Getting the 1992/1996 elections right: ROSS PEROT DID NOT CHANGE THE OUTCOMES

Too many times, I see people here claim that Ross Perot caused Bill Clinton to win, with people using the same talking point Rush Limbaugh and the media give: that he siphoned off votes which would have ALL gone to Bush, and that. It is denying history, and being self-delusional. It is a sad attempt to discredit why we even got back to the White House after years of losing in landslides. It is also a self serving smear, to deny the fact that reforming welfare and cutting crime DID help us come back, and Clinton absolutely had potential to get a majority in a two way race. it also ignores MANY facts and actual imperical evidence, something the Perot myth completely IGNORES.

Before Ross Perot dropped out of the 1992 race, George Bush Sr. polled in the 30's, ml?res=9E0CE7DB133EF932A25755C0A96495826 0 When Perot left the race, Bill Clinton took the lead, with over 50 percent, as Bush stayed in the 30's ml?res=9E0CE0D7133DF93BA25754C0A96495826 0 and Bill Clinton kept that lead consistently, thru the GOP Convention ml?res=9E0CE5DF113FF935A1575BC0A96495826 0& and Bush stayed in the upper 30's and early 40's, where he ended up essentially in the final tally. Now, many times, we look to the post Labor Day polls. Let us look at one ml?res=9E0CE0DC1F3EF936A2575AC0A96495826 0 and

Among 741 registered voters interviewed Wednesday through Sunday, Governor Clinton was the choice of 54 percent and President Bush 38 percent when asked who would get their vote if the election were held now.

Perot would shortly return. but let us look. Where did Bush end up on election day? he got 38 percent. He consistently polled this, even with Perot's return ml?res=9E0CE5DC1E3AF936A15753C1A96495826 0 and this was 2 weeks before the election. Bush stays at 38 percent, while Clinton drops. So who did Perot's votes come from, if Bush's support was the same the entire election? Well, let us look at the exit polls, which asked "without Ross Perot on the ballot, for whom would you have voted?" And they said ml?res=9E0CE0DB1F3FF936A35752C1A96495826 0 here is how it went
If Mr. Perot had not been on the ballot, 38 percent of his voters said, they would have voted for Gov. Bill Clinton, and 38 percent said they would have voted for President Bush.
 Even according to allocating the exit polls, Bill Clinton would have won the election by the same margin, but with 52.65 percent to Bush's 47.34 percent.

Now, conservatives and even many here, and especially on Dkos argue enough would have gone to Bush to swing the election. That ignores simple math, and polling data and trend. To assume just because many voted for Reagan and Bush doesn't mean they were gonna vote for him in 1992, seeing as they obviously didn't. not to mention Dukakis and new voters who went to him. Also, mathematically, for Bush to have caught up to Clinton in the popular vote, assuming all Perot voters would have voted, for Bush to break even in the popular vote, he would have needed over 60 percent of the Perot vote to even come close to a draw. If you give Bush 60 percent of his vote, Bush gets 11.85 million votes more, and with Clinton getting 40, he gets 7.9 million more. So Clinton still has 52.8 million, and Bush has 50 million. And if the 24 percent of Perot voters who wouldn't have voted are excluded, Bush would need SEVENTY percent to just edge Clinton out. And looking at the nature of Perot's candidacy, a pro-choice pro-gays in the army guy who would raise taxes to cut the deficit if necessary, that is NOT very likely. Clinton was in third place before he left in July 92. Let us look at why this is completely implausible. Ross Perot was not like Nader, whose policies were stereotypically in one political direction. He was pro choice, and pro-gays in the military. he wanted to raise taxes to cut the deficit. He railed against the religious right. There is no reason to believe he took ALL or a huge portion from Bush. Even Nader voters not ALL would have gone for Gore, as you assume about Perot. 45 woulda went for Gore, 27 woulda went for Bush, and the rest would not have voted. However, because that race was extremely close in many states, that proved the difference. And Nader is much farther to the left of Gore than Perot was right of Bush, if he was even right of Bush. Going in big enough numbers to swing the election is not in the nature of 3rd party candidates.

