The 1972 United States presidential election was the 47th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 1972. Incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon defeated Democratic Senator George McGovern of South Dakota.
Nixon easily swept aside challenges from two Republican congressmen in the 1972 Republican primaries to win re-nomination. McGovern, who had played a significant role in reforming the Democratic nomination system after the 1968 election, mobilized the anti-war movement and other liberal supporters to win his party's nomination. Among the candidates he defeated were early front-runner Edmund Muskie, 1968 nominee Hubert Humphrey, and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American to run for a major party's presidential nomination.
Nixon emphasized the strong economy and his success in foreign affairs, while McGovern ran on a platform calling for an immediate end to the Vietnam War, and the institution of a guaranteed minimum income. Nixon maintained a large and consistent lead in polling. Separately, Nixon's reelection committee broke into the Watergate Hotel to wiretap the Democratic National Committee's headquarters, a scandal that would later be known as "Watergate". McGovern's campaign was further damaged by the revelation that his running mate, Thomas Eagleton, had undergone psychiatric electroshock therapy as a treatment for depression. Eagleton was replaced on the ballot by Sargent Shriver.
Nixon won the election in a landslide, taking 60.7% of the popular vote and carrying 49 states, and he was the first Republican to sweep the South. McGovern took just 37.5% of the popular vote, while John G. Schmitz of the American Independent Party won 1.4% of the vote. Nixon received almost 18 million more votes than McGovern, and he holds the record for the widest popular vote margin in any United States presidential election. The 1972 presidential election was the first since the ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Within two years of the election, both Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from office, the former due to Watergate and the latter to a separate corruption charge, and Nixon was succeeded by Gerald Ford.
|1972 United States presidential election|
All 538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
|Turnout||55.2% 5.7 pp|
|Democratic Party Ticket, 1972|
|George McGovern||Sargent Shriver|
|for President||for Vice President|
from South Dakota
U.S. Ambassador to France
Senate Majority Whip Ted Kennedy, the youngest brother of late President John F. Kennedy and late United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was the favorite to win the 1972 nomination, but he announced he would not be a candidate. The favorite for the Democratic nomination then became Senator Ed Muskie, the 1968 vice-presidential nominee. Muskie's momentum collapsed just prior to the New Hampshire primary, when the so-called "Canuck letter" was published in the Manchester Union-Leader. The letter, actually a forgery from Nixon's "dirty tricks" unit, claimed that Muskie had made disparaging remarks about French-Canadians – a remark likely to injure Muskie's support among the French-American population in northern New England. Subsequently, the paper published an attack on the character of Muskie's wife Jane, reporting that she drank and used off-color language during the campaign. Muskie made an emotional defense of his wife in a speech outside the newspaper's offices during a snowstorm. Though Muskie later stated that what had appeared to the press as tears were actually melted snowflakes, the press reported that Muskie broke down and cried, shattering the candidate's image as calm and reasoned.
Nearly two years before the election, South Dakota Senator George McGovern entered the race as an anti-war, progressive candidate. McGovern was able to pull together support from the anti-war movement and other grassroots support to win the nomination in a primary system he had played a significant part in designing.
On January 25, 1972, New York Representative Shirley Chisholm announced she would run, and became the first African-American woman to run for the Democratic or Republican presidential nomination. Hawaii Representative Patsy Mink also announced she would run and became the first Asian American to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
On April 25, George McGovern won the Massachusetts primary. Two days later, journalist Robert Novak quoted a "Democratic senator" later revealed to be Thomas Eagleton as saying: "The people don't know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion, and legalization of pot. Once middle America – Catholic middle America, in particular – finds this out, he's dead." The label stuck and McGovern became known as the candidate of "amnesty, abortion, and acid". It became Humphrey's battle cry to stop McGovern—especially in the Nebraska primary.
Alabama Governor George Wallace, an anti-integrationist, did well in the South (he won every county in the Florida primary) and among alienated and dissatisfied voters in the North. What might have become a forceful campaign was cut short when Wallace was shot in an assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer on May 15. Wallace was struck by five bullets and left paralyzed from the waist down. The day after the assassination attempt, Wallace won the Michigan and Maryland primaries, but the shooting effectively ended his campaign and he pulled out in July.
