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About This QuizSince the first U.S. presidential election began in 1788, the country has been no stranger to odd occurrences among candidates, voters and results. If it seems like it should be an easy process, the presidential election has often proven anything but simple. You'll see what we mean with this quiz.
How many Electoral College votes are needed for a candidate to win the White House?
Of the 538 possible electoral votes, a candidate must earn at least 270 to win.
Why do Americans vote on a Tuesday?
Historically, farmers needed to travel to vote, and they couldn’t on Sunday because of church.
Tuesday voting began in 1845 when most voting Americans were farmers and Christians, and polling locations were few and far between. Since it often took a day to get to a polling station, Tuesday was selected for voting to avoid Sunday travel.
Monday was considered an unlucky day by the Puritans.
The day was chosen in honor of George Washington, who was born on a Tuesday.
This popular president won by a surprisingly narrow margin of popular votes — just 118,550 by some estimates.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Although Kennedy squeaked by in the popular vote, he took 303 electoral votes, easily topping Richard Nixon's 219 and Harry F. Byrd's 15, to become the youngest and, so far, only Catholic president.
John F. Kennedy
Which election resulted in the largest difference between the popular vote and electoral vote to date?
2016: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump
In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million more popular votes, but she lost to Donald Trump, who gained 304 electoral votes to her 227.
2008: Barack Obama vs. John McCain
1876: Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden
Which president had the most lopsided victory of all time, taking 98.5 percent of the electoral votes?
Franklin D. Roosevelt
In the 1936 election, Roosevelt took 523 of the electoral votes, 98.5 percent at the time. Reagan and Nixon came close to matching his achievement in the 1984 and 1972 elections, respectively. Reagan actually had 525 electoral votes but that represented 97.6 percent at the time.
Which presidential election resulted in an Electoral College tie and ultimately led to a duel? (Hint: It was immortalized in a Broadway musical.)
The election of 1800 (John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson)
Alexander Hamilton campaigned against Aaron Burr when he tied Thomas Jefferson in electoral votes (even though Burr was running for VP). This fueled the rivalry between the two, which ultimately ended with Burr killing Hamilton in a duel — a story now familiar to many Americans from the musical "Hamilton."
The election of 1860 (Abraham Lincoln vs. John Breckinridge)
The election of 1916 (Woodrow Wilson vs. Charles Evans Hughes)
The election of this president, who won just 40 percent of the popular vote, led to several states seceding the Union a few weeks later.
Although Lincoln did not win a majority in the popular vote, in the Electoral College he took most of the North, along with California and Oregon. South Carolina and six other states quickly voted to secede, leading to the Civil War.
In five elections, the candidate who won the popular vote did not take the White House due to not winning in the Electoral College. Which of the following is NOT one of those elections?
2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore
1824: John Quincy Adams vs. Andrew Jackson
1976: Jimmy Carter vs. Gerald Ford
Although Carter carried 23 states plus D.C. to Ford's 27 states, he won the popular vote at 50.1 percent and the electoral vote with 297 (to Ford's 240) and became the 39th president.
In the 1992 election, incumbent George H.W. Bush and challenger Bill Clinton were joined by a billionaire third candidate, who jumped in and out and back in the race. Who was he?
Texan Ross Perot announced his candidacy on CNN's "Larry King Live," and was leading in the polls until campaign turmoil lowered his standings and caused him to drop out. But he re-entered a few months later, and wound up with 19 percent of the vote.
Which of these odd presidential election moments never happened?
No one ran against George Washington in 1788. He was so popular, everyone wanted him as president.
Horace Greely ran as the candidate for two different parties at the same time in 1872.
Ronald Reagan considered making Ross Perot his vice president instead of George H.W. Bush in 1980.
Reagan was not a big fan of Bush, but it was former President Gerald Ford that he asked to be his running mate rather than Perot. Ford turned him down, so Reagan moved on to Bush.
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