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U.S. presidential election, 1996

Presidential CandidateElectoral Vote Popular Vote Pct Party Running Mate
(Electoral Votes)
Bill Clinton of Arkansas (W) 379 47,402,357 49.24 Democratic Albert Gore, Jr of Tennessee (379)
Bob Dole of Kansas 159 39,198,755 40.71 Republican Jack Kemp of Maryland (159)
Ross Perot of Texas 0 8,085,402 8.40 Reform Pat Choate of the District of Columbia (0)
Ralph Nader 0 685,128 0.71 Green Party Winona LaDuke (0)
Harry Browne 0 485,798 0.50 Libertarian Party Jo Jorgensen (0)
Howard Phillips 0 184,820 0.19 Taxpayers Party Albion Knight (0)
John Hagelin 0 113,670 0.12 Natural Law Party Mike Thompkins (0)
Other 0 121,704 0.13
Total 538 96,277,634 100.00
Other elections: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008
Sources: U.S. Office of the Federal Register (electoral vote), Federal Election Commission (popular vote)

This election took place on November 5, 1996.

In 1995, the United States Republican Party was riding high on the gains made in the 1994 congressional elections. In those elections, the Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, captured the majority of seats in both the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in forty years.

A number of Republican candidates entered the field to challenge the seemingly weak incumbant Bill Clinton. The list included:

The fragmented field of candidates debated issues such as a flat tax and other tax cut proposals, and a return to supply-side economic policies popularized by Ronald Reagan. More attention was drawn to the race by the budget stalemate in 1995 between the Congress and the President, which caused temporary shutdowns and slowdowns in many areas of federal government service.

Former United States Army General Colin Powell was widely courted as a potential Republican nominee. However, on November 8, 1995, Powell announced that he would not seek the nomination.

Going into the 1996 primary contest, Bob Dole was seen as the most likely winner. However, in the primaries and caucuses, Pat Buchanan received early victories in Louisiana and New Hampshire which put Dole's leadership in doubt. However, Dole won a string of victories, starting in South Carolina, which cemented his lead over his rivals, and resulted in his eventual nomination. The G.O.P. nominated Bob Dole on August 15, 1996 as the Republican candidate for the fall election.

The United States Democratic Party nomination process was very uneventful. Bill Clinton was nominated without serious opposition from any other Democrat.

The United States Green Party nominated Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate. Nader accepted the nomination, but vowed to spend only $5,000 in his election campaign.

The United States Reform Party nominated party founder Ross Perot in its first election as an official political party.

During the runup to the general election, Bill Clinton maintained comfortable margins over Bob Dole and Ross Perot. The televised debates featured only Dole and Clinton, locking out Perot and Nader from the discussion. Perot would eventually take his case to court, seeking damages from not being in the debate, as well as citing unfair coverage from the major media outlets.

In the 1996 election for the President of the United States, Bill Clinton was re-elected president; percent of popular vote - William Jefferson CLINTON (Democratic Party) 49.2%, Robert DOLE (Republican Party) 40.7%, Ross Perot (Reform Party) 8.4%, other 1.7%

See also: President of the United States, U.S. presidential election, 1996, History of the United States (1980-present)