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Kentucky's electoral votes in U.S. presidential elections 1792-2016

Kentucky has taken part in every U.S. presidential election (excluding the first in 1789, where it was a part of Virginia), and has voted for the overall winner in 36 out of 57 elections, giving a success rate 63 percent. Throughout its history, Kentucky has generally voted for the more conservative option of the major party candidates; siding primarily with the Democrats from the 1850s until the 1950s, before switching to the Republicans in recent decades (although there were some exceptions to these trends). The only times where Kentucky did not vote for a major party nominee were in 1792, where the unaffiliated George Washington won an uncontested re-election, and in 1860, where it voted for the Constitutional Union's nominee in the lead-up to the American Civil War. Kentucky has been considered a "red state" since the 1960s, although it did support Jimmy Carter in 1976, and Clinton in 1992 and 1996, however Republicans have won at least 56 percent of the popular vote in the past five elections. In the 2016 election Donald Trump won almost twice as many of Kentucky's popular votes as his opponent, and is expected to carry the state comfortably in the 2020 election.

Kentuckian presidential candidates

Only one U.S. president has ever been born in Kentucky; that was Abraham Lincoln, who was born and spent the first seven years of his life in the Bluegrass State. As mentioned previously, Lincoln did not carry his birth state in the 1860 election (or 1864 election), nor did his fellow Kentuckian and Southern Democratic nominee, Vice President John C. Breckenridge. The only Kentuckian to have carried their home state was Henry Clay, who was a nationwide runner-up in the 1824, 1832 and 1844 elections. The 1864 election was the last time where a major party candidate was born or resided in Kentucky.

Electoral votes

Kentucky's share of electoral votes has fluctuated during its history, peaking at 15 votes in the elections between 1832 and 1840, but slowly decreasing from 13 votes in 1928, to just eight since 1992. Kentucky is expected to maintain its eight votes going into the 2024 election, based on the most recent population projections.

Number of electoral votes from Kentucky designated to each party's candidate in U.S. presidential elections from 1792 to 2016

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Release date



United States (Kentucky)

Survey time period

1792 to 2016

Supplementary notes

*Overall winner.

**Horace Greeley won the popular vote in Kentucky, but died before the electoral votes were cast: four of Kentucky's electoral votes went to Greeley's running mate, Benjamin Gratz Brown, while eight votes were cast for Indiana's Thomas A. Hendricks.

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Statistics on "2020 Presidential Election"

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