The Election of 1984

Ronald Reagan, buoyed by a vigorous economic recovery and a renewal of America's stature internationally, ran for re-election in 1984. Walter Mondale, former vice president and senator from Minnesota, was his Democratic opponent.

In 1998, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE asked viewers to vote on the same presidential issues. Here are the results:

Balancing the Federal Budget

As the nation's deficit grew, debate ensued over how best to balance the federal budget.
Candidate 1 -- Openly admits that taxes will have to be raised in order to balance the budget. 
Candidate 2 --  Contends that continued reduction in government programs and "waste" will provide the funds to balance the budget.





Central America

What role, if any, should the U.S. play in the politics of Central American nations?
Candidate 1 -- Criticizes the methods of the so-called "freedom fighters" who are trying to oust the Marxist government in Nicaragua.
Candidate 2 -- Maintains that the Contras are the "moral equivalent of our founding fathers," and that their cause is vital to preserving democracy in the Western hemisphere.





The Strategic Defense Initiative (S.D.I.)

The feasibility and necessity of a space-based defense system drew varied opinions.
Candidate 1 -- Charges that deployment of such a defense system will only serve to accelerate the arms race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
Candidate 2 -- Refers to S.D.I. as the "peace shield," and contends that it will hasten an end to the arms race.





Here are the actual results of the election of 1984--

  Popular Votes % Electoral Votes
Mondale [D] 37,600,000 40.6 13
Reagan [R] 54,500,000 58.8 525

My American Experience

My American Experience photos

Share Your Story

Who was your favorite 20th-century American president? Was it FDR? Kennedy? Reagan? Or one of the other 14 men who helped usher the United Sates through the 1900s? Who do you think was the most influential?

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • NEH