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United States presidential election, 1972

United States presidential election, 1972

November 7, 1972

All 538 electoral votes of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 55.2%[1]
 
Nominee Richard Nixon George McGovern
Party Republican Democratic
Home state California South Dakota
Running mate Spiro Agnew Sargent Shriver
(replacing Thomas Eagleton)
Electoral vote 520 17
States carried 49 1 + DC
Popular vote 47,168,710 29,173,222
Percentage 60.7% 37.5%

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Nixon/Agnew, Blue denotes those won by McGovern/Shriver. Gray is the electoral vote for John Hospers by a Virginia faithless elector. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Richard Nixon
Republican

Elected President

Richard Nixon
Republican

The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial Republican President Richard Nixon, but was handicapped by his outsider status, limited support from his own party, the perception of many voters that he was a left-wing extremist and the scandal that resulted from the firing of vice-presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton.

Emphasizing a good economy and his successes in foreign affairs, such as coming near to ending American involvement in the Vietnam War and establishing relations with China, Nixon decisively defeated McGovern. Overall, Nixon won 60.7% of the popular vote, a percentage only slightly lower than Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, but with a larger margin of victory in the popular vote (23.2%), the fourth largest in presidential election history. He received almost 18 million more popular votes than McGovern, the widest margin of any United States presidential election. McGovern only won the electoral votes of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. No candidate since had managed to equal or surpass Nixon's total percentage or margin of the popular vote, and his electoral vote total and percentage has been surpassed only once, and his state total matched only once, by Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Also in this election, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American to run for a major party nomination, and Patsy Mink was the first Asian American candidate to run for the Democratic Party nomination. It also was the first time that Hawaii was carried by a Republican, becoming the last of the 50 states to do so. Together with the House and Senate elections of 1972, it was the first electoral event in which people aged 18 to 20 could vote in any state, according to the provisions of the Twenty-sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This is also the most recent presidential election where at least one electoral vote was won by a candidate who, at the time of the election, was neither a Republican or Democrat.

Contents

  • Democratic nomination 1
    • Candidates gallery 1.1
    • Primaries 1.2
    • Primary results 1.3
    • Notable endorsements 1.4
    • 1972 Democratic National Convention 1.5
    • The vice presidential vote 1.6
  • Republican nomination 2
    • Candidates gallery 2.1
    • Primaries 2.2
    • Primary results 2.3
    • Convention 2.4
  • Third parties 3
  • General election 4
    • Campaign 4.1
    • Results 4.2
      • Results by state 4.2.1
    • Close states 4.3
  • Scandals 5
    • Watergate 5.1
    • Corporate campaign contributions 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Bibliography and further reading 8
  • External links 9

Democratic nomination

Overall, 15 people declared their candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination. They were:[2]

Candidates gallery

Primaries

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.[6]

Nearly two years before the election, South Dakota Senator

  • The Election Wall's 1972 Election Video Page
  • 1972 popular vote by counties
  • 1972 popular vote by states
  • 1972 popular vote by states (with bar graphs)
  • How close was the 1972 election? at the Wayback Machine (archived August 25, 2012) — Michael Sheppard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Campaign commercials from the 1972 election
  • C-SPAN segment on 1972 campaign commercials
  • C-SPAN segment on the "Eagleton Affair"

External links

  • Hofstetter, C. Richard; Zukin, Cliff. "TV Network News and Advertising in the Nixon and McGovern Campaigns," Journalism Quarterly, Spring 1979, Vol. 56 Issue 1, pp 106–152
  • Nicholas, H. G. "The 1972 Elections," Journal of American Studies, April 1973, Vol. 7 Issue 1, pp 1–15
  • White, Theodore S. The Making of the President, 1972 (1973)

Australian Journal of Politics & History, Mar1973, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p28-47

