winfield S. Hancock - 4,444,260
James B. Weaver - 306,135

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