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Reagan’s Triumph

To the Editors:

Joe Daunt, who wrote to object to my characterization of Ronald Reagan’s victory in the 1980 presidential election as a landslide, has written again to object to my reply [Letters, NYR, April 7]. I said that the third-party candidate in 1980, John Anderson, who got 6.6 percent of the vote, was a sitting Republican congressman, so it stands to reason that he would have taken more votes from Reagan than from Jimmy Carter. Daunt, citing poll results, insists, “It is highly unlikely that many Anderson voters would have voted for Ronald Reagan,” because they were mainly liberal.

All this is suppositional and impossible to settle completely. I appreciate Daunt’s raising the question. What lingers in his mind about the 1980 election is that Reagan got 50.7 percent of the popular vote, but what lingers in my mind is that he carried forty-four states.

Nicholas Lemann
New York City