This may straddle the line between politics and history at this point, but if we didn't have the 22nd Amendment, which limits Presidents to two terms, could Bill Clinton have won a third term?

Specifically, I'm looking for polls, articles, or other data which shows that people at the time would have been willing to elect him a third time if they could. In the absence of a term limit, he obviously could have won a third time, but if the political climate was against him, then he likely wouldn't have. Likewise, looking back from 15 years later it's easy for people to say they would have preferred him to Bush, but that doesn't mean they would have made that choice at the time.


1 Answer 1


It's entirely speculative, but yes I think Clinton would have won a Third Term were it not for the 22nd Amendment.

43% of the popular vote and 370 electoral votes in 1992.

49.2% of the popular vote and 379 electoral votes in 1996.

If one looks at his job approval numbers, overall for his 8 years in office, they climbed steadily all the way to 2001.

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  • 2
    I think this is probably the best answer it's possible to have: People liked him enough to reelect him, and then his approval went up from there.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 22:15
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    At the time of his leaving office, we had the first net total federal budget in, well, forever and a huge pie in the sky projected surplus for the next ten years. Unlike Gore, he would not have run away from that and dissociated himself from his own accomplishments. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 22:27
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    On the flip side it was likely he was able to get some things done because he wasn't going to be running again though I do agree overall that he stood a good chance to win if he could run again.
    – Joe W
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 16:18
  • Counterpoint: Without the 22nd Amendment forcing Reagan off the scene, Clinton may have never won a first term, let alone a third.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 3:35

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