Missouri was a critical swing state.George W. Bush won the popular vote by a margin of just over 3% against his Democratic challenger, Al Gore. President Bush mored than doubled his 2000 election margin of victory in 2004 over his subsequent challenger, John Kerry. The 2000 election was seen as the turning point of Missouri's bellwether status, which the state had maintained throughout most of the 20th century.
Had Gore won the presidency by winning somewhere else other than the Show-Me state, this would've been the second time Missouri was carried by the loser since 1904, and the first time since 1956. However, had Gore won Missouri's 11 electoral votes as the Clinton-Gore ticket had 1992, and as in 1996, Gore would have won the Electoral College vote 277-260, which would have pushed him over the 270-vote threshold to become the 43rd President of the United States. Like Clinton, Gore was Southern Democrat from a neighboring state--Arkansas and Tennessee, respectively--and was widely seen as competitive in the state.
As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last time that Saline County, New Madrid County, Pemiscot County, Mississippi County, Ray County, and Clay County voted for the Democratic presidential candidate.
|Presidential Candidate||Running Mate||Party||Electoral Vote (EV)||Popular Vote (PV)|
|George W. Bush of Texas||Richard Cheney of Wyoming||Republican||11||1,189,924||50.42%|
|Al Gore of Tennessee||Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut||Democrat||0||1,111,138||47.08%|
|Ralph Nader||Winona LaDuke||Green Party||0||38,515||1.63%|
|Patrick Buchanan||Ezola Foster||Reform Party||0||9,818||0.42%|
|Harry Browne||Art Olivier||Libertarian Party||0||7,436||0.32%|
Technically the voters of Missouri cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Missouri is allocated 11 electors because it has 9 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 11 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded all 11 electoral votes. Their chosen electors then vote for President and Vice President. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them. An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.
The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 18, 2000 to cast their votes for President and Vice President. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.
The following were the members of the Electoral College from the state. All were pledged to and voted for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney:
Beginning with the 2000 election, the status of the Missouri bellwether came into question. Between 1904 and 2004, Missouri was carried by the victor of each presidential election, with the exception of 1956. Though Bush won the presidency in the 2000 election through the Electoral College, he lost the national popular vote. The 2000 election was unique because this was the first time in over a century where the popular vote winner lost the general election. (In 1888, Missouri voted for Grover Cleveland, the incumbent Democrat, who lost to Republican Party (United Attes)Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison). Thus, controversy exists as to whether or not Missouri accurately predicted victor in this election. In the subsequent election, Missouri voted for George W. Bush, who this time won both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Missouri has voted reliably Republican since 2000. The state voted for John McCain in 2008, and for Mitt Romney in 2012, both of whom lost the general election to Barack Obama. The controversy is further complicated by the 2016 presidential election, where Missouri voted for Donald Trump by a landslide, while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million votes, but like in 2000, Trump won the Electoral College and became 45th President of the United States. Like 2000, political scientists have differing opinions on whether or not Missouri accurately predicted the victor, and even if Missouri is still a bellwether state at all.