Presidential Election Oddities — 1976:
No surprise the Democrats had written off Ford after their late Summer convention, with Carter running away with a 33 point lead in the polls. And he was going up against an apparent klutz, who also gave indications of being a bit mentally challenged. But Ford seemed comfortable with his usual treatment of being written off and underappreciated. By Election Day, the former all-star college lineman had roared back with a vengeance, only to lose at the wire in a hotly contested election.
A switch of 3,687 votes in Hawaii and 5,559 votes in Ohio from Carter to Ford would have triggered the first contigent election since 1825, as Ford would have received 269 electoral votes and Carter would have received 268. Also, a switch of 144,384 votes in New York from Carter to Ford would give Ford the presidency by 281 electoral votes. By percentage of the vote, the states that secured Carter’s victory were Wisconsin (1.68% margin) and Ohio (.27% margin). Had Ford won these states and all other states he carried, he would have won the presidency. The 27 states he won were and still are the most states ever carried by a losing candidate for president. Had Ford won the election, the provisions of the 22nd amendment would have disqualified him from running in 1980 as he served more than two years of Nixon’s second term.