So, if Bush were to have gotten 55 percent from Perot voters, 30 percent for Clinton, the rest abstain, Clinton STILL WINS!!!!

What also gets ignored is how the exit polls were pointed out to show Perot taking equally after the election. Daily Howler l points this out. Just read the thing. The Washington Times is the one who began the myth, which Bob Dole spun, and now people here actually buy, despite all the evidence in the contrary. Pew Research Center showed that Perot was taking FROM CLINTON DURING the election, BEFORE the spin 1026.pdf called "Perot Undertoe Threatens Clinton.

While Perot may have changed a few states, according to FairVote, a foundation for Democracy founded by John Anderson, he finds that

Perot's vote totals in themselves likely did not cause Clinton to win. Even if all of these states had shifted to Bush and none of Bush's victories had been reversed (as seems plausible, in fact, as Bush won by less than 5% only in states that a Republican in a close election could expect to carry, particularly before some of the partisan shifts that took place later in the 1990s: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia), Clinton still would have won the electoral college vote by 281 to 257
And that is assuming all of the states on the bottom went Bush, he caveats earlier that those were much less likely, as NJ and ME have gone Dem every time since Bill Clinton by large numbers.

As with the 1996 election, tions/natl.exit.poll/index1.html and it shows Perot again got 30 from Clinton and Dole each, with the rest abstaining. Clinton only fell in the polls from the high 50's he was in to get 49 because Perot spend millions on negative ads on him during the end, and the media focusing on China"gate". And if you look at the tracking polls, they asked Perot voters who they preferred as a second choice s/ l and the answer

Question to Perot voters: Who would be your second choice for President -- Dole or Clinton?
Likely Voters

Clinton Dole    

57%     36%     10/24-25
55%     38%     10/25-26
53%     39%     10/26-27
55%     36%     10/27-28
55%     38%     10/28-29
56%     39%     10/29-30
55%     38%     10/30-10/31
53%     39%     10/31-11/1
54%     38%     11/1-11/2

Even a highly detailed mathematical analysis shows Bill Clinton wins the election every way you cut it So stop denying that Bill Clinton's elections brought us back from the 5/6 electoral losses we suffered at the hands of Nixon twice, Reagan twice, and Bush Sr. once. In the 90's triangulation was necessary, and so was being a New Democrat in 1992. We lost 5 elections on welfare and crime. Bill Clinton did what we had to do to get us back on the Presidential map. We averaged 113 electoral votes before Bill Clinton, now we actually get close to 270, with less than charismatic candidates, against George W. Bush, who is the toughest GOP opponent since Reagan, who can rally a base, money, and has enough charisma, who people buy. Stop re-writing history. Bill Clinton won 1992 and 1996 fair and square. Sometimes, you have to abandon principles for votes. Bill Clinton told Kerry to back gay marriage state bans. He said that it was the issue in 2004 to Kerry. Kerry didn't heed his warning, and now he is running for reelection, for SENATE that is, not President. The fact is, Bill Clinton is right, was right, and to deny his success and to not listen to him is to ignore history, and re-write it. It is also to delude oneself on how to actually get 270 electoral votes. Thats not saying I supported the DLC on Iraq and playing nice with Bush, but no one is perfect. I don't see why they are treated as the devil so much. We needed them at one point.

Not to mention, What is wrong with that assumption? Let us see: In 1992, George Bush Sr consistently had approval ratings in the 40's and 30's. Take a look at ocuments/info-presapp0605-31.html and look at Bush's rating during that year. Also, because WSJ is a conservative source, it is gonna make the conservatives look better, and inflates his numbers. Never before has a party been re-elected to the White House with such numbers. Examples include Stevenson in 1952, HHH in 1968, Gerry Ford in 1976, and Jimmy Carter in 1980. So approvals alone help discredit this myth. But lets examine more. Bush winning ignores huge historical precedent. However, if we had nominated Kerrey or Tsongas, seeing how anti-incumbent and even congressional anti-incumbent sentiment was strong in '92, Bush may have been able to paint them as the incumbent. It could have been 1994 two years earlier.

