SO Wrong! Young TIME Reporter Oddly Claims Biden's Victory Margin Biggest Since 1932

December 15th, 2020 10:49 AM

Joe Biden won the presidential election, but liberal attempts to exaggerate the size of his popular-vote margin desperately need a fact check. For example, 30-year-old Time Senior Correspondent Charlotte Alter told a whopper to Brian Stelter on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday that Biden somehow amassed the largest popular-vote margin since 1932: 

BRIAN STELTER: Charlotte, as I mentioned, you were the cover story this week for Time Person of the Year. Was there any chance of the outgoing president getting this name, getting this cover story?

CHARLOTTE ALTER: I mean, listen, we start this process with all options on the table. It's the whole staff brings every option in and we discuss it. And you know, ultimately, this is about looking back at the year that just happened, but also looking ahead at what's coming next year.

And this is the year that Trump lost the presidency. Biden and Harris won overwhelmingly, by a popular vote margin not seen since FDR in 1932. And Time has a long history of selecting the recently elected president as the person of the year. 

Clearly, Biden received a historic amount of votes, but she cited the “margin.” As it currently stands, according to, Biden beat Donald Trump by just over 7 million votes (81,282,896 to 74,222,484), a margin of victory of 4.5 percent.

So how does that compare?

According to, in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt thumped Herbert Hoover by just over seven million votes (22,821,857 to 15,761,841). The margin of victory was 17.7 percent. From that site, let’s make a list of larger victory margins since 1932:

1936: Roosevelt over Alf Landon by almost 10.8 million votes (27,476,673 to 16,679,583). Margin of victory: 23.7 percent.

1940: Roosevelt over Wendell Willkie by almost 5 million votes (27,243,466 to 22,304,755). Numerically smaller than Biden's but the margin of victory is 9.9 percent. 

1944: Roosevelt over Thomas Dewey by almost 3.6 million votes (25,602,505 to 22.006,278). Numerically smaller than Biden's but the margin of victory is 7.5 percent. 

1952: Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson by almost 6.5 million votes (33,778,963 to 27,314,992). Raw margin smaller than Biden's but margin of victory is 10.5 percent.

1956: Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson (again) by more than 9.8 million votes (35,581,003 to 25,738,765). Margin of victory: 15.4 percent.

1964: Johnson over Barry Goldwater by 15.6 million votes (42,825,463 to 27,146,969). Margin of victory: 22.6 percent.

1972: Nixon over George McGovern by 17.8 million votes (46,740,323 to 28,901,598). Margin of victory: 23.2 percent.

1980: Reagan over Jimmy Carter by 8.1 million votes (43,642,639 to 35,480,948). Margin of victory: 9.6 percent.

1984: Reagan over Walter Mondale by almost 16.9 million votes (54,455,075 to 37,577,085). Margin of victory: 18.2 percent.

1988: Bush over Michael Dukakis by 7.07 million votes (48,886,697 to 41,809,074). Raw margin comparable to Biden, but margin of victory: 5.8 percent.

1992: Clinton over George H.W. Bush by 5.8 million votes (44,909,889 to 39,104,545). Raw margin smaller than Biden's, but margin of victory: 5.6 percent.

1996: Clinton over Bob Dole by 8.2 million votes (47,402,357 to 39,198,755). Margin of victory: 8.5 percent. 

2008: Obama-Biden over McCain-Palin by 9.5 million votes (69,456,000 to 59,934,000, rounded for some reason). Margin of victory: 7.2 percent.

To sum up then, on the margin of victory, Alter was only wrong 13 times over. Biden has the largest margin of victory since 2008.