Conservative journalist Pat Buchanan was the primary opponent of President Bush. However, Buchanan's best showing was in the New Hampshire primary on 2/18/1992 - where Bush won by a 53-38% margin President Bush won 73% of all primary votes, with 9,199,463 votes. Buchanan won 2,899,488 votes; unpledged delegates won 287,383 votes, and Duke won 119,115 votes. Just over 100,000 votes were cast for all other candidates, half of which were write-in votes for H. Ross Perot
President George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle easily won renomination by the Republican Party. However, the success of the conservative opposition forced the moderate Bush to move further to the right than in 1988, and to incorporate many socially conservative planks in the party platform. Bush allowed Buchanan to give the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Houston, and his culture war speech alienated many moderates. David Duke also entered the Republican primary, but performed poorly at the polls.
With intense pressure on the Buchanan delegates to relent, the tally for president went as follows:
Vice President Dan Quayle was renominated by voice vote.
1992 election was the last with Stassen as a candidate.
In 1991, President Bush had high popularity ratings in the wake of the Gulf War. Many well-known Democrats considered the race unwinnable and did not run for the nomination. Those that did run included several less-well-known candidates. Some of the potential candidates who did not run included:
Clinton, a Southerner with experience governing a more conservative state, positioned himself as a centrist New Democrat. He prepared for a run in 1992 amidst a crowded field seeking to beat the incumbent President George H. W. Bush. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, Bush seemed unbeatable but a small economic recession spurred Democrats on. Tom Harkin won his native Iowa without much surprise. Clinton, meanwhile, was still a relatively unknown national candidate before the primary season when a woman named Gennifer Flowers appeared in the press to reveal allegations of an affair. Clinton sought damage control by appearing on 60 Minutes with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for an interview with Steve Kroft. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts won the primary in neighboring New Hampshire but Clinton's second place finish—strengthened by Clinton's speech labeling himself “The Comeback Kid”—re-energized his campaign. Clinton swept nearly all of the Super Tuesday primaries, making him the solid front runner. Jerry Brown, however, began to run a surprising insurgent campaign, particularly through use of a 1-800 number to receive grassroots funding. Brown scored surprising wins in Colorado, Connecticut and Vermont and seemed poised to overtake Clinton but a well-publicized misstep involving Brown's Vice-presidential advances towards Rev. Jesse Jackson, apparently unaware of Jackson's complicated relationship with Jewish-Americans, set Brown back. To complicate matters for Brown, east-coast favorite Tsongas found his cancer in apparent but very brief remission. Immediately after the New York primary Tsongas again withdrew, and the campaign was effectively over.
The convention met in New York City, and the official tally was:
Clinton chose U.S. Senator Albert A. Gore Jr. (D-Tennessee) to be his running mate on July 9, 1992. Choosing Gore, who is from Clinton's neighboring state of Tennessee, went against the popular strategy of balancing a Southern candidate with a Northern partner. Gore did serve to balance the ticket in other ways, as he was perceived as strong on family values and environmental issues, while Clinton was not. Also, Gore's similarities to Clinton allowed him to push strongly some of his key campaign themes, such as centrism and generational change.
The Democratic Convention in New York City was essentially a solidification of the party around Clinton and Gore, though there was controversy over whether Jerry Brown would be allowed to speak. Brown did indeed speak, though not on prime time and he refused to endorse Clinton.
Before Gore's selection, other politicians were mentioned as a possible running-mate, e.g. Bob Kerrey, Dick Gephardt, Mario Cuomo, Indiana Representative Lee H. Hamilton, Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford, Florida Senator Bob Graham, and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
Another additional controversy concerned Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, who sought a speaking slot at the convention but was not granted one. Casey complained that it was because of his outspoken pro-life views: he had warned the platform committee that Democrats were committing "suicide" because they did not support restrictions on abortion. Clinton supporters have said that Casey was not allowed to speak because he had not endorsed the ticket.
The Libertarian Party nominated Andre Marrou, former Alaska representative and the Party's 1988 vice-presidential candidate, for President. Nancy Lord was his running mate. The Marrou/Lord ticket made the ballot in all fifty states plus Washington, D.C. and received 291,627 votes (0.28% of the popular vote).
Psychotherapist and political activist Lenora Fulani, who was the 1988 presidential nominee of the New Alliance Party, received a second consecutive nomination from the Party in 1992. Fulani and running mate Maria Elizabeth Munoz received 73,622 votes (0.07% of the popular vote).
The U.S. Taxpayers Party ran its first presidential ticket in 1992, nominating conservative political activist Howard Phillips. Phillips and running mate Albion Knight, Jr. drew 43,369 votes (0.04% of the popular vote).
The newly formed Natural Law Party nominated scientist and researcher John Hagelin for President and Mike Tompkins for Vice President. The party's first presidential ticket appeared on the ballot in 32 states and drew 39,000 votes (0.04% of the popular vote).