In the end, McGovern won the nomination by winning primaries through grassroots support in spite of establishment opposition. McGovern had led a commission to re-design the Democratic nomination system after the divisive nomination struggle and convention of 1968. The fundamental principle of the McGovern Commission—that the Democratic primaries should determine the winner of the Democratic nomination—have lasted throughout every subsequent nomination contest. However, the new rules angered many prominent Democrats whose influence was marginalized and those politicians refused to support McGovern's campaign (some even supporting Nixon instead), leaving the McGovern campaign at a significant disadvantage in funding compared to Nixon.
Primaries popular vote results:
Henry M. Jackson
Most polls showed McGovern running well behind incumbent President Richard Nixon, except when McGovern was paired with Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. McGovern and his campaign brain trust lobbied Kennedy heavily to accept the bid to be McGovern's running mate, but he continually refused their advances, and instead suggested U.S. Representative (and House Ways and Means Committee chairman) Wilbur Mills of Arkansas and Boston Mayor Kevin White. Offers were then made to Hubert Humphrey, Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff, and Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, all of whom turned it down. Finally, the vice presidential slot was offered to Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, who accepted the offer.
With hundreds of delegates displeased with McGovern, the vote to ratify Eagleton's candidacy was chaotic, with at least three other candidates having their names put into nomination and votes scattered over 70 candidates. A grassroots attempt to displace Eagleton in favor of Texas state representative Frances Farenthold gained significant traction, though was ultimately unable to change the outcome of the vote.
The vice-presidential balloting went on so long that McGovern and Eagleton were forced to begin making their acceptance speeches at around 2 am, local time.
After the convention ended, it was discovered that Eagleton had undergone psychiatric electroshock therapy for depression and had concealed this information from McGovern. A Time magazine poll taken at the time found that 77 percent of the respondents said, "Eagleton's medical record would not affect their vote." Nonetheless, the press made frequent references to his "shock therapy", and McGovern feared that this would detract from his campaign platform. McGovern subsequently consulted confidentially with preeminent psychiatrists, including Eagleton's own doctors, who advised him that a recurrence of Eagleton's depression was possible and could endanger the country should Eagleton become president. McGovern had initially claimed that he would back Eagleton "1000 percent", only to ask Eagleton to withdraw three days later. This perceived lack of conviction in sticking with his running mate was disastrous for the McGovern campaign.
McGovern later approached six different prominent Democrats to run for vice-president: Ted Kennedy, Edmund Muskie, Hubert Humphrey, Abraham Ribicoff, Larry O'Brien and Reubin Askew. All six declined. Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law to John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, former Ambassador to France and former Director of the Peace Corps, later accepted. He was officially nominated by a special session of the Democratic National Committee. By this time, McGovern's poll ratings had plunged from 41 to 24 percent.
|Republican Party Ticket, 1972|
|Richard Nixon||Spiro Agnew|
|for President||for Vice President|
President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
Richard Nixon was a popular incumbent president in 1972, as he was credited with opening the People's Republic of China as a result of his 1972 visit, and achieving détente with the Soviet Union. Polls showed that Nixon held a strong lead in the Republican primaries. He was challenged by two candidates, liberal Pete McCloskey from California and conservative John Ashbrook from Ohio. McCloskey ran as an anti-war candidate, while Ashbrook opposed Nixon's détente policies towards China and the Soviet Union. In the New Hampshire primary McCloskey garnered 19.8% of the vote to Nixon's 67.6%, with Ashbrook receiving 9.7%. Nixon won 1323 of the 1324 delegates to the Republican convention, with McCloskey receiving the vote of one delegate from New Mexico. Vice President Spiro Agnew was re-nominated by acclamation; while both the party's moderate wing and Nixon himself had wanted to replace him with a new running-mate (the moderates favoring Nelson Rockefeller, and Nixon favoring John Connally), it was ultimately concluded that the loss of Agnew's base of conservative supporters would be too big of a risk.
Primaries popular vote result:
Seven members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War were brought on federal charges for conspiring to disrupt the Republican convention. They were acquitted by a federal jury in Gainesville, Florida.
