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What's the average win/loss ratio for all elected US Presidents running (but not necessarily while President) as party nominees? For example, Nixon ran in 1960 and lost, won in both 1968 and 1972; his win loss ratio would be 2/1, or 2 out of 3.

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The following tables has wins, nominations, and the name of the president.

1 1 Donald Trump
2 2 Barack Obama
2 2 George W. Bush
2 2 Bill Clinton
1 2 George H. W. Bush
2 2 Ronald Reagan
1 2 Jimmy Carter
0 1 Gerald Ford
2 3 Richard Nixon
1 1 Lyndon B. Johnson
1 1 John F. Kennedy
2 2 Dwight Eisenhower
1 1 Harry Truman
4 4 Franklin D. Roosevelt
1 2 Herbert Hoover
1 1 Calvin Coolidge
1 1 Warren Harding
2 2 Woodrow Wilson
1 2 William Taft
1 2 Teddy Roosevelt
2 2 William McKinley
2 3 Grover Cleveland
1 2 Benjamin Harrison
0 0 Chester A. Arthur
1 1 James Garfield
1 1 Rutherford B. Hayes
2 2 Ulysses S. Grant
0 0 Andrew Johnson
2 2 Abraham Lincoln
1 1 James Buchanan
1 1 Franklin Pierce
0 1 Millard Fillmore
1 1 Zachary Taylor
1 1 James K. Polk
0 0 John Tyler
1 2 William H. Harrison
1 3 Martin Van Buren
2 2 Andrew Jackson
0 1 John Q. Adams
2 2 James Monroe
2 2 James Madison
2 3 Thomas Jefferson
1 2 John Adams
0 0 George Washington

That's 55 wins of 71 nominations or 55:16. There have been 44 presidents (counting Cleveland only once). So 1.25:36.36... or simply 3.4375.

A few notes. There were no party nominees in 1788, 1792, and 1824. That was because in 1824, there was only one party and four people running, none the nominee. And in 1788 and 1792 Washington beat Adams without a party.

If we count the winners and losers from those years, that would change the following lines:

2 3 Andrew Jackson
1 2 John Q. Adams
1 4 John Adams
2 2 George Washington

That would make it 58 wins of 77 or 58:19. 1.31818...:.431818... or 3.05.

It may not be obvious why the ratio is so high even though only one president has won more than two terms. Note that the typical president won 100% of the nominations. Because we are only counting people who became president, we are dropping a number of party nominees, e.g. Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole. Not to mention Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, etc. We also miss out on presidents who failed to become the nominee, e.g. Andrew Johnson in 1868. This gives us a lot more wins than losses.

  • I would point out that most 2-term+ Presidents are unapposed in the primary on the second term race, so you might want to make note of that. Also President Ford is the only president to never have been elected to office (rather he filled the vacancy following VPOTUS Spiro Agnew's resignation and nominated by Nixon and approved by the Senate. Behind the scenes he was pushed by Speaker of the House Carl Albert (D) who was trying to avoid the implication of a political coup as with Agnew's resigantion an Nixon's likely impeachment, he would be next in line for President.). – hszmv Jul 15 at 15:55

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