1988 United States presidential election in North Dakota

The 1988 United States presidential election in North Dakota took place on November 8, 1988. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were part of the 1988 United States presidential election. North Dakota voters chose 3 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.

United States presidential election in North Dakota, 1988

← 1984 November 8, 1988 1992 →
  1988 Bush.jpg 1988 Dukakis.jpg
Nominee George H. W. Bush Michael Dukakis
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Texas Massachusetts
Running mate Dan Quayle Lloyd Bentsen
Electoral vote 3 0
Popular vote 166,559 127,739
Percentage 56.03% 42.97%

County Results

President before election

Ronald Reagan

Elected President

George H. W. Bush

North Dakota was won by incumbent United States Vice President George H. W. Bush of Texas, who was running against Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Bush ran with Indiana Senator Dan Quayle as Vice President, and Dukakis ran with Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen.

North Dakota weighed in for this election as five percent more Republican than the national average, a much smaller margin than usual due to the persistent farm crisis of the 1980s. As of the 2016 presidential election this remains relatively the least Republican the state has been since Nixon's landslide win in 1972,[1] when a "favorite son" effect with George McGovern from neighbouring South Dakota was a likely influence.



North Dakota held the last primary of the election season on June 14th, by which time the party nominations had effectively already been secured. Libertarian candidate Ron Paul entered due to it being an open primary[2], receiving 985 votes. For the Republicans, Bush received 37,062 votes to 2,372 for perennial candidate Mary Jane Rachner of Minnesota[3] while Dukakis garnered 2,890 votes compared to 515 for Jesse Jackson.[4]

Partisan backgroundEdit

The presidential election of 1988 was a very partisan election for North Dakota, with nearly 99% of the electorate voting for either the Democratic or Republican parties.[5] All major counties in North Dakota gave pluralities for Bush, including the (relativity) highly populated center of Cass County, which contains the city of Fargo. This is however the only election since 1952 when national bellwether Sargent County in the state's southeast has supported a losing candidate,[6] with the anomaly most likely due to the Farm crisis.

Republican victoryEdit

Bush won the election in North Dakota with a solid 13 point landslide. While North Dakota has typically voted conservative in presidential elections, the election results in North Dakota are also reflective of a nationwide political reconsolidation of base for the Republican Party, which took place through the 1980s. Through the passage of some very controversial economic programs, spearheaded by then President Ronald Reagan (called, collectively, "Reaganomics"), the mid-to-late 1980's saw a period of economic growth and stability. The hallmark for Reaganomics was, in part, the wide-scale deregulation of corporate interests, and tax cuts for the wealthy.[7]

Dukakis ran on a socially liberal platform, and advocated for higher economic regulation and environmental protection. Bush, alternatively, ran on a campaign of continuing the social and economic policies of former President Reagan - which gained him much support with social conservatives and people living in rural areas. Additionally, while the economic programs passed under Reagan, and furthered under Bush and Clinton, may have boosted the economy for a brief period, they are criticized by many analysts as "setting the stage" for economic troubles in the United State after 2007, such as the Great Recession.[8]


United States presidential election in North Dakota, 1988
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican George H. W. Bush 166,559 56.03% 3
Democratic Michael Dukakis 127,739 42.97% 0
Libertarian Ron Paul 1,315 0.44% 0
U.S. Labor Party Lyndon LaRouche 905 0.30% 0
New Alliance Party Lenora Fulani 396 0.13% 0
Socialist Workers Party James Warren 347 0.12% 0
Totals 297,261 100.0% 3

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Counting the Votes; North Dakota
  2. ^ http://www.ballot-access.org/1988/BAN.1988.06-15-88.pdf
  3. ^ https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2009/01/st-pauls-colorful-and-longtime-political-candidate-maryjane-reagan-dies-87/
  4. ^ https://vip.sos.nd.gov/pdfs/Abstracts%20by%20Year/1980%20throguh%201989%20Statewide%20Election%20Results/1988/Primary%20Election%2006-14-1988.pdf
  5. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  6. ^ Political Graveyard; Sargent County, North Dakota
  7. ^ "Since 1980s, the Kindest of Tax Cuts for the Rich". The New York Times. 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  8. ^ Jerry Lanson (2008-11-06). "A historic victory. A changed nation. Now, can Obama deliver?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2013-07-21.