Ronald Reagan 1984 presidential campaign

President Ronald Reagan authorized the formation of his 1984 reelection campaign committee, Reagan-Bush '84, on October 17, 1983.[1][2] He made the formal announcement of his candidacy for re-election on January 29, 1984.[3] On August 23, 1984, he secured the nomination of the Republican Party at its convention in Dallas, Texas.[4] The convention nominated Vice President George H. W. Bush as his running mate.[5]

Ronald Reagan for President 1984
Reagan–Bush campaign logo.
Campaign1984 Republican primaries
1984 U.S. presidential election
CandidateRonald Reagan
40th President of the United States
George H. W. Bush
43rd Vice President of the United States
AffiliationRepublican Party
StatusAnnounced: October 17, 1983
Official nominee: August 23, 1984
Won election: November 6, 1984
Inaugurated: January 20, 1985
SloganMorning in America
Bear in the woods
Bringing America Back... Prouder, Stronger, and Better

In the election, held on November 6, 1984, President Reagan carried 49 of 50 states, winning the election with 525 electoral votes. Regan's opponent, Democratic Party nominee, Walter Mondale, carried only his home state, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia, receiving 13 electoral votes.[6] President Reagan won 58.8 percent of the popular vote and Mondale received 40.6 percent.[7] Reagan's reelection as President was confirmed by the Electoral College on December 17, 1984,[8] and certified by the Joint session of Congress of January 7, 1985.[9]



Reagan's authorized campaign, Reagan-Bush '84, was established in October 1983 with Senator Paul Laxalt as Chairman, Edward J. Rollins as Campaign Director, and Lee Atwater as Deputy Director.  Angela "Bay" Buchanan was Treasurer and James H. Lake was Communications Director. Other long-time Reagan operatives on the 1984 campaign included Stuart K. Spencer, Richard Wirthlin, Kenneth Khachigian, Drew Lewis, and Lyn Nofziger. The Finance Chairman was Joe M. Rodgers and the Finance Director was Timothy G. Ryan.[10][11][12]

Though there had been some speculation that Reagan would not seek a second term, he announced his candidacy for re-election in a nationally televised speech on January 29, 1984.[13] Reagan's only opponents in the Republican primary were former Minnesota governor and perennial candidate Harold Stassen and former U.S. Special Envoy to Paraguay Ben Fernandez.[14] The primaries were uncompetitive, as Reagan won 98.8% of the vote.[15] Although Reagan faced only nominal opposition for the Republican nomination, the campaign did need to project Reagan's vision for a second term and mount an effective counter to the daily criticism coming from former Vice President Walter Mondale and others seeking the Democratic Party's nomination.

In May 1984, Reagan-Bush '84 launched a highly praised television ad blitz proclaiming, "It's Morning Again in America." [16] The ads underscored a theme at the center of Reagan's campaign: that America was "Prouder, Stronger, and Better" under President Reagan's leadership.[17] Campaign Director Ed Rollins noted, "We wanted to remind people how things were, and how they are getting better."[18] The campaign budgeted up to $10 million in ad buys during the period before the August Republican convention.[19]

Reagan-Bush '84 financed its pre-convention campaign, including the television ads, with a successful fundraising effort, reaching its fundraising goals by April 1984. Finance Director Timothy G. Ryan reported raising over $26 million, with $12 million from direct mail solicitations, $4 million from fundraising events, and over $10 million in federal matching funds. [20] Reagan-Bush '84 was the first presidential campaign to raise enough matchable contributions ($250 and less) to qualify for the maximum amount of Federal Election Commission matching funds for the pre-convention period.[21] Over 300,000 people contributed to the campaign, with an average contribution of $56.20.[22]

Reagan-Bush '84 did not accept any private contributions for the post-convention, general election campaign, opting instead to receive $40.4 million in funding from the Federal Election Commission.[23]

Republican National ConventionEdit

President Reagan and Vice President Bush at the Republican National Convention.

At the 1984 Republican National Convention, which met at Dallas, Texas in August, Reagan formally became his party's nominee. He was the oldest presidential nominee at the age of 73 years, 6 months on the day he was nominated. In his acceptance speech, Reagan promised a "springtime of hope" for America. There were also several other main speakers, including Barry Goldwater, who also spoke on national defence after a previous unsuccessful campaign.[24][25]

Opinion pollingEdit

In January 1983, a poll showed Reagan losing to Mondale by twelve percentage points.[26] This was attributed to the poor economy and high unemployment rates, which resulted in Reagan's approval ratings being as low as 35 percent. However, the economy "picking up" had resulted in an increase in his approval ratings, and as the election progressed, Reagan opened a large lead over Mondale in the opinion polls.[27]