The only major third party candidate in the 1972 election was conservative Republican Representative John G. Schmitz, who ran on the American Independent Party ticket (the party on whose ballot George Wallace ran in 1968). He was on the ballot in 32 states and received 1,099,482 votes. Unlike Wallace, however, he did not win a majority of votes cast in any state, and received no electoral votes, although he did finish ahead of McGovern in four of the most conservative Idaho counties. Schmitz's performance in archconservative Jefferson County was the best by a third-party Presidential candidate in any free or postbellum state county since 1936 when William Lemke reached over twenty-eight percent of the vote in the North Dakota counties of Burke, Sheridan and Hettinger.
John Hospers and Tonie Nathan of the newly formed Libertarian Party were on the ballot only in Colorado and Washington, but were official write-in candidates in four others, and received 3,674 votes, winning no states. However, they did receive one Electoral College vote from Virginia from a Republican faithless elector (see below). The Libertarian vice-presidential nominee Theodora "Tonie" Nathan became the first Jew and the first woman in U.S. history to receive an Electoral College vote.
Linda Jenness was nominated by the Socialist Workers Party, with Andrew Pulley as her running-mate. Benjamin Spock and Julius Hobson were nominated for president and vice-president, respectively by, the People's Party.
McGovern ran on a platform of immediately ending the Vietnam War and instituting guaranteed minimum incomes for the nation's poor. His campaign was harmed by his views during the primaries (which alienated many powerful Democrats), the perception that his foreign policy was too extreme, and the Eagleton debacle. With McGovern's campaign weakened by these factors, the Republicans successfully portrayed him as a radical left-wing extremist incompetent to serve as president. Nixon led in the polls by large margins throughout the entire campaign. With an enormous fundraising advantage and a comfortable lead in the polls, Nixon concentrated on large rallies and focused speeches to closed, select audiences, leaving much of the retail campaigning to surrogates like Vice President Agnew. Nixon did not, by design, try to extend his coattails to Republican congressional or gubernatorial candidates, preferring to pad his own margin of victory.
Nixon's percentage of the popular vote was only marginally less than Lyndon Johnson's record in the 1964 election, and his margin of victory was slightly larger. Nixon won a majority vote in 49 states, including McGovern's home state of South Dakota. Only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia voted for the challenger, resulting in an even more lopsided Electoral College tally. It was the first election since 1808 in which New York did not have the largest number of electors in the Electoral College, having fallen to 41 electors vs. California's 45.
Although the McGovern campaign believed that its candidate had a better chance of defeating Nixon because of the new Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution that lowered the national voting age to 18 from 21, most of the youth vote went to Nixon. This was the first election in American history in which a Republican candidate carried every single Southern state, continuing the region's transformation from a Democratic bastion into a Republican stronghold as Arkansas was carried by a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in a century. By this time, all the Southern states, except Arkansas and Texas, had been carried by a Republican in either the previous election or the one in 1964 (although Republican candidates carried Texas in 1928, 1952 and 1956). As a result of this election, Massachusetts became the only state that Nixon did not carry in any of the three presidential elections in which he was a candidate.
Through 2019 this remains the last election when Minnesota was carried by the Republican candidate. Minnesota was later the only state not won by Ronald Reagan in either 1980 or 1984. It also proved the last occasion that Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island and West Virginia would be won by Republicans until 1984.
McGovern won a mere 130 counties, plus the District of Columbia and four county-equivalents in Alaska,[a] easily the fewest counties won by any major-party presidential nominee since the advent of popular presidential elections. In nineteen states, McGovern failed to carry a single county;[b] he carried a mere one county-equivalent in a further nine states,[c] and just two counties in a further seven.[d] In contrast to Walter Mondale's narrow 1984 win in Minnesota, McGovern comfortably did win Massachusetts, but lost every other state by no less than five percentage points as well as 45 states by more than ten percentage points – the exceptions being Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and his home state of South Dakota. This election also made Nixon the second former Vice President in American history to serve two terms back-to-back, after Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and 1804. Since McGovern carried only one state, bumper stickers reading "Nixon 49 America 1", "Don't Blame Me I'm From Massachusetts" and "Massachusetts: The One And Only" were popular for a short time in Massachusetts. The "Don't Blame Me I'm From Massachusetts" bumper sticker was subsequently revived after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election despite losing Massachusetts to Hillary Clinton.
