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United States elections, 1980

1980 United States elections
Presidential election year
Election day November 4
Presidential election
Electoral vote
Ronald Reagan (R) 489
Jimmy Carter (D) 49
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states/districts won by Republican Ronald Reagan, and Blue denotes those won by Democrat Jimmy Carter. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.
Senate elections
Seats contested 34 seats of Class III
Net change Republicans +12 (Republicans gain control)
1980 Senate election results map
1980 Senate election results map
House elections
Seats contested All 435 seats
Net change Republicans +34 (Democrats retain control)
1980 House election results map
1980 House election results map
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested 13 seats
Net change Republican +4
1980 Gubernatorial election results map
1980 Gubernatorial election results map
  Democratic hold
  Democratic pickup
  Republican pickup
  Republican hold
  Independent hold

The 1980 United States general election was held on November 4. These included many federal elections on Election Day, November 4, 1980, most prominently the 49th presidential election, Senate elections (where 34 seats were decided), and House of Representatives elections (to elect all 435 members of the House for the 97th United States Congress). Other elections were held as well.

The elections saw sweeping gains by the Republican Party in the Senate, House, and in numerous gubernatorial and state races. Republican Ronald Reagan was elected as the 40th President of the United States, defeating incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter in a landslide. Additionally, the Republicans gained control of the Senate for the first time in 28 years, and increased their numbers in the House. The Republicans also gained four seats in governors' races.

The wins by Reagan and the Republicans marked the beginning of what is popularly called the "Reagan Revolution"[1] or Reagan Era, and signified a conservative realignment in national politics.


  • Issues 1
    • Domestic issues 1.1
    • Foreign issues 1.2
  • Federal elections 2
    • Presidential election 2.1
    • Congressional elections 2.2
      • House of Representatives elections 2.2.1
      • Senate elections 2.2.2
  • State/territorial elections 3
    • Gubernatorial elections 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Domestic issues

The United States in the 1970s underwent "stagflation"—a wrenching period of low economic growth, high inflation and high interest rates and intermittent energy crises.[2] These issues played a large role in the 1980 campaign.

Foreign issues

Events such as the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan played a large role in the 1980 elections. America was perceived by many to be weakening as a world power while the Soviet Union was perceived to be strengthening and expanding.

At the time, 60% of Americans polled felt that United States defense spending was too low.[3]

Federal elections

Presidential election

Republican Ronald Reagan won the election in a landslide, receiving 489 electoral votes, defeating incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter, who received 49. Reagan received the highest number of electoral votes ever won by a non-incumbent presidential candidate.

Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent and received 6.6% of the vote.

Congressional elections

House of Representatives elections

Elections were held for all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. House Democrats won a slim majority of the popular vote (50.5%) and retained a 243 to 193 seat majority, even though Republicans gained 34 seats.

Senate elections

The 34 seats of Class III of the United States Senate were up for election. Republicans won majority control of the Senate for the first time in 28 years, picking up 12 seats and losing none.

State/territorial elections

Gubernatorial elections

Thirteen of the fifty state governorships were up for election. Four state governorships changed hands from Democrat to Republican.

The territorial governorships of American Samoa and Puerto Rico were also up for election.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
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