  • Giglio, James N. "The Eagleton Affair: Thomas Eagleton, George McGovern, and the 1972 Vice Presidential Nomination," Presidential Studies Quarterly, Dec 2009, Vol. 39 Issue 4, pp 647–676
  • Graebner, Norman A. "Presidential Politics in a Divided America: 1972," Australian Journal of Politics & History, March 1973, Vol. 19 Issue 1, pp 28–47

Bibliography and further reading

  1. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ "US President - D Primaries". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ Jack Anderson (June 4, 1971). "Don't count out Ted Kennedy".  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "Muskie, Edmund Sixtus, (1914 - 1996)".  
  6. ^ "Remembering Ed Muskie", Online NewsHour, PBS, March 26, 1996.
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Jo Freeman (February 2005). "Shirley Chisholm's 1972 Presidential Campaign". University of Illinois at Chicago Women's History Project. 
  9. ^ Robert D. Novak (2008). The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 225.  
  10. ^ Nancy L. Cohen (2012). Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America. Counterpoint Press. pp. 37–38.  
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "D Primaries Race – Mar 07, 1972". US President. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  12. ^ "D Primary Race – Mar 21, 1972". IL US President. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ "More Muskie Support". New York Times. January 15, 1972. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  14. ^ a b "Stephen M. Young". Candidate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b "Gertrude W. Donahey". Candidate. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  16. ^ "D Primary Race – May 2, 1972". OH US President. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  17. ^ Life So Far: A Memoir – Google Books. Books.google.com. August 1, 2006.  
  18. ^ "POV – Chisholm '72 . Video: Gloria Steinem reflects on Chisholm's legacy". PBS. Retrieved May 28, 2010. 
  19. ^ Terry Sanford: politics, progress ... – Google Books. Books.google.com. 1999.  
  20. ^ "D Convention Race – Jul 10, 1972". US President. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  21. ^ """All Politics: CNN Time. "All The Votes...Really. Cnn.com. Retrieved May 28, 2010. 
  22. ^ Garofoli, Joe (March 26, 2008). "Obama bounces back – speech seemed to help". Sfgate.com. Retrieved May 28, 2010. 
  23. ^ McGovern, George S., Grassroots: The Autobiography of George McGovern, New York: Random House, 1977, pp. 214-215
  24. ^ McGovern, George S., Terry: My Daughter's Life-and-Death Struggle with Alcoholism, New York: Random House, 1996, pp. 97
  25. ^ Marano, Richard Michael, Vote Your Conscience: The Last Campaign of George McGovern, Praeger Publishers, 2003, pp. 7
  26. ^ The Washington Post, "George McGovern & the Coldest Plunge", Paul Hendrickson, September 28, 1983
  27. ^ The New York Times, "'Trashing' Candidates" (op-ed), George McGovern, May 11, 1983
  28. ^ http://www.primarynewhampshire.com/new-hampshire-primary-past-results.php
  29. ^ "R Primaries Race – Mar 07, 1972". US President. Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  30. ^ a b  
  31. ^ a b "Libertarians trying to escape obscurity".  
  32. ^ Walker, Jesse (July 2008). "The Age of Nixon: Rick Perlstein on the left, the right, the '60s, and the illusion of consensus". Reason. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ "1972 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b c  

References

See also

As part of the continuing investigation in 1974–75, Watergate scandal prosecutors offered companies that had given illegal campaign contributions to Nixon's re-election campaign lenient sentences if they came forward.[34] Many companies complied, including Northrop Grumman, 3M, American Airlines and Braniff Airlines.[34] By 1976, prosecutors had convicted 18 American corporations of contributing illegally to Nixon's campaign.[34]

Corporate campaign contributions

On June 17, five months before election day, five men broke into the Democratic National Convention headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C.; the resulting investigation led to the revelation of attempted cover-ups within the Nixon administration. Known as the Watergate scandal, the exposed corruption cost Nixon public and political support, and he resigned on August 9, 1974, in the face of probable impeachment charges by Congress.

