Presidential Politics And Election Returns
Last Updated July 9, 2003
Hawaii's presidential voting over the years has been the product of two, sometimes countervailing, forces. One is the Islands' historic preference for the Democratic party. This helps explain why Hawaii voted Democratic when few other states did in 1980 and 1988. The other is an inclination to support incumbents in a state that takes patriotism very seriously, in part because the patriotism of so many of its citizens was once unjustly questioned and in part because, in these heavily fortified Pacific islands, foreign threats may seem more menacing. This helps explain why Hawaii supported Ronald Reagan solidly in 1984 and came close to voting for Gerald Ford in 1976, though it wasn't nearly enough to help George H. W. Bush in 1992: Ross Perot's military background, and the presence of Hawaiian Orson Swindle among his top leaders, gave him 14% and helped Bill Clinton carry Hawaii 48%-37%. In 1996 and 2000, as in 1968 and 1980, both those forces were moving in the same direction, and Hawaii voted 57%-32% for Clinton and a nearly identical 56%-37% for Al Gore. In 2004, they will be in tension, and at a time when Hawaii has just elected a Republican governor, though few observers of national politics expect Hawaii to vote for George W. Bush.
Hawaii chooses presidential delegates by caucus. Sometimes insurgent candidates have been able to swamp thinly-attended meetings and win, as Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson did in 1988. Since then Hawaii's caucusgoers have gone for the frontrunners.
|2000 Presidential Vote|
|1996 Presidential Vote|
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in Hawaii, please see the Almanac 2000 online.
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