Politics in Indiana Series: 1992 Presidential Election

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

In the 1992 Presidential Election, things are different unlike previous years: there was a visible third party on stage during the presidential debates. The nominees were:

Incumbent President and Republican candidate: George W. Bush (TX) & Dan Quayle (IN)


Left to Right: George H. W. Bush & Dan Quayle

Democratic candidate: Bill Clinton (AR) & Al Gore (TN)


Left to Right: Bill Clinton & Al Gore

Independent candidate: Ross Perot (TX) & James Stockdale (IL)


Center: Ross Perot

Bush was running for reelection; however, campaign promises (i.e. – no tax increases and maintaining the budget deficit) from 1988 were unfilled and led to some supporters distrusting Bush.  His main opponent for the nomination was Pat Buchanan; however, Bush defeated Buchanan in the primary.

On the Democratic side, there were multiple individuals running: Tom Harkin (IA), Jerry Brown (CA), Paul Tsongas (MA), and Bill Clinton (AR). Right before the New Hampshire primary, Clinton had a scandal hit the press: an “alleged” twelve year affair with Gennifer Flowers. Clinton confessed there were marital issues; yet, this did not stop Clinton from regaining popularity. Towards the end, Clinton won a large majority of states during the Super Tuesday primaries. By June 1992, he gained enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination.

According the Commission of Presidential Debates, “… candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination”.

Similar standards were in place during the 1992 Presidential Election. In February 1992. Perot announced he would run for president on Larry King Live, if his supporters petitioned his name to be on the ballot in all 50 states. He became extremely popular: Ross Perot exceed the requirement and at one time, led in the polls with 40% of the vote.


The 1992 Presidential Candidates (Bottom to Top): Bottom: George H.W. Bush & Dan Quayle: Middle: Bill Clinton & Al Gore: Top: Ross Perot:

The results of the 1992 presidential election was:

  • Bill Clinton & Al Gore: 370 Electoral Votes (44 Million Popular Votes / 43%)
  • George H.W. Bush & Dan Quayle: 168 Electoral Votes (39 Million Popular Votes / 37%)
  • Ross Perot:0 Electoral Votes (19 Million Popular Votes / 19%


“The Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview.” The Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Levy, Michael. United States presidential election of 1992. 2016, https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-1992. Accessed 29 Sep. 2016.



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