Some enter Oval Office with underwhelming vote totals

While Americans might like their presidents to take office as the choice of more than half of the electorate, some of the most famous Oval Office occupants – among them Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, and Bill Clinton – didn't take on the job that well supported. Lincoln and Adams, in fact, are the only two presidents to win less than 40 percent of the popular vote. Each vied with three rivals. The presidents voted into office with the lowest percentage of the popular vote, with year and percentage in each case, according to

  • John Adams, 1824 30.92%
  • Abraham Lincoln, 1860 39.82%
  • Woodrow Wilson, 1912 41.84%
  • Bill Clinton, 1992 43.01%
  • Richard Nixon, 1968 43.42%
  • James Buchanan, 1856 45.28%
  • Grover Cleveland, 1892 46.05%
  • Zachary Taylor, 1848 47.28%
  • Benjamin Harrison, 1888 47.82%
  • George W. Bush, 2000 47.90%
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