I have yet to see any actually substantial evidence of the contrary. Countless conservative books, and even people on DKos, where I cross posted this, say "many political scientists" and say Perot swung things. Too bad that is as general as "some people say" which is what Fox News does. Ever seen OutFoxed? When people use that meme, they also never cite anyone credible, either they cite no one, or some conservative. So stop giving bullshit credence.

Tags: anti-revisionism, DKos, myth, smear (all tags)



Frakking hell

The present is more important than the past.  and the present isn't rosy.  Look at the maps on the sidebar and see who is winning it is the guy who has the press as his base.

Clinton would have won in 1992 and it would have been a landslide in 1996 without Perot.

Note I am no longer an Obama partisan.  I am a democrat who wants any democrat (hell even Mike Gravel, but not Lieberman) in the White House right now.

by Student Guy 2008-04-17 04:07PM | 0 recs
we must end this lie, smear and revisionism

which is used to smear the Clintons, which has somehow foud its way onto the left, and is wrong to be going around because not learning from the Clintons spells danger. If you discount the fact his moderatism on wedge issues helped us, you run the danger of doing what Kerry did with gay marriage, and losing. Notice how Obama himself even triangulates, on gay marriage. Clinton told Kerry to do that. It was the DKossers and Duers who made sure Kerry didn't do it, he didn't, and he lost. It is also belittling a great man, a great President, who brought us back from political hell.

by DiamondJay 2008-04-17 04:14PM | 0 recs
You didn't take back your donation

though, right?  

by ReillyDiefenbach 2008-04-17 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: You didn't take back your donation

No I didn't because they were fully authorized and not illegally taken from me.

McCain has gotten a free ride for too long and the progressive blogosphere has taken to thinking that our friend is our enemy.

Obama won't get any more money from me unless he gets the nomination
Hillary won't get any more money from me unless she gets the nomination.

by Student Guy 2008-04-17 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Frakking hell

Hey, SG,  you're halfway.  Take a few more steps--we're ready to welcome you with open arms!

by markjay 2008-04-17 04:36PM | 0 recs
Sorry there is no frakking way

that will happen unless she is the nominee.  Just like I won't pivot back to Obama unless he is the nominee.

I am in the camp of either would be great but I don't care which.

McCain has gotten a free ride for so long and all we care about is shivving each other.

by Student Guy 2008-04-17 04:50PM | 0 recs

tell the open arms comment to some of the Clinton supporters here.  I just got insulted for expressing my frustration with both candidates.

The open arms thing don't include alienating people, which is why I say a pox on both houses.

I only hope the winner can placate the loser's camp so we don't get President McCain.

God knows it will take a lot of work...

by Student Guy 2008-04-17 07:20PM | 0 recs
I agree entirely

Evidence shows that without Perot, Clinton would have likely lost a few states, but not enough to threaten his election, even if the popular vote may have been relatively close.

Clinton won the electoral college 370-168.  Several states Clinton won with very small pluralities over Bush Sr. and Perot.  It's very likely that Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, and Nevada would have stayed red had Perot not been on the ballot.  It is also possible (though not as likely) that Bush. Sr. would have won Lousiana, Maine, New Jersey, and Ohio without Perot's interference.  And if we are being VERY generous to Bush. Sr., he might have had a chance at winning Georgia, Colorado, and Wisconsin without Perot.

Even giving all those states to Bush. Sr., Clinton still wins 270-268, and that's assuming all of Perot's support would have gone directly to Bush Sr., a kind of worst-case scenario since exit polls actually showed Perot voters would have split between Bush and Clinton, with another large chunk actually staying home.

