1972 Presidential Election

The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial United States presidential election. It was held on November 7, 1972. The Democratic Party's nomination was eventually won by Senator George McGovern, who ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon, but was handicapped by his outsider status as well as the scandal and subsequent firing of vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton.

Emphasizing a good economy and his successes in foreign affairs (especially ending American involvement in Vietnam and establishing relations with China), Nixon won the election in a massive landslide (a higher proportion than in 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson overwhelmingly defeated Barry Goldwater). Nixon won the election, with a 23.2% margin of victory in the popular vote, the fourth largest margin in presidential election history. He received almost 18 million more popular votes than McGovern—the widest margin of any U.S. presidential election.

Source: Wikipedia

1972 Election Results

Candidate Party Electoral Votes Popular Votes
Richard M. Nixon (I) Republican 520 46,740,323
George McGovern Democratic 17 28,901,598
Other: See Election Facts Below 1

1972 Election Facts

  • Based on 1970 census results, California replaces New York with most electoral votes
  • 26th Amendment ratified in this cycle: 18 year olds allowed to vote
  • Vice-Presidential Succession: Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, and was replaced by Vice-President Gerald R. Ford
  • Nixon won Virginia; however one elector cast a vote for John Hospers
  • Issues of the Day: Vietnam War, International Relations (Detente with USSR, Visit to China), Watergate
  • Maine shifts from winner-take-all to congressional district method for allocating electoral votes

Margin of Victory Map

This map is shaded by how large the popular vote difference was between the two nominees. It is a way to view the relative competitiveness of each state. These maps are also available as a timeline for each election from 1972-2020.