Dubbed the “Great Communicator” by political pundits, Ronald Reagan headed into the 1984 presidential campaign with high approval ratings. The slump in the economy that had plagued his administration in early 1982 now a distant memory, America appeared strong both domestically and internationally. Many credited the renewal of America’s position in world affairs to Reagan’s strength and a perceived youthful vitality. Reagan would once again stand for election with George H.W. Bush, the Vice-President, as his running-mate on the Republican ticket.
The Democratic Party nominated Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, who in turn selected the first woman candidate for the Vice-Presidency, Geraldine Ferraro, a Congresswoman from New York. Mondale ran on a critique of Reagan policies, harping on cutbacks in social insurance and challenging popular assumptions of economic recovery.
Reagan adopted the campaign theme of “Morning in America,” trumpeting the renewal of American power at home and abroad. Powerful media imagery depicted American strength and economic prosperity trickling down on all Americans, rich and poor alike, as a result of Reagan’s policies. Regardless of the truth or falsity of these images, Reagan had successfully created a powerful electoral coalition of conservative Republicans and moderate Democrats—working-class Americans, Southerners, Catholics and urban dwellers alike—who looked to his policies to curb high taxes, inflation, affirmative action and crime.
That coalition brought Reagan a landslide victory in November. The President won re-election with a popular vote of 53,428,357, compared to Mondale’s 36,930,923. Reagan won 525 out of a possible 538 electoral votes, with Mondale winning only those of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Reagan’s overwhelming victory reaffirmed the popularity of the his policies, and encouraged the expansion of domestic and foreign affairs initiatives carried over from the first term. Reagan entered his second term in the Oval Office as strong as any President in the twentieth century.
http://www.ipl.org/ref/POTUS/rwreagan.html (Electoral stats)