Nixon managed to win 18% of the African American vote (Gerald Ford would get 16% in 1976). He also remains the only Republican in modern times to threaten the oldest extant Democratic stronghold of South Texas: this is the last election when the Republicans have won Hidalgo or Dimmit Counties, the only time Republicans have won La Salle County since William McKinley in 1900, and one of only two occasions since Theodore Roosevelt in 1904[e] that Republicans have gained a majority in Presidio County. More significantly, the 1972 election is the last time several highly populous urban counties – including Cook in Illinois, Orleans in Louisiana, Hennepin in Minnesota, Cuyahoga in Ohio, Durham in North Carolina, Queens in New York and Prince George's in Maryland – have voted Republican.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||Electoral
|Count||Percentage||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Electoral vote|
|Richard Milhous Nixon (Incumbent)||Republican||California||47,168,710||60.67%||520||Spiro Theodore Agnew||Maryland||520|
|George Stanley McGovern||Democratic||South Dakota||29,173,222||37.52%||17||Robert Sargent Shriver||Maryland||17|
|John G. Schmitz||American Independent||California||1,100,868||1.42%||0||Thomas J. Anderson||Tennessee||0|
|Linda Jenness||Socialist Workers||Georgia||83,380[f]||0.11%||0||Andrew Pulley||Illinois||0|
|Benjamin Spock||People's||California||78,759||0.10%||0||Julius Hobson||District of Columbia||0|
|Louis Fisher||Socialist Labor||Illinois||53,814||0.07%||0||Genevieve Gunderson||Minnesota||0|
|Gus Hall||Communist||New York||25,597||0.03%||0||Jarvis Tyner||Pennsylvania||0|
|Evelyn Reed||Socialist Workers||New York||13,878||0.02%||0||Clifton DeBerry||Illinois||0|
|E. Harold Munn||Prohibition||Michigan||13,497||0.02%||0||Marshall Uncapher||Kansas||0|
|John G. Hospers||Libertarian||California||3,674||0.00%||1[g]||Theodora Nathan||Oregon||1[g]|
|John Mahalchik||America First||New Jersey||1,743||0.00%||0||Irv Homer||Pennsylvania||0|
|Needed to win||270||270|
Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1972 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved August 7, 2005. Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved August 7, 2005. Source (Close States): Leip, David "How close were U.S. Presidential Elections?", Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved: January 24, 2013.
|States/districts won by Nixon/Agnew|
|States/districts won by McGovern/Shriver|
States where margin of victory was more than 5 percentage points, but less than 10 percentage points (43 electoral votes):
On June 17, 1972, five months before election day, five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C.; the resulting investigation led to the revelation of attempted cover-ups of the break-in within the Nixon administration. What became known as the Watergate scandal eroded President Nixon's public and political support in his second term, and he resigned on August 9, 1974, in the face of probable impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal from office by the Senate.
As part of the continuing Watergate investigation in 1974–75, federal prosecutors offered companies that had given illegal campaign contributions to President Nixon's re-election campaign lenient sentences if they came forward. Many companies complied, including Northrop Grumman, 3M, American Airlines and Braniff Airlines. By 1976, prosecutors had convicted 18 American corporations of contributing illegally to Nixon's campaign.
The 1972 United States presidential election in Alabama was held on November 7, 1972. Incumbent President Richard Nixon won Alabama, winning 72.43 percent of the vote to George McGovern's 25.54 percent. This is also the best showing in the state by a Republican presidential candidate. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Dallas County, Hale County, Russell County, and Perry County voted for the Republican candidate.With 72.43% of the popular vote, Alabama would prove to be Nixon's fourth strongest state in the 1972 election after Mississippi, Georgia and Oklahoma.1972 United States presidential election in Arizona
The 1972 United States presidential election in Arizona took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Arizona voters chose six representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Arizona was won by incumbent President Richard Nixon (R–California), with 61.64% of the popular vote, against George McGovern (D–South Dakota), with 30.38% of the popular vote. Linda Jenness and John G. Schmitz, the only other candidates on the ballot, combined for just over 52,000 votes and over seven percent of Arizona’s popular vote. Even in a huge landslide, this result left Arizona seven percentage points more Republican than the nation at-large.
