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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.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.

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