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Presidential landslides could be thing of the past

PHOENIX — America hasn’t had a true blowout in a presidential election in almost three decades.

Bruce Merrill with Arizona State University said landslide victories are determined by the candidates’ charisma.

“Will somebody like Ronald Reagan emerge again? That’s the question,” he said. “Somebody dynamic could capture the fancy of the American people and then you could have a blowout.”

Merrill said presidential elections are being decided by almost the same states every four years, states with the electoral votes that make or break a White House run. This year it was Florida, Ohio, Virginia and a handful of others.

“The emphasis on the Electoral College is taking the campaign away from the majority of people living in the United States, but I don’t see any chance of the Electoral College changing. It would take a Constitutional amendment,” he said.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan had 59 percent of the popular vote and 525 electoral votes, compared with Walter Mondale’s 41 percent of the popular vote and 13 electoral votes.

For comparison, in the 2012 presidential race, President Obama captured 332 electoral votes and 50 percent of the popular vote. Republican challenger Mitt Romney had 206 electoral votes and 48 percent of the popular vote.