I agree with the diary, Perot did not change the result of the 1992 election, Bush. Sr. was toast.

by Skaje 2008-04-17 04:27PM | 0 recs
i doubt even lousiana

as even in 1996, Bill Clinton won a straight up majority there that year and in Maine too, and New Jersey has been REALLY blue since 1992 getting also a 53-36 win there in 96. Sure Clinton loses Montana, Kentucky, and maybe Ohio. But this also assumes the exit polls, when Perot had been back one month.

Before Perot reentered at the end of September, Clinton was consistently leading  in the upper 50s, like 58-38 and if that had been able to keep going, it woulda been maybe FDR vs. Hoover, or Reagan/Mondale. Bush got the same percent as Hoover in the end anyway. Perot ruined a possible political realignment by reentering. If he had kept upper 58's, he prob woulda carried all of those states plus NC and TX which were competitive that year at some points.

by DiamondJay 2008-04-17 04:38PM | 0 recs
Good comment

I also think Perot may have even COST Clinton Florida and Arizona in 1992.  Both were pretty tight and Clinton ended up winning those in 1996.

by DaveOinSF 2008-04-17 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Getting the

Smearing and destroying the Clinton's is key to the BO / dkos / etc game plan.  Only BO and who is supporters decide are the true democrats.  Everyone else is not neccessary.  Working class voters, latino's, Older women, hear the news.  The democratic party has be changed by the movement and you are out and the new crowd is in charge.  We want you votes but are not interested in anything else you have to say.


by giusd 2008-04-17 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Getting the

...and this has what to do with Ross Perot and the 1992 election?

by Skaje 2008-04-17 04:30PM | 0 recs
We'd get rid of the DLC wing

if we could.  That unwholesome faction has attached itself to our beloved Democratic party like a goiter, but unfortunately, we need them and some repentant repugs and wishy washy independents to win.  That's okay, we'll figure it out when we get there.  If we get a sixty percenter, the progressive agenda becomes a whole lot easier to pass.  As obama always says, it's on us, not him.

by ReillyDiefenbach 2008-04-17 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Getting the 1992/1996 elections right:

Thanks for this diary, though more GOPers need to read it.   I have had to spend hours of my life disabusing people of the notion that Perot cost Bush the presidency in 1992.  

But you know how it is talking to a staunch conservative.  It's like telling your dog to keep off the sofa.  It really doesn't work too well.

by reggie44pride 2008-04-17 04:40PM | 0 recs
we need many more liberals to read it too
i mean I am a proud liberal, but many MANY liberals, believe the myth, many here, and almost everyone at Daily Kos and COUNTLESS people on other blogs. I've posted it there, 132741/179/816/495474
and somehow, there were still some people there who tripped for an excuse or ignored the evidence out right. It also is a smear to William Jefferson Clinton, and a delusion, used to disavow political pragmatism. If we had followed Clinton's advice on gay marriage in 2004, we'd have maybe won.
by DiamondJay 2008-04-17 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: we need many more liberals to read it too

I didn't know so-called liberals were under the false notion that Clinton only won because of Perot.  Then again, there are plenty of stupid people in both parties.

I do not agree with using the gay marriage issue to win in 2004.  Even if it worked, it's not what I want my party doing.

by reggie44pride 2008-04-17 04:58PM | 0 recs
just look at Kos, and even DU

and even here, the myth is everywhere. check this thread alone from DKos 225534/511 and search "Perot" at Democratic Underground in the search bar. The myth is spread like the plague, tho many refute it, it still goes around. I'm a liberal, i wasn't maligning them, just saying like "even some of us" type thing. The Senate website bio of Al Gore even perpetuates it ory/common/generic/VP_Albert_Gore.htm writing "Independent candidate Ross Perot's campaign also appealed to some voter groups that would otherwise have supported Bush" and I wrote them to try to get them to change it, and they gave the dumbest excuse that went like "Clinton only gained 3 mil over MD, Bush lost 9 mil, so its reasonable to 'assume' they went to Perot" The myth is cancer, a lie, and shoudl be eradicated. Government money is spreading the myth.

by DiamondJay 2008-04-17 05:05PM | 0 recs
The Diarist is Right

    Perot helped Clinton only in a few states in which a 3rd major candidate drained more away from Bush than Clinton.