According to a poll conducted by The New York Times in September 1984, 54 percent of the voters preferred Reagan over 33 percent for Mondale. It also found that 46 percent believed that Republicans had a lead in the handling of key issues compared to Democrats, despite a large number disagreeing Reagan's views. For the favorability of the candidates, the poll found that two-thirds of the public had a positive view on Reagan, whereas only 27 percent had a favorable impression of Mondale.[28]

Polls conducted in October and November showcased that Reagan's lead continued after the debates. Polls from Newsweek and USA Today showed Reagan ahead by 17 and 23 points, respectively. On October 30, US News and World Report forecasted that the incumbent would be "on his way to a smashing victory on November 6".[29] In November, Reagan's lead slightly decreased in the exit polls but remains substantial, with leads of 14 points and 18 points based on The Washington Post-ABC and Gallup polls respectively, the latter being similar to Reagan's final win of the popular vote by 18 points.[30][31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Letter to the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission on the Reagan-Bush '84 Committee October 17, 1983" The Public Papers of President Ronald W. Reagan.  Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. (accessed December 27, 2021)
  2. ^ "Letter to the Chairman of the Reagan-Bush '84 Committee October 17, 1983" The Public Papers of President Ronald W. Reagan.  Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. (accessed December 27, 2021)
  3. ^ "Address to the Nation Announcing the Reagan-Bush Candidacies for Reelection January 29, 1984"The Public Papers of President Ronald W. Reagan.  Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. (accessed December 27, 2021)
  4. ^ "Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas August 23, 1984."  The Public Papers of President Ronald W. Reagan.  Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. (accessed December 27, 2020)
  5. ^ Jack Z, Smith (August 24, 1984). "Bush's Slam at Democrats Goes Over Big". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. 14. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  6. ^ "1984 Electoral College Results". National Archives. November 5, 2019. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  7. ^[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ Jackson, Robert L. (December 18, 1984). "Electoral College Makes Results Official". The Los Angeles Times. p. 6. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  9. ^ Richards, Clay F. (January 8, 1985). "Electoral College Makes It Formal: Reagan and Bush Elected in '84". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 4. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  10. ^ "Reagan Inks Form; Campaign "Off, Running"". The Tennessean. October 18, 1983. p. 2. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  11. ^ Cannon, Lou (April 13, 1984). "Old Campaign Team Returning to Manage Reagan Effort". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  12. ^ Landers, Jim (August 21, 1984). "Good Mailing Lists Keep GOP Coffers Full". The Miami Herald. p. 19. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  13. ^ Weisman, Steven (January 30, 1984). "REAGAN WILL SEEK A 2D TERM WITH BUSH AS RUNNING MATE; SAYS 'WORK IS NOT FINISHED'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  14. ^ UPI (August 31, 1983). "Man Named Fernandez". Lodi News-Sentinel. The Lodi (Co.) News-Sentinel. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  15. ^ "US President - R Primaries Race - Feb 20, 1984". Our Campaigns. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  16. ^ "Other Campaign News". The Tampa Tribune. May 18, 1984. p. 10. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  17. ^ Raine, George (June 9, 2004). "Creating Reagan's Image". SFGATE. Retrieved December 28, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Reagan Has New TV Ads". The Californian. May 18, 1984. p. 9. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  19. ^ Mollison, Andrew (May 18, 1984). "Reagan campaign spending millions to air low-key ads". The Miami News. p. 8. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  20. ^ Landers, Jim (August 21, 1984). "Good mailing lists keep GOP coffers full". The Miami Herald. p. 19.
  21. ^ "FEC Annual Report 1984, Chapter 1 The 1984 Presidential Elections" (PDF). June 1, 1985. Retrieved December 28, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Landers, Jim (August 21, 1984). "Good Mailing Lists Keep GOP Coffers Full". The Miami Herald. p. 19. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  23. ^ "Federal Election Commission Annual Report 1984, General Election Funding" (PDF). June 1, 1985. Retrieved December 28, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "Reagan's 1984 Presidential Nomination". Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  25. ^ Hlavaty, Craig (August 19, 2016). "First Republican National Convention in Texas led to Ronald Reagan landslide". Chron. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  26. ^ "Gallup: Reagan the loser in Mondale or Glenn race". Christian Science Monitor. January 7, 1983. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  27. ^ Inc, Gallup (June 7, 2004). "Ronald Reagan From the People's Perspective: A Gallup Poll Review". Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  28. ^ "POLLS SHOW MANY CHOOSE REAGAN EVEN IF THEY DISAGREE WITH HIM". The New York Times. September 19, 1984. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  29. ^ "Archive, 30 October 1984: Ronald Reagan poised to win US election". the Guardian. October 30, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  30. ^ Dickenson, J (November 5, 1984). "Mondale Improves Standing in Polls". Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  31. ^ Rosenstone, Steven J. (1985). "Explaining the 1984 Presidential Election". The Brookings Review. 3 (2): 25–32. ISSN 0745-1253.

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