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Illinois's electoral votes in U.S. presidential elections 1820-2016

Illinois has taken part in fifty U.S. presidential elections since 1820, and has correctly voted for the winning candidate on 41 occasions (not including the 1824 election), giving a success rate of 82 percent. The Prairie State has always voted for a major party candidate, choosing the Democratic-Republican Party's nominees in its first two elections, before voting for the Democratic or Republican Party candidates 24 times each since 1832. After joining the union in 1818, Illinois has generally voted for each party in phases, and has been considered a safe Democrat state for the past three decades. In the 2020 election, Illinois is expected to back the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden.

The Land of Lincoln

Since 1955, Illinois' state slogan has been "The Land of Lincoln", as a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was born in Kentucky, but moved to Illinois in his early 20s, where he emerged as a prominent politician and lawyer before ascending to the presidency in 1861. Lincoln is not the only U.S. President to have resided in Illinois when taking office; his successor, Ulysses S. Grant, was an official Illinois resident when he took office in 1869 (although he had not lived there since before the Civil War), and Barack Obama began his legal career in Chicago in the 1980s, before eventually becoming a State Senator in 1997, and a U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2005. Ronald Reagan is the only president to have been born in Illinois, although he moved to California in his twenties and held public office there. A number of losing candidates also resided in or were born in Illinois, including 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who was born in Chicago.

Electoral votes

In the nineteenth century, Illinois' population boomed as Chicago grew to be one of the largest and most industrialized cities on the continent, and the early twentieth century saw over half a million black Americans move to Illinois during the Great Migration. With this population boom, Illinois' designation of electoral votes grew from just three in the 1820s, to 29 between 1912 and 1940; this was the third highest in the country after New York and Pennsylvania. Since the Second World War, changes in the U.S. population distribution has meant that Illinois' share of electoral votes has gradually decreased, standing at twenty votes since 2012, and expected to drop to 18 in the 2024 election.

Number of electoral votes from Illinois designated to each party's candidate in U.S. presidential elections from 1820 to 2016

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Release date



United States (Illinois)

Survey time period

1820 to 2016

Supplementary notes

*Overall winner.

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Statistics on "2020 Presidential Election"

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