   In other states, Perot was a clear detriment to Clinton rather than Bush. Nationally, exit polls showed Clinton and Bush likely would've split the Perot vote, which would've allowed Clinton a clear and slightly bigger win than he got.

by southernman 2008-04-17 05:06PM | 0 recs

Clinton ran an absolutely masterful campaign in 1992. The bus tours with the Gore's, he was tough and unafraid to PUNCH, Republicans didn't know how to handle Bill Clinton and thats why they HATE him so much. Bush, Sr. even resorted to calling he and Gore "bozos" Bush, Jr's whole run for President was about "revenge" and by beating Gore in 2000 he would be avenging the old man lol Thats why Poppy cries all the time now, Junior didn't rescue the Bush legacy, he ended it

by rossinatl 2008-04-17 05:46PM | 0 recs
not to mention Gore got the most votes

and Bush didn't. More people wanted Gore than any other candidate. the GOP had only won the most votes once in the last 16 years.

by DiamondJay 2008-04-17 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Getting the 1992/1996 elections right: ROSS PE

In 1996 you are right.

In 1992, Many MANY MANY Historians disagree with you... The feeling is had there NEVER been a Perot in the first place, Bush would have won... and you are using one set of poll numbers, hardly conclusive evidence.

by yitbos96bb 2008-04-17 07:22PM | 0 recs
and MANY MANY agree with me

like Doris Kearns Goodwin, the most respected Presidential historian of modern time. people who believe the myth ALWAYS say "many historians" or "many political scientists" but can't back it up, or show nothing. Well, I've shown a wealth of diverse statistical proof, which historians, like Doris Kearns Goodwin and a ton of others believe. Along with Frank Luntz, Perot's pollster who said that Clinton would have set "a new American record", John Anderson's FairVote company, just look at the wealth of info and evidence I've shown. The poll sets are from many different services, just reported by the times, ans a lot better evidence than Rush Limbaugh and Hannity and Rhodes whining why Clinton won. I have links to more "political scientists" who agree with me, and go to his home page, he's an "historian", Pew research, which I showed you in the thread, and others. You can find more polls by looking on the New York Times website, and you'll get an idea of how the election was going.

If you are referring to the idea that perot weakened Bush in the first place, even before he dropped out, I've heard that one. But Bush getting re-elected was not likely. Just look at his approval ratings, as bad as Carter's. If not Perot, Buchanan would have kept going like Ted Kennedy did. He just wrapped the effort up early cuz of Perot. Not to mention, Bush was a horrendous campaigner, parties don't keep the White House for four terms too often, and Clinton wasn't a liberal, so him winning re-election does not add up, simply.

by DiamondJay 2008-04-17 07:41PM | 0 recs

When Perot came back in, he dumped tens of millions of dollars into the race, and it was primarily anti-Clinton ads (because Clinton was leading and Perot was in it to win).  That's the only reason the margin wound up close imo.

by Trickster 2008-04-17 09:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Getting the 1992/1996 elections right: ROSS PE

Perot was leading both Bush and Clinton when he dropped out.

by switching sides 2008-04-17 11:59PM | 0 recs
Clinton was in last

so obviously Perot wasn't helping Clinton. Perot was hogging all the media time. notice who took the lead when he dropped out, and that person was leading with far over 50, while Bush was stuck in the upper 30's, where he ended up on election day. It only takes sense and math to figure out the Perot-spoiler myth is just that: A MYTH. the sad thing is too many people believe it.

by DiamondJay 2008-04-18 06:46AM | 0 recs


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