In a state that would reflect McGovern’s national results, the Democratic nominee won only one county in Arizona: heavily unionized Greenlee County, where no Republican had won before this nor would win until George W. Bush in 2000.1972 United States presidential election in California
The 1972 United States presidential election in California refers to how California participated in the 1972 United States presidential election.
California voted for the Republican incumbent, Richard Nixon, over the Democratic challenger, South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Nixon took 55.00% of the vote to McGovern's 41.54%, a margin of 13.46%. Although California was Richard Nixon's home state, his performance in the state was somewhat underwhelming, as California's result was about 11% more Democratic than the nation as a whole.
This was the first presidential election in which California had the most electoral college votes as a result of the 1970 census, a status it has maintained ever since.1972 United States presidential election in Colorado
The 1972 United States presidential election in Colorado refers to how Colorado participated in the 1972 United States presidential election.
Colorado voted for the Republican incumbent, Richard Nixon, over the Democratic challenger, South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Nixon took 62.61% of the vote to McGovern's 34.59%, a margin of 28.01%.1972 United States presidential election in Connecticut
The 1972 United States presidential election in Connecticut took place on November 7, 1972. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Connecticut voters chose eight electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Connecticut was won by the Republican nominees, incumbent President Richard Nixon of California and his running mate Vice President Spiro Agnew of Maryland. Nixon and Agnew defeated the Democratic nominees, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota and his running mate U.S. Ambassador Sargent Shriver of Maryland.
Nixon carried Connecticut with 58.57% of the vote to McGovern’s 40.13%, a victory margin of 18.44%. He won every county in the state.1972 United States presidential election in Illinois
The 1972 United States presidential election in Illinois was held on November 7, 1972. Incumbent President Nixon won the state of Illinois with 59% of the vote, carrying the state's 26 electoral votes. He defeated his main opponent, Democratic candidate George McGovern in Illinois by an overwhelming margin of 18.52 points.
Nixon won all but one of Illinois’ 102 counties. The solitary exception was Jackson County, home to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, which notably had voted for Nixon in the previous election and was one of only five counties outside McGovern’s home state to switch from Republican to Democratic at this election. This election is the most recent in which Cook County voted Republican, the only Republican victory in St. Clair County since Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and the last until 2016 when Alexander County supported a Republican nominee.1972 United States presidential election in Kentucky
The 1972 United States presidential election in Kentucky took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Kentucky voters chose nine representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president. These electors at the time were Frank Stubblefield (D), Romano L. Mazzoli (D), Gene Snyder (R), Tim Lee Carter (R), William P. Curlin Jr. (D), Carl D. Perkins (D), John Sherman Cooper (R), Marlow W. Cook (R).
Kentucky was won by incumbent President Richard Nixon (R–California), with 63.77 percent of the popular vote, against George McGovern (D–South Dakota), with 34.77 percent. Nixon won 112 out of 120 counties in the state of Kentucky. Kentucky had voted Republican the previous election, 1968 but did not continue with that pattern in the 1976 election.1972 United States presidential election in Michigan
The 1972 United States presidential election in Michigan took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Michigan voters chose twenty-one representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Michigan was won by incumbent President Richard Nixon (R–California), with 56.20% of the popular vote, against George McGovern (D–South Dakota), with 41.81% of the popular vote. John G. Schmitz was the only other candidate on the ballot, and, as the candidate for the American Independent Party, he received over 63,000 votes.
Delta, Lake, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties were the only four of Michigan's 83 counties to vote for McGovern.1972 United States presidential election in Minnesota
The 1972 United States presidential election in Minnesota took place on November 7, 1972, in Minnesota as part of the 1972 United States presidential election.
