How New York City Votes

Elections With record turnout predicted in New York City for today’s election, we thought we’d look back at how New York City residents have voted in past elections via The Almanac of New York City.

In the 43 elections from 1836-1904, the Democratic presidential candidate has won 37 times. Indeed, New York City has proven tough for Republican candidates as even Abraham Lincoln lost the city in his two presidential runs. The last Republican candidate to win New York City was Thomas Dewey, who defeated Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1944 election. Richard Nixon came the closest in recent years to breaking the Democratic stranglehold in New York City, narrowly losing to George McGovern in the 1972 election.

Perhaps the most lopsided recent election was Al Gore’s trouncing of George Bush in 2000. Gore won a whopping 1,703,364 votes to Bush’s 398,726. Gore even won Staten Island, the only borough to consistently vote Republican in recent elections. The most votes ever garnered by a presidential candidate was Lyndon Johnson who got 2,183,643 votes in his 1964 race against Barry Goldwater.

The most successful Independent candidate was Henry Wallace who wond 422,355 votes as the Progressive nominee in the 1948 election. In recent years, H. Ross Perot’s 1992 run was the most successful as 141,510 voters expressed their support for the tiny Texan. Surprisingly in a city known for its liberal tendencies, Ralph Nader’s 2000 run earned him only 72,435 compared to George Wallace’s independent  presidential bid which won 121,781.

Not surprisingly however, New York City residents are heavily in the Democratic category — 67.2% voters are registered Democrats as compared to 12.2% who are Republicans. It will be interesting to see how the turnout turns out today. While voter participation has slowly creeped up in recent elections — 52.4% in 1996, 53.3% in 2000, and 54.7 in 2004 — nearly half of New York City’s registered voters don’t vote.

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