After the convention, Clinton and Gore began a bus tour around the United States, while the Bush/Quayle campaign in panic mode began to hammer at Clinton's character, in light of accusations of infidelity and dodging the draft. The Bush campaign emphasized its foreign policy successes such as Desert Storm, and the end of the Cold War. Bush also contrasted his military service to Clinton's lack thereof, and criticized his lack of foreign policy expertise. However, as the economy was the main issue, Bush's campaign floundered across the nation, even in Republican bastions, and Clinton maintained leads with over 50 percent of the vote nationwide consistently, while Bush typically saw numbers in the upper 30s. As Bush's economic edge had evaporated, his campaign looked to energize its socially conservative base at the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, Texas. At the Convention, Bush's primary campaign opponent Pat Buchanan gave his famous "culture war" speech, hammering at Clinton and Gore's social progressiveness, and voicing skepticism on his "New Democrat" brand. After President Bush accepted his renomination, his campaign saw a small bounce in the polls, but this was short lived, as Clinton maintained his lead. The campaign continued with a lopsided lead for Clinton through September, until Ross Perot decided to re-enter the race Ross Perot's re-entry in the race was welcome by the Bush campaign, as Fred Steeper, a poll taker for Bush, said, "He'll be important if we accomplish our goal, which is to draw even with Clinton." Initially, Perot's return saw the Texas billionaire's numbers stay low, until he was given the opportunity to participate in a trio of unprecedented three-man debates. The race narrowed, as Perot's number's significantly improved as Clinton's number's declined, while Bush's numbers remained more or less the same from earlier in the race as Perot and Bush began to hammer at Clinton on character issues once again.
Allegations were also made that George H. W. Bush had engaged in a long-term extramarital affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald, who had been his secretary throughout the 1970s. Bush denied ever having an affair with Fitzgerald.
Independent candidate Ross Perot received 19,741,065 popular votes for President. The billionaire used his own money to advertise extensively, and is the only third-party candidate ever allowed into the nationally televised presidential debates with both major party candidates (Independent John Anderson debated Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, but without Democrat Jimmy Carter who had refused to appear in a three-man debate). Speaking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, Perot described its effect on American jobs as causing a "giant sucking sound." Perot was ahead in the polls for a period of almost two months - a feat not accomplished by an independent candidate in almost 100 years. Perot lost much of his support when he temporarily withdrew from the election, only to declare himself a candidate again soon after.
Perot's almost 19% of the popular vote made him the most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. Also, Ross Perot's 19% of the popular vote was the highest ever percent of the popular vote for a candidate who did not win any electoral votes. Exit polling indicated that Perot voters would have split their votes fairly evenly between Clinton and Bush had Perot not been in the race , and an analysis by FairVote - Center for Voting and Democracy suggested that, while Bush could have won more electoral votes with Perot out of the race, he would not have gained enough to reverse Clinton's victory. Clinton also led Bush in all polls after the Democratic Convention after Ross Perot's initial exit in two-way races, and never lost the lead for the rest of the campaign.
Although he did not win any states, Perot managed to finish ahead of one of the two major party candidates in two states: In Maine, Perot received 30.44% of the vote to Bush's 30.39% (Clinton won Maine with 38.77%); in Utah, Perot received 27.34% of the vote to Clinton's 24.65% (Bush won Utah with 43.36%).
Most importantly, Bush's coalition was in disarray, for both the aforementioned reasons and for unrelated reasons. The end of the Cold War allowed old rivalries among conservatives to re-emerge and meant that other voters focused more on domestic policy, to the detriment of Bush, a social and fiscal moderate. The consequence of such a perception depressed conservative turnout. Unlike Bush, Clinton was able to unite his party behind his candidacy. Despite a fractious and ideologically diverse party, Clinton was able to court all wings of the Democratic party successfully, even where they conflicted. To garner the support of moderates and conservative Democrats, he attacked Sister Souljah, a little-known rap musician whose lyrics Clinton condemned. Clinton could also point to his centrist record as Governor of Arkansas. More liberal Democrats were impressed by Clinton's 1960's era political record and support for social causes such as a woman's right to abortion. Supporters remained energized and confident, even in times of scandal or missteps.
The effect of Ross Perot's candidacy has been a contentious point of debate for many years. In the ensuing months after the election, various Republicans asserted that Perot had acted as a spoiler, enough to the detriment of Bush to lose him the election. While many disaffected conservatives did vote for Ross Perot to protest Bush's tax increase, further examination of the Perot vote in the Election Night exit polls not only showed that Perot siphoned votes equally among Clinton, Bush, and those staying home if Perot had not been a candidate, but of the voters who cited Bush's broken "No New Taxes" pledge as "very important," two thirds voted for Bill Clinton. . A mathematical look at the voting numbers reveals that Bush would have had to win 12.2% of Perot's 18.8% of the vote, 65% of Perot's support base, to equal Clinton's popular vote totals, and would have needed to win every state Clinton won by less than five percentage points. Perot appealed to disaffected voters all across the political spectrum who had grown weary of the two-party system. NAFTA played a role in Perot's support, and Perot voters were relatively moderate on hot button social issues.
Clinton, Bush and Perot did not focus on abortion during the campaign. Exit polls, however, showed that attitudes toward abortion "significantly influenced" the vote, as pro-choice Republicans defected from Bush.
Additionally, 1992 saw the first emergence of the geographical division that would come to dominate electoral politics in the 1990s and 2000s. Democratic dominance of the Northeast, West Coast, and upper Middle West solidified with this election, and even the popular Clinton could no longer sweep the South as a Democrat.
Source (Electoral Vote):
|THE PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IN SOCIAL GROUPS (IN PERCENTAGES)|
| % of|
|Party and ideology|
|Gender and marital status|
|17||Born Again, religious right||23||61||15||26||65||8|
|17||18–29 years old||43||34||22||53||34||10|
|33||30–44 years old||41||38||21||48||41||9|
|26||45–59 years old||41||40||19||48||41||9|
|24||60 and older||50||38||12||48||44||7|
|6||Not a high school graduate||54||28||18||59||28||11|
|24||High school graduate||43||36||21||51||35||13|
|27||Some college education||41||37||21||48||40||10|
|17||Post graduate education||50||36||14||52||40||5|
|10||Population over 500,000||58||28||13||68||25||6|
|21||Population 50,000 to 500,000||50||33||16||50||39||8|
|30||Rural areas, towns||39||40||20||45||44||10|