The Republican Party candidate, incumbent President Richard Nixon, won the state over U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota by a margin of 95,923 votes, or 5.51%, the closest state in the election. Nixon went on to win the election nationally, by a landslide margin of 23.15% of the popular vote. McGovern carried only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
The 1972 election was the last time Minnesota—historically a state which favored Democrats—was carried by a Republican. During Nixon's second term as President, the Watergate scandal resulted in the loss of the Republican Party's credibility both nationally and in Minnesota. The damage caused by Watergate was so pronounced that the Republican Party of Minnesota was forced to rebrand itself as the "Independent-Republican Party" from 1975 to 1995, in order to distance itself from the national Republican Party.
Nixon also remains the last Republican to carry heavily populated Hennepin County, with 1972 also the last time that county did not vote the same as neighboring Ramsey County.
Although Republicans have not won Minnesota's electoral votes since, they have come extremely close in the 1984, 2000, 2004, and 2016 United States Presidential Elections.1972 United States presidential election in Missouri
The 1972 United States presidential election in Missouri took place on November 7, 1972. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Missouri voters chose twelve electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Missouri was won by the Republican nominees, incumbent President Richard Nixon of California and his running mate Vice President Spiro Agnew of Maryland. Nixon and Agnew defeated the Democratic nominees, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota and his running mate U.S. Ambassador Sargent Shriver of Maryland.
Nixon carried Missouri with 62.29% of the vote to McGovern’s 37.71%, a victory margin of 24.58%. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Jackson County voted for the Republican candidate.1972 United States presidential election in Montana
The 1972 United States presidential election in Montana took place on November 7, 1972, and was part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Voters chose four representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Montana strongly voted for the Republican nominee, President Richard Nixon, over the Democratic nominee, Senator George McGovern. Nixon won Montana by a margin of 20.08 percent; however McGovern still did 0.4% better than he did nationally.1972 United States presidential election in Nebraska
The 1972 United States presidential election in Nebraska took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Nebraska voters chose five representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Nebraska was won by incumbent President Richard Nixon (R–California), with 70.5% of the popular vote, against George McGovern (D–South Dakota), with 29.5% of the popular vote.In a state that would reflect McGovern's national results, the Democratic nominee did not win a single county in Nebraska.1972 United States presidential election in North Carolina
The 1972 United States presidential election in North Carolina took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Voters chose thirteen representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
North Carolina voted strongly for Republican nominee President Richard Nixon, over Democratic nominee Senator George McGovern. North Carolina voted overwhelmingly for President Nixon, who won 69.46% to 28.89%, one of the biggest margins in the country. This is the most Republican result in the state.
McGovern won only the typically extremely strong Democratic counties of Northampton and Orange – two counties with a record of having voted Democratic at every election since 1904, apart from Orange County’s vote against the Catholic Al Smith in 1928. Even in these counties, where most Democratic candidates expect to receive well over sixty percent of the vote and Walter Mondale in his disastrous 1984 loss won by over 13 percent, McGovern won by only 236 votes in Northampton County and 1,002 out of over twenty-three thousand in Orange County.
In the process Nixon managed to challenge the long-established Democratic bastion in the state’s northeast, which rivals South Texas as the longest-lived extant Democrat stronghold in the entire United States. It is the only time since 1900 that Hoke, Hertford and Bertie Counties have voted against the Democratic candidate, the only time that Durham and Washington Counties has voted for the Republican candidate since 1928, and the only time Anson, Halifax, Warren and Edgecombe Counties have supported a Republican candidate since 1896.This is the first election in which a presidential candidate won North Carolina with more than a million votes. This is also the best Republican election performance in the history of the state.1972 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania
The 1972 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania took place on November 7, 1972, and was part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Voters chose 27 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Pennsylvania strongly voted for the Republican nominee, President Richard Nixon, over the Democratic nominee, Senator George McGovern. Nixon won Pennsylvania by a large margin of 19.98 percentage points, winning every county except for Philadelphia. This result nonetheless was over three percent more Democratic than the nation at-large. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Allegheny County voted Republican, and the last time that county did not vote the same as Philadelphia.1972 United States presidential election in Tennessee
The 1972 United States presidential election in Tennessee took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. Tennessee voters chose ten representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Tennessee was won by incumbent President Richard Nixon (R–California), with 67.70% of the popular vote, against George McGovern (D–South Dakota), with 29.75% of the popular vote. John G. Schmitz was the only other candidate on the ballot, and, as the candidate for the American Independent Party, he received over 30,000 votes.
