Elections
Dewey defeats Truman. Dewey defeats Truman.  

Presidential nail-biters: Top 10 closest presidential elections in history [SLIDESHOW]

It’s Election Day and everyone is making their bets on who the winner will be, even TheDC. Every four years, Americans across the nation cast their votes for the next president of the United States. But after leaving the polls or turning in their absentee ballots, all Americans can do is wear their “I voted” stickers proudly and wait patiently for the returns. Some election days we are rewarded with the results that very night, but other years we are forced to wait in anticipation until the next day, or even an entire month. Here are the closest presidential elections in American history.

Click an image below for larger version.
  • 1844: Democrat James Polk defeats Whig Henry Clay. Polk won with just 65 more Electoral Votes and a 1.45 percent lead in the popular vote.
  • 1848: Whig Zachary Taylor defeats Democrat Lewis Cass with 36 more electoral votes and a 4.8 percent lead in the popular vote.
  • 1876: Republican Rutherford Hayes defeats Democrat Samuel Tilden by just one electoral vote but actually lost the popular vote by 3 percent.
  • 1880: Republican James Garfield defeats Democrat Winfield Hancock with 59 more electoral votes but only wins the popular vote by .1 percent, edging out the Civil War general with just 2,000 more votes.
  • 1884: Democrat Grover Cleveland defeats Republican James Blaine. The New York governor won with 37 more electoral votes and a .7 percent lead in the popular vote, making him the first Democratic president since before the Civil War. Cleveland's home state of New York gave him 36 of the 37 electoral votes that gave him the lead.
  • 1888: Democrat Benjamin Harrison defeats Republican Grover Cleveland. Harrison beat out the incumbent with 37 more electoral votes, but he lost the popular vote by .8 percent -- not unlike the 1876 election 12 years earlier.  The next president-elect to lose the popular vote but still win the election would not come for another 112 years. Can you guess which election? Stay tuned.
  • 1916: Democrat Woodrow Wilson defeats Republican Charles Hughes. The incumbent, Wilson, beat out Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes with only 23 more electoral votes and a 3.1 percent lead in the popular vote.
  • 1960: Democrat John F. Kennedy defeats Republican Richard Nixon. After one of the most exciting election nights, Kennedy ultimately won with 84 more electoral votes and a .2 percent lead in the popular vote. Early returns showed Kennedy with a huge lead in the popular and electoral vote, but later returns showed Nixon closing Kennedy's early lead. Nixon did not concede until the next afternoon.
  • 2000: Republican George W. Bush defeats Democrat Al Gore. In one of the most controversial elections in history, Bush won the election by just five electoral votes, but he lost the popular vote to Gore by .5 percent -- the first time a candidate won without the popular vote in 112 years. The results of the election remained unknown for over a month until the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided to stop a recount in Florida.
  • 2004: Republican George W. Bush defeats Democrat John Kerry. While Bush only won by 35 electoral votes and a 2.4 percent lead in the popular vote, his lead was still stronger than his first presidential election. But Kerry did not concede until the next day, after deciding not to contest Bush's win in Ohio.

Follow Laura on Twitter