Presidential Upsets
Dark Horses, Underdogs, and Corrupt Bargains
by Douglas Clouatre
January 2013, 391pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-2866-9
$64, £48, 54€, A92
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-2867-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson emerged the disputed victor after a campaign against John Adams marked by vehement mudslinging by both presidential candidates. In 1844, “the War Horse” Henry Clay somehow lost to “the Dark Horse” James Polk. And in 2000, after great controversy involving confusing ballots, the validity of absentee ballots, and voting machines that made the voter’s intended choice unclear, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush, despite Gore’s winning of the popular vote.

This unique book examines election upsets in American presidential campaigns, offers in-depth analysis of several surprising election results, and explains why the front-running candidate lost.

Controversial and unexpected presidential election results have occurred throughout American history. Presidential Upsets: Dark Horses, Underdogs, and Corrupt Bargains carefully examines eleven presidential upsets spread across two centuries of American history, ranking these election upsets by order of magnitude and allowing readers to compare the issues and processes of American elections.

After an introductory chapter that establishes the factors that contribute to a presidential upset, such as the comparative advantages of candidates, the issues facing the candidates and electorate, and the political environment during the election, the book offers in-depth analysis of notable surprise election results and explains why the front-running candidate lost. Each major period of American history—such as the Jacksonian period, the Antebellum era, Reconstruction, World War I, the Cold War era, and the post-Cold War era—is covered. The author utilizes primary and secondary sources of material to provide contemporary and historical analysis of these elections, and bases his analysis upon criteria used by political scientists to predict presidential election results.

Douglas Clouatre, PhD, is a political science and history instructor. His published works include Presidents and their Justices; contributions to ABC-CLIO's Legal Systems of the World: A Political, Social, and Cultural Encyclopedia; and contributions to The Leviathan's Choice Capital Punishment in the Twenty-First Century.


"An innovative, comprehensive examination of why each election should be viewed as an upset and why the upset occurred. . . . Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2013
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