Landslide victory

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A landslide victory is an election result in which the victorious candidate or party wins by an overwhelming margin.[1] The term became popular in the 1800s to describe a victory in which the opposition is "buried",[1] similar to the way in which a geological landslide buries whatever is in its path. What constitutes a landslide varies by the type of electoral system. Even within an electoral system, there is no consensus on what sized margin makes for a landslide.[1]

Barbados[edit]

In Barbadian general elections, a landslide victory involves a large swing from one party to another as well as one party winning a large majority in parliament. Landslide victories have usually occurres after a long period of government from one particular party and a change in the popular mood.

Canada[edit]

A map of the vote by province in 1940 shows the scale of the Liberals' landslide victory.
A map of the vote by province in 1984 shows the scale of the Progressive Conservatives' landslide victory.

In a Canadian federal election, a landslide victory occurs when a political party gains a significant majority of the House of Commons of Canada.

Landslide victories may also occur during provincial elections, and territorial elections in Yukon. Landslide victories are not possible for territorial elections in the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, as its members are elected without reference to political parties, operating as a consensus government.

The following Canadian federal elections resulted in landslide victories:[2]

  • 1874 – The Liberals won 133 seats while the Conservatives won just 73 seats.
  • 1878 – The Conservatives won 137 seats while the Liberals won just 69 seats.
  • 1882 – The Conservatives won 139 seats while the Liberals won just 71 seats.
  • 1900 – The Liberals won 132 seats while the Conservatives won just 81.
  • 1904 – The Liberals won 139 seats while the Conservatives won just 75.
  • 1908 – The Liberals won 133 seats while the Conservatives won just 85.
  • 1911 – The Conservatives won 133 seats while the Liberals won just 86.
  • 1917 – The Conservatives won 153 seats while the Liberals won just 82.
  • 1930 – The Conservatives won 137 seats while the Liberals won just 91.
  • 1935 – The Liberals won 171 seats while the Conservatives won just 39.
  • 1940 – The Liberals won 178 seats while the Progressive Conservatives won just 39.
  • 1949 – The Liberals won 190 seats while the Progressive Conservatives won just 41.
  • 1953 – The Liberals won 171 seats while the Progressive Conservatives won just 51.
  • 1958 – The Progressive Conservatives won 208 seats while the Liberals won just 48.
  • 1968 – The Liberals won 155 seats while the Progressive Conservatives won just 72.
  • 1984 – The Progressive Conservatives won 211 seats while the Liberals won just 40.
  • 1993 – The Liberals won 177 seats while the Bloc Quebecois, which ran only in Québec, won 54. The ruling Progressive Conservatives dropped from 154 to 2.
  • 2015 – The Liberals led by Justin Trudeau won 184 seats, defeating Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who only won 99 seats.

Provincial examples[edit]

France[edit]

Since 1958[edit]

Germany[edit]

Because of Germany's multi-party mixed-member proportional representation system, it is extremely difficult for any one party to gain a majority in the Bundestag. Thus, a landslide election occurs when a party gains close to a majority and has a large margin over its main opponent in the popular vote and are very rare.

  • 1953: The CDU/CSU received 45.2% of the popular vote and 249 seats (six shy of a majority) while the SPD received just 28.8% of the popular vote and 162 seats.[3]
  • 1957: The CDU/CSU received 50.2% of the popular vote and 277 seats (a majority of 17) while the SPD received just 31.8% of the popular vote and 181 seats.[4]
  • 2013: The CDU/CSU received 41.5% of the popular vote and 311 seats (five shy of a majority) while the SPD received just 25.7% of the popular vote and 193 seats.[5][6]

Grenada[edit]

In Grenadian general elections, a landslide victory involves a large swing from one party to another as well as one party winning a large majority in parliament. Landslide victories have usually occurred after a long period of government from one particular party and a change in the popular mood.

Hong Kong[edit]

Italy[edit]

Jamaica[edit]

In Jamaican elections, a landslide victory involves a large swing from one party to another as well as one party winning a large majority in parliament. Landslide victories have usually occurred after a long period of government from one particular party and a change in the popular mood.

New Zealand[edit]

Before 1993, New Zealand used the traditional first-past-the-post system as in the U.K. to determine representation in its Parliament. Thus, landslide elections at that time were defined in an identical fashion, i.e. where one party got an overwhelming majority of the seats. Since 1993, New Zealand has used the mixed member proportional system as in Germany, making landslides much less likely.[7]

First past the post[edit]

MMP era[edit]

  • 2002 election – The Labour Party won 52 seats while the National Party won just 27 seats.[9]
  • 2014 election – The National Party won 60 seats while the Labour Party won just 32 seats.[10]
  • 2020 election – The Labour Party won 64 seats while the National Party won just 35 seats (the first time any party won an overall majority under MMP)

Philippines[edit]

Ramon Magsaysay (light green)'s 1953 landslide victory.

In 1941, the Nacionalista Party won the presidency, vice presidency, all seats in the Senate, and all but 3 seats in the House of Representatives. This was the biggest landslide in Philippine history. The legislators won't serve until 1945 though, due to World War II.

