Vote Splitting - Historical Examples of Vote Splitting

Historical Examples of Vote Splitting

  • When the cities of Fort William and Port Arthur merged and (in 1969) voted on a name for the new town, the vote was split between the popular choices of "Lakehead" and "The Lakehead", allowing the third option to win, creating the town of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
  • In 1987 Roh Tae-woo won the South Korean presidential election with just under 36% of the popular vote because his two main rivals split the vote.
  • In the United States presidential elections of 1992 and 1996, spoiler candidate Ross Perot allegedly split votes away from Republican president George H.W. Bush (1992) and senator Bob Dole (1996), causing Democratic candidate Bill Clinton to win. Similarly in 2000, spoiler candidate Ralph Nader is believed to have split votes away from Democratic candidate Al Gore, contributing to the victory of Republican candidate George W. Bush.
  • In the 2000 presidential election in Taiwan, James Soong left Kuomintang (KMT) party and ran as an independent against KMT's candidate Lien Chan. This caused vote-splitting among KMT voters and resulted in victory for Democratic Progressive Party's candidate, Chen Shui-bian. It is the first time in Taiwan history that KMT did not win in presidential election and became the opposition party.
  • In the special 2003 California gubernatorial race won by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, which did not involve a primary election and which listed 135 candidates on the ballot, concerns about vote splitting caused the Democratic party to withdraw all but one of its major candidates, and caused the Republicans to withdraw most of their candidates. Likewise, any supporters of Republican Tom McClintock changed their mind at the last minute and voted for Schwarzenegger for fear of the Democratic candidate, Cruz Bustamante, winning.
  • From 1993 to 2004, the conservative vote in Canada was split between the Progressive Conservatives and the Reform (later the Alliance) Party. This allowed the Liberal Party to win almost all the seats in Ontario during this period as well as win three successive majority governments.
  • Similarly, in Quebec, it is argued that the success of the Bloc Québécois in elections from 1993 to 2008 was because of the federalist vote being split between the Liberals and the Conservatives.
  • In the 2004 Philippine presidential election, those who were opposed to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency had their vote split into the four candidates, thereby allowing Arroyo to win. The opposition had film actor Fernando Poe, Jr. as their candidate, but Panfilo Lacson refused to give way and ran as a candidate of a breakaway faction of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino. Arroyo was later accused of vote-rigging.
  • In the 2010 special election for the 1st congressional district of Hawaii, Republican Charles Djou won against Democratic candidates Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case.
  • In the 2011 Canadian federal election, a surge in the New Democratic Party's vote led to a large fall in the number of elected BQ candidates. It was also theorized that vote-splitting caused by the increase in NDP popularity was partially to blame for the significant losses suffered by the Liberal Party to the Conservatives.
  • In the 2012 Egyptian presidential election the two candidates who qualified for the runoff election, Freedom and Justice Party candidate Mohamed Morsi (24.8%) and Independent candidate Ahmed Shafik (23.7%), each received more votes than any other candidate, but they failed to get enough votes to prove that each winning candidate was actually more popular than the Dignity Party candidate Hamdeen Sabahi (20.7%), Independent candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh (17.5%), or Independent candidate Amr Moussa (11.1%).

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