Stewart, Houston, Perry, Lewis, and Jackson counties were the only five of Tennessee's ninety-five counties to vote for McGovern. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the best showing of any Republican candidate in the state. This is also the last election in which Haywood County voted for the Republican candidate.1972 United States presidential election in Vermont
The 1972 United States presidential election in Vermont took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States Presidential Election which was held throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Voters chose three representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Vermont voted for incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon of California and his running mate Vice President Spiro Agnew of Maryland, defeating Democratic Senator George McGovern of South Dakota and his running mate U.S. Ambassador Sargent Shriver of Maryland.
Nixon took 62.66% of the vote to McGovern's 36.47%, a margin of 26.20%. Coming in a distant third was the People’s Party candidate famed pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, who took 0.54% in Vermont on the Liberty Union ballot line.
Vermont historically was a bastion of liberal Northeastern Republicanism, and by 1972 the Green Mountain State had gone Republican in every presidential election since the founding of the Republican Party, except in the Democratic landslide of 1964, when the GOP had nominated staunch conservative Barry Goldwater.
Richard Nixon was seen as a mainstream moderate Republican, and while winning nationally in a massive 49-state landslide, he easily held onto Vermont’s three electoral votes. The only state McGovern carried was neighboring Massachusetts, along with the District of Columbia.
As Nixon won a historic landslide nationally, Vermont weighed in as about 2% more Republican than the nation.
Nixon won every county in Vermont, and broke sixty percent in every county except for Chittenden County, the most populous county, home to the state's largest city, Burlington. Though the state wouldn't vote for another Democratic presidential candidate until 1992, no subsequent Republican who won the state was able to match Nixon’s 62 percent vote share.1972 United States presidential election in Washington (state)
The 1972 United States presidential election in Washington refers to how Washington participated in the 1972 United States presidential election.
Washington voted for the Republican incumbent, Richard Nixon, over the Democratic challenger, South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Nixon took 56.92% of the vote to McGovern’s 38.64%, a margin of 18.28%, which still made the state 4.87 percent more Democratic than the nation at-large.
Nixon won every county except heavily unionized Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, in the process being the first Republican to carry Wahkiakum County (another heavily unionized timber county), Kitsap County and Snohomish County since Herbert Hoover in 1928.1972 United States presidential election in West Virginia
The 1972 United States presidential election in West Virginia took place on November 7, 1972, as part of the 1972 United States presidential election. West Virginia voters chose six representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
West Virginia was won by incumbent President Richard Nixon (R–California), with 63.61% of the popular vote, against George McGovern (D–South Dakota), with 36.39% of the popular vote. Nixon won every county in the state except for Logan County, which McGovern won 51.3%-48.7%.1972 United States presidential election in Wisconsin
The 1972 United States presidential election in Wisconsin was held on November 7, 1972. Incumbent President Nixon won the state of Wisconsin with 53 percent of the vote, carrying the state’s eleven electoral votes, although Wisconsin was the fifth most Democratic state during the election, voting 6.74 percent more Democratic than the nation as a whole. In no other election since the emergence of the Republican Party has Wisconsin voted so much more Democratic than the country as a whole.McGovern won seven counties (out of 131 county-equivalents including three in Alaska that he won nationally) receiving as usual his highest vote in predominantly Native American Menominee County where he won 62.3 percent of the vote. McGovern and Shriver also achieved clear majorities in Milwaukee, Dane, Douglas and Portage Counties, and narrowly won Ashland County by one percent and Rusk County by 1.1 percent. Nixon won Manitowoc County by one hundred and ten votes, achieved pluralities in Pepin, Chippewa and Forest Counties, and won majorities in the remaining seventy-eight – the largest being in Waupaca County where Nixon won by forty-two percentage points.
Nixon became the first Republican since Warren Harding in 1920 to win Iron County, and was the last Republican until Donald Trump in 2016 to win Pepin and Kenosha Counties, and remains the last Republican to claim Bayfield County.
State results of the 1972 U.S. presidential election
|Elections by year|
|Elections by state|
|Primaries and caucuses|
and Popular vote