United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1972
McGovern – 60–70%
McGovern – 50–60%
Nixon – 50–60%
Nixon – 60–70%
|Elections in Massachusetts|
The 1972 United States presidential election in Massachusetts took place on November 7, 1972 as part of the 1972 United States presidential election, which was held throughout all 50 states and D.C. Voters chose 14 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
Massachusetts voted for the Democratic nominee, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, over incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon of California. McGovern's running mate was U.S. Ambassador Sargent Shriver of Maryland, who had replaced Senator Thomas Eagleton during the campaign, while Nixon ran with incumbent Vice President Spiro Agnew of Maryland.
McGovern carried Massachusetts with 54.20 percent of the vote to Nixon’s 45.23 percent, a Democratic victory margin of 8.97 percent%.
In the midst of a massive nationwide Republican landslide in which Richard Nixon had carried 49 states, Massachusetts proved to be the only state in the nation that would cast its electoral votes for George McGovern, joined by the District of Columbia.
McGovern also carried the state by a surprisingly comfortable 9 point margin, making the state a whopping 32 percent more Democratic than the national average in the 1972 election.
McGovern, a staunch liberal Democrat best known for his strong principled opposition to the Vietnam War, was painted by the Nixon campaign as an extremist too far to the left of the American mainstream at the time, and this paid off in delivering Nixon a nationwide re-election landslide. Massachusetts would be the only state to ultimately vote for McGovern.
Prior to 1972, Massachusetts had been a Democratic-leaning state since 1928, and a Democratic stronghold since 1960. But McGovern’s comfortable victory in 1972 still stands out, as many other traditional Democratic strongholds abandoned the Democrats in 1972. For example, neighboring Rhode Island, which normally voted similarly to Massachusetts, went to Nixon in 1972 by 6 points.
On the county map, McGovern carried nine of the state's fourteen counties, including the most heavily populated parts of the state. The state's capital and largest city, Boston, would prove to be a McGovern stronghold; Suffolk County, where Boston is located, went to McGovern with 66 percent of the vote. Boston is one of the few areas in the country where McGovern actually outperformed Jimmy Carter’s performance four years later in 1976; while Carter was narrowly winning the presidency nationally, in Suffolk County he only took 61%. On the other hand, this election remains the last time Dukes County, which had never voted Democratic before Lyndon Johnson’s landslide in 1964, has voted Republican.
The results in 1972 made Massachusetts the only state which Richard Nixon would never carry in any of his three presidential campaigns.
|United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1972|
|Socialist Workers||Linda Jenness||10,600||0.43%||0|
|American Independent||John G. Schmitz (Write-in)||2,877||0.12%||0|
|Socialist Labor||Louis Fisher (Write-in)||129||0.01%||0|
|People's||Benjamin Spock (Write-in)||101||0.00%||0|
|Communist||Gus Hall (Write-in)||46||0.00%||0|
|Libertarian||John G. Hospers (Write-in)||43||0.00%||0|
|Write-ins||Scattered (Other write-ins)||342||0.01%||0|
|Voter Turnout (Voting age/Registered)||62%/79%|
Results by municipality
After Nixon was re-elected, he would later resign only a year and a half into his second term due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal and the illegal activities he committed. Afterwards, a bumper sticker with the words "Don't blame me! I'm from Massachusetts" became a symbol of the sentiments felt by Massachusetts residents after the Watergate scandal and Nixon's resignation due to criminal activity, it served as a proverbial message to the 49 other states not to "blame them" for Nixon's election, as Massachusetts was the only state that voted against Nixon's re-election.
United States presidential election in Minnesota, 1984, the only state to vote Democratic in 1984, like Massachusetts was in 1972.
- The Political Graveyard; Dukes County, Massachusetts
- Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
- "1972 Presidential General Election Results - Massachusetts". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
- Kahn, Joseph P. (October 23, 2012). "George McGovern's indelible mark on Massachusetts politics". Boston Goble. Retrieved May 31, 2015.