Starting in 1987, the Philippines evolved into a multi-party system, and coupled with the introduction of party-list elections in 1998, no party was able to win a landslide, much less a majority of seats, in the House of Representatives since then. This has also meant that no presidential and vice presidential election winner won a majority of votes, although, in 1998, the winners were described as having landslide victories, despite winning less than a majority of votes, due to large winning margins. Senatorial landslides are more possible though in midterm elections, as voters are usually presented with two distinct choices.

Presidential and vice presidential elections[edit]

In the Philippines, while there are presidential tickets, the positions of president and vice president are elected separately.

Senate[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Slovakia[edit]

This map shows the Direction – Social Democracy landslide victory in 2012.

Spain[edit]

  • 2011: local, regional and national elections were all landslide wins for the then-in opposition Mariano Rajoy's PP, winning the national election by a 16 percentage point margin to then-ruling PSOE.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[edit]

A landslide victory in the elections of St. Vincent and the Grenadines involves a large swing from one party to another as well as one party winning a large majority in parliament. Landslide victories have usually occurred after a long period of government from one particular party and a change in the popular mood.

Trinidad and Tobago[edit]

In Trinidad and Tobago's elections, a landslide victory involves a large swing from one party to another as well as one party winning a large majority in parliament. Landslide victories have usually occurred after a long period of government from one particular party and a change in the popular mood.

Tobago[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

This map shows the Labour Party landslide victory in 1997.
This map shows the Conservative Party landslide victory in 2019.

In UK General Elections, a landslide victory involves a large swing from one party to another as well as one party winning a large majority in parliament. Landslide victories have usually occurred after a long period of government from one particular party and a change in the popular mood.

Notable landslide election results:

  • 1906 General Election – Known as the 'Liberal Landslide', Henry Campbell-Bannerman led his Liberal Party to victory over Arthur Balfour's Conservative Party who lost more than half their seats, including his own seat in Manchester East, as a result of the large national swing to the Liberal Party (The 5.4% swing from the Conservatives to Liberals was at the time the highest ever achieved). The Liberal Party won 397 seats (an increase of 214) while the Conservative Party were left with 156 seats (a decrease of 246).[11][12]
  • 1945 General ElectionClement Attlee led his Labour Party to victory over Winston Churchill's Conservative Party, a 12.0% swing from the Conservatives to Labour. Labour won 393 seats (an increase of 239) while the Conservative Party were left with 197 (a decrease of 190).[13]
  • 1983 General ElectionMargaret Thatcher won her second term in office with a landslide victory for the Conservatives gaining an overall majority of 144 by winning 397 seats (a increase of 38 seats) on 42.4% of the national vote and forcing her main opponent Michael Foot to resign after Labour won 209 seats.
  • 1997 General ElectionTony Blair's Labour Party won 418 seats (an increase of 145) and gained an overall majority of 179 while the Conservative Party won 165 seats (a decrease of 178). The swing from the Conservatives to Labour was 10.2% and was the second biggest general election victory of the 20th Century after 1931.[14]
  • 2019 General ElectionBoris Johnson led the Conservative Party to its largest majority since 1987, winning a total of 365 seats (an increase of 48) and left the Labour Party, who were led by Jeremy Corbyn, with 202 seats (a decrease of 60, their worst result since 1935). The election led to 54 Labour seats changing to Conservative predominantly in the Midlands and Northern England - some of which had been held by Labour since the first half of the 20th century.[15]

Scotland

2010 election results in Scotland
2010
2015 election results in Scotland
2015
A landslide victory in Scotland at the 2015 UK General Election (Scotland). The SNP (yellow) won 56 of Scotland's 59 seats; Conservatives (blue), Labour (red) and Lib Dems (orange) won just one seat each.

United States[edit]

The map of the Electoral College in 1936 shows the scale of Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide victory.
The map of the Electoral College in 1964 shows the scale of Lyndon B. Johnson's landslide victory.
The map of the Electoral College in 1972 shows the scale of Richard Nixon's landslide victory.
The map of the Electoral College in 1984 shows the scale of Ronald Reagan's landslide victory.

A landslide victory in U.S. Presidential elections occurs when a candidate has an overwhelming majority in the Electoral College.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Murse, Tom (8 October 2020). "Landslide Victory: Definition in Elections". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Party Standings in the House of Commons (1867-date)". PARLINFO. Library of Parliament. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Election to the 2nd German Bundestag on 6 September 1953". Bundeswahlleiter. 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Election to the 2nd German Bundestag on 15 September 1957". Bundeswahlleiter. 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Final result of the Election to the German Bundestag 2013". Bundeswahlleiter. 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Final result of the Election to the German Bundestag 2013". Bundeswahlleiter. 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  7. ^ Electoral Commission (17 July 2014). Mixed Member Proportional Representation in New Zealand (Video). Wellington.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "General elections 1890–1993 – seats won by party". Electoral Commission. 9 September 2013. Archived from the original on 30 December 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Official Count Results -- Overall Status". 2002 General Election – Official Results. Electoral Commission. 8 October 2002. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Official Count Results -- Overall Status". 2014 General Election – Official Results. Electoral Commission. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  11. ^ "1906: The Liberal landslide". 9 February 2006 – via bbc.co.uk.
  12. ^ Liberal Landslide: The General Election of 1906.
  13. ^ Labour Landslide, July 5-19, 1945.
  14. ^ Labour's Landslide: The British General Election 1997.
  15. ^ "Boris Johnson must fulfil his One Nation pledge". Financial Times. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-14.