County Voters Have Often Picked Presidential Winner - The Missourian: Election2012

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County Voters Have Often Picked Presidential Winner

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Posted: Saturday, October 6, 2012 4:00 pm | Updated: 1:07 pm, Wed Jun 12, 2013.

Will Franklin County voters correctly pick the next president of the United States next month?

If history is any indication, the answer is probably yes.

Election results in the county are available dating back as far as 1836.

Since that time, the county has gone with the winning candidate 31 out of 44 times.

That means Franklin County voters have been right 70.5 percent of the time.

That might not be accurate enough to be considered a bellwether county.

Missouri as a state has been called a bellwether by some, having voted for the winner in all but two presidential elections since 1904, the exceptions being 1956 and 2008.

The state’s accuracy for the last 26 presidential elections is 92.6 percent.

In 1956, Franklin County voters picked the eventual winner, Dwight D. Eisenhower, but in 2008 sided with the majority of Missourians.

That most recent miss for Franklin County and Missouri voters was in picking Republican John McCain.

In Franklin County, McCain received 27,351 votes, or 55.3 percent, to Barack Obama’s 21,251 votes, or 42.98 percent.

Prior to that, the county had picked the right man in seven straight elections from 1980 to 2004.

In 1976, then-President Gerald Ford defeated Jimmy Carter in Franklin County, but lost nationwide.

GOP Dominance a Trend

Since 1968, the Republican nominee has carried the county nine out of 11 times. The only exceptions have been in 1992 and 1996, when Democrat Bill Clinton won.

In 1996, that margin was very close — Clinton got 13,908 votes to Republican Bob Dole’s 13,715.

Prior to Clinton, Democrats haven’t carried the county since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater.

That, however, was an exception to a trend that dates back to the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican to carry the county with his victory in 1864.

Since then, Franklin County has been friendly turf for the GOP.

Since Lincoln’s victory, the Republican nominee was elected to the White House 22 times, or 59.5 percent.

Franklin D. Roosevelt won Franklin County in 1932 and 1936, but not in 1940 and 1944, even though he was re-elected.

Even Harry Truman, the only president from Missouri, struggled in Franklin County in 1948.

Here, he won by a narrow margin, receiving 7,822 votes, or 50.3 percent, to Thomas Dewey’s 7,725.

Dewey had won Franklin County handily four years prior, getting 9,325 votes to FDR’s 5,958.

Early On, County Favored Democrats

From 1836 through 1860, Democratic nominees carried the county seven consecutive times over the Whig Party.

Two Whigs elected president, William Henry Harrison in 1840 and Zachary Taylor in 1848, did not win Franklin County.

Voters here instead favored Martin Van Buren, who was seeking re-election in 1840, and Lewis Cass, a Democratic U.S. senator who later served as Secretary of State under President James Buchanan.

The Party of Lincoln

In the county, Lincoln, defeated Gen. George B. McClellan handily in 1864.

McClellan, who served under Lincoln as the Union General of the Army of the Potomac, lost that post in 1862.

He became the Democrats’ nominee, but lost in Franklin County by a huge margin.

Lincoln got 1,717 votes, or 81 percent, to McClellan’s 401.

No presidential candidate since, from either party, has done that well in Franklin County.

Two candidates have managed to top the 70 percent plateau.

FDR defeated Alf Landon with 73 percent of the county’s vote in 1936.

Warren G. Harding defeated James M. Cox in 1920 with 76 percent of the vote.

In terms of sheer votes, Ronald Reagan has the largest margin. He defeated Walter Mondale in 1984, 18,669 to 8,319, a difference of 10,350 votes.

Republican George W. Bush had a sizable win over Democrat John Kerry in 2004, receiving 26,429 votes to Kerry’s 18,556, a difference of 7,873.

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