Bashar al-Assad’s election results are actually pretty bad for an autocrat

This post has been updated. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's broad margin of victory in his country's most recent "election" — 88.7 percent, according to reports — is the sort of thing that would make most American politicians jealous. (Especially a few politicians in Mississippi.) But for an autocrat, it's actually a pretty lame showing.


Kim Jong-Un (C) visiting the construction site of apartment houses in Pyongyang. (AFP PHOTO / KCNA / Getty Images)

Here's where Assad stacks up against some of the world's greatest "election" winners this century.

Rank Winner Year Percentage
10. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran 2009 62.6 percent
9. Hugo Chavez, Venezuela 2006 62.8
8. Vladimir Putin, Russia 2012 64
7. Vladimir Putin, Russia 2004 71.2
6. Bashar al-Assad, Syria 2014 88.7
5. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt 2014 96.9
4. Fidel Castro, Cuba 2003 99
3. Kim Jong Il, North Korea 2009 99.9

And then there are the cream of the crop, the most robustly supported authoritarian leaders we've seen in recent history.

Rank Winner Year Percentage
1. (tied) Kim Jong Un, North Korea 2014 100
1. (tied) Saddam Hussein, Iraq 2002 100

As the BBC article about Hussein's remarkable "achievement" states: "[t]he government insists the count was fair and accurate." Of course it was.


For those of you rushing to figure out where Barack Obama and George W. Bush fall on this list, here you go. Obama got 52.9 percent and 51.1 percent. Bush got 47.9 and 50.7.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He previously wrote for The Wire, the news blog of The Atlantic magazine. He has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Daily, and the Huffington Post. Philip is based in New York City.
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