Yesterday's column by George Will raised some interesting points and brought to the forefront some data I hadn't really realized.
I found these two paragraphs particularly of interest...
Granted, in the past 150 years, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter (barely) are the only Democrats to achieve 50 percent of the popular vote. And this year Democrats might still give Republicans the gift of Hillary Clinton, who probably has a popular vote ceiling of 52 percent. A subliminal -- too much so -- subtext of Obama's message is that Clinton cannot receive the big mandate required for big changes: Enactment of Social Security in 1935 followed Franklin Roosevelt's 57.4 percent victory in 1932, and in 1965 Medicare came after Lyndon Johnson's 61 percent victory over Barry Goldwater.
But even if Democrats nominate Clinton, Republicans must remember that Bush's 2.4-point margin of victory in 2004 was unimpressive: In the 12 previous reelections of presidents, the average margin of victory was 12.9 points. Bush's 50.7 percent of the vote in 2004 was the third-smallest for a reelected president (Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton won 49.2 percent in 1916 and 1996, respectively). Kerry's 48.3 percent was the largest ever against a president being reelected. (In the 12 previous reelections, no losing candidate received more than 46.1 percent; nine of the losers received less than 45 percent.)