Recap of the Popular Vote
President James Madison appeared favored to win re-election after the popular vote was counted. He had won 84 Electors to 39 for DeWitt Clinton; the straight Federalist ticket of Rufus King lost in its only race (VA). Overall, Madison won by a narrow 50-48% margin in the popular vote.
Legislative Selection of Electors
Nine states chose Presidential Electors through their legislature in 1812: CT, DE, GA, LA, NJ, NY, NC, SC, and VT. Of these, Clinton was certain to win NY, CT, and DE (good for 42 electoral votes) to Madison's GA and SC (good for 19 electoral votes). Thus Madison was leading for a 103-81 electoral vote margin, with 34 to be selected in four key states: LA, NJ, NC, and VT.
The vote in New York State turned out to be more difficult for Clinton than anyone realized. The Federalists gained control of the state assembly in the elections in the spring of 1812, but they did not have full control of the legislature. Just after the legislature assembled, the Madisonians proposed to choose the Electors by district. The Clintonians realized they needed all Electors from the state to have a chance to win statewide, so they called a DRP caucus which nominated a slate of Clinton Electors. The Federalists, with the largest number of seats in the legislature, abandoned Clinton and nominated a slate of King Electors. When the [More...]