Counting the Votes
A New Way to Analyze America's Presidential Elections
by G. Scott Thomas
August 2015, 496pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3882-8
$75, £58, 66€, A103
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3883-5
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Which presidential election campaigns were arguably the best and worst performances of all time?

This easy-to-use handbook presents a fascinating and fresh take on American presidential elections and makes a wide range of statistics available to serious researchers and political fanatics alike.

Counting the Votes: A New Way to Analyze America’s Presidential Elections isn’t your typical history book about presidential elections. Nor is it like most statistical analyses of election results. What this unusual book does offer is an array of innovative statistics—campaign score (CS), potential index (PI), return on potential (ROP), and equalized vote totals (EV*EQ), among others—that provides a provocative, intriguing, and fresh perspective on past presidential candidates and campaigns.

Presenting information that has never been compiled and presented before, author G. Scott Thomas provides reams of statistics for all 57 presidential elections (1789 to the present) as well as essays inspired by those races that explore new interpretations of electoral trends. The book also includes lists of outstanding political performances in 179 statistical categories in addition to complete statistical records for 289 presidential candidates. The unique information and metrics introduced in this book will be invaluable to historians, political scientists, and students who are conducting research into voting trends and will serve as additional tools for their work.


  • Includes a "Record Book of Presidential Politics" that spotlights the best and worst performances by presidential candidates highlighted in 179 statistical rankings, identifying which nominee was the youngest, came from the smallest state, and won by the smallest margin of popular votes
  • Written by an accomplished journalist with more than three decades of experience and who has authored four books focused on national politics
  • Provides an alphabetical directory of the career records of 289 presidential candidates between 1789 and 2012 presented in tabular form for easy reference
G. Scott Thomas has been a journalist for 35 years, specializing in stories about business and demographics. His published work includes Praeger's A New World to Be Won: John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Tumultuous Year of 1960. He has written 8 books and more than 100 articles for such national publications as American Demographics, Biz, Savvy, Sporting News, and The Wall Street Journal.


"Scott Thomas has compiled the ultimate data set on presidential elections. Counting the Votes is a prodigious accomplishment that presents material found nowhere else. There is hardly a question about presidential elections that can't be found between the covers of this extraordinary book. If the data itself were not enough, Thomas presents a number of intriguing formulas that enable the researcher to draw important conclusions about the electoral outcomes over more than two centuries." —Ross K. Baker, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, and author of Is Bipartisanship Dead? A Report from the Senate

"Ever wonder how many presidential elections would have changed if just one state had voted differently? (10.) Or who won more primaries, Michael Dukakis or Dwight Eisenhower? (The Duke, by two.) Then this is the book for you! Exhaustive statistical analysis brings sabermetrics to the sport of presidential politics, and the view it offers is fascinating. Whether you are planning a White House run, or looking to amaze your friends with an endless supply of well-researched electoral trivia, you’ll want to keep Counting the Votes handy during the upcoming election season."—Rick Beyer, author of The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told

"G. Scott Thomas’ Counting the Votes does for the study of presidential politics what sabermetrics accomplished for baseball scholarship. Balanced and informative, it has something to teach even the foremost experts. Destined to become a standard reference."—David Pietrusza, author of 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents

"Scott Thomas has broken ground in the field of quantifying electoral victory that will undoubtedly be used by political operatives, pundits, and students for years to come. Thomas’ unique analysis of American elections provides not only an instructive view of history but also a path to evaluating future candidates before they even appear on a ballot. If political leaders apply Thomas’ principles across the political spectrum to Congress, state offices, legislatures, and even local offices, the political game will be forever changed."—Michael McNamara, author of The Political Campaign Desk Reference

"This is a book about numbers, but there’s a great story here as well. Scott Thomas has done a remarkable job of compiling election data to shed light on presidential politics. It’s truly a great read.” —Terry Golway, author of Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics
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