The 1916 US presidential election took place during the First World War, as well as the Mexican Revolution. Incumbent President Woodrow Wilson campaigned on his administration's policy of neutrality, and he was re-nominated as the anti-war candidate without significant opposition within the Democratic Party. His main opponent was Charles Evans Hughes, who was nominated with support from both sides of the Republican Party, as they sought to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 1912 election. Allan L. Benson of the Socialist Party was the most prominent third party candidate.
The result was extremely close in some states, particularly in California where the outcome took several days to be announced. Eventually Wilson took California, and that gave him a total of 277 electoral votes to Hughes' 254. In the popular vote, Wilson received a plurality, but not a majority, taking 49 percent of the votes, compared with Hughes' 46 percent. Benson took just 3.2 percent of the popular vote, however had his votes gone to another candidate then the results of the election may have been very different (fewer than 3,800 votes split the candidates in California, while Benson and other candidates took more than 70,000 in the state).
Wilson was just the second Democratic president to serve between the American Civil War and Second World War, and the first Democratic president to win re-election since Andrew Jackson in 1832. Aspects of the campaign had been dominated by issues presented by the First World War, and despite campaigning on an anti-war platform, the United States entered the war in Europe just one month after Wilson was inaugurated for his second term.
Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 33rd US presidential election in 1916
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ProCon. (June 30, 2011). Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 33rd US presidential election in 1916 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from /statistics/1056528/distribution-votes-1916-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. "Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 33rd US presidential election in 1916." Chart. June 30, 2011. Statista. Accessed April 26, 2021. /statistics/1056528/distribution-votes-1916-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. (2011). Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 33rd US presidential election in 1916. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: April 26, 2021. /statistics/1056528/distribution-votes-1916-us-presidential-election/
ProCon. "Share of Electoral College* and Popular Votes** in The 33rd Us Presidential Election in 1916." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 Jun 2011, /statistics/1056528/distribution-votes-1916-us-presidential-election/
ProCon, Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 33rd US presidential election in 1916 Statista, /statistics/1056528/distribution-votes-1916-us-presidential-election/ (last visited April 26, 2021)