If Evan McMullin pulls off a long shot and wins Utah in November, he would be the weakest national candidate to ever win a state’s electoral votes.
Smart Politics says if McMullin carries Utah, he would do it with the lowest percentage of the national popular vote ever. Projections show McMullin is poised to get about 1% nationally.
The current low mark for a presidential candidate who won at least one state is Strom Thurmond who won four states in 1948 while pulling in 2.4% of the national vote.
McMullin is best positioned to maybe pick Utah’s six electoral votes. Current polling has him around 20% support, which is still behind Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. McMullin is nowhere near victory in any other state. He’s only on the ballot in 11 states total.
Historically, there have been six candidates who won only a single state during a presidential election:
William Wirt – Vermont, 1832
Daniel Webster – Massachusetts, 1836
Millard Fillmore – Maryland, 1856
Robert La Follette – Wisconsin, 1924
George McGovern – Massachusetts (plus Washington, D.C.), 1972
Walter Mondale – Minnesota (plus Washington, D.C.), 1984
McMullin will be hard pressed to match the popular vote performance of those single-state winners, which is to say he probably won’t. Daniel Webster, a nominee of the Whig Party, claimed 2.7% of the national vote.
Winning two states is probably out of the question for McMullin, but it has happened before.
Over the last 47 election cycles since 1828, four other candidates won the popular vote of two states:
Whig Hugh White in 1836: Georgia and Tennessee (9.7 percent national vote)
Democrat Stephen Douglas in 1860: Missouri and New Jersey (29.5 percent)
Republican William Taft in 1912: Utah and Vermont (23.2 percent)
Republican Alf Landon in 1936: Maine and Vermont (36.5 percent)
The current national popular vote low water mark for a presidential candidate who carried at least one state was set by Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in 1948. Thurmond won the popular vote in four states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina) with 2.4 percent of the nearly 49 million votes cast across the country. The South Carolina governor’s name was on the ballot in just over a dozen states.