Watergate

Scandals

States where margin of victory was more than 5 percentage points, but less than 10 percentage points (43 electoral votes):

Close states

Richard Nixon
Republican
George McGovern
Democratic
John Schmitz
American Independent
Margin State Total
State electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % electoral
votes
# % #
Alabama 9 728,701 72.43 9 256,923 25.54 - 11,918 1.18 - 471,778 46.89 1,006,093 AL
Alaska 3 55,349 58.13 3 32,967 34.62 - 6,903 7.25 - 22,382 23.51 95,219 AK
Arizona 6 402,812 61.64 6 198,540 30.38 - 21,208 3.25 - 204,272 31.26 653,505 AZ
Arkansas 6 445,751 68.82 6 198,899 30.71 - 3,016 0.47 - 246,852 38.11 647,666 AR
California 45 4,602,096 55.00 45 3,475,847 41.54 - 232,554 2.78 - 1,126,249 13.46 8,367,862 CA
Colorado 7 597,189 62.61 7 329,980 34.59 - 17,269 1.81 - 267,209 28.01 953,884 CO
Connecticut 8 810,763 58.57 8 555,498 40.13 - 17,239 1.25 - 255,265 18.44 1,384,277 CT
Delaware 3 140,357 59.60 3 92,283 39.18 - 2,638 1.12 - 48,074 20.41 235,516 DE
D.C. 3 35,226 21.56 - 127,627 78.10 3 - - - -92,401 -56.54 163,421 DC
Florida 17 1,857,759 71.91 17 718,117 27.80 - - - - 1,139,642 44.12 2,583,283 FL
Georgia 12 881,496 75.04 12 289,529 24.65 - 812 0.07 - 591,967 50.39 1,174,772 GA
Hawaii 4 168,865 62.48 4 101,409 37.52 - - - - 67,456 24.96 270,274 HI
Idaho 4 199,384 64.24 4 80,826 26.04 - 28,869 9.30 - 118,558 38.20 310,379 ID
Illinois 26 2,788,179 59.03 26 1,913,472 40.51 - 2,471 0.05 - 874,707 18.52 4,723,236 IL
Indiana 13 1,405,154 66.11 13 708,568 33.34 - - - - 696,586 32.77 2,125,529 IN
Iowa 8 706,207 57.61 8 496,206 40.48 - 22,056 1.80 - 210,001 17.13 1,225,944 IA
Kansas 7 619,812 67.66 7 270,287 29.50 - 21,808 2.38 - 349,525 38.15 916,095 KS
Kentucky 9 676,446 63.37 9 371,159 34.77 - 17,627 1.65 - 305,287 28.60 1,067,499 KY
Louisiana 10 686,852 65.32 10 298,142 28.35 - 52,099 4.95 - 388,710 36.97 1,051,491 LA
Maine 4 256,458 61.46 4 160,584 38.48 - 117 0.03 - 95,874 22.98 417,271 ME
Maryland 10 829,305 61.26 10 505,781 37.36 - 18,726 1.38 - 323,524 23.90 1,353,812 MD
Massachusetts 14 1,112,078 45.23 - 1,332,540 54.20 14 2,877 0.12 - -220,462 -8.97 2,458,756 MA
Michigan 21 1,961,721 56.20 21 1,459,435 41.81 - 63,321 1.81 - 502,286 14.39 3,490,325 MI
Minnesota 10 898,269 51.58 10 802,346 46.07 - 31,407 1.80 - 95,923 5.51 1,741,652 MN
Mississippi 7 505,125 78.20 7 126,782 19.63 - 11,598 1.80 - 378,343 58.57 645,963 MS
Missouri 12 1,154,058 62.29 12 698,531 37.71 - - - - 455,527 24.59 1,852,589 MO
Montana 4 183,976 57.93 4 120,197 37.85 - 13,430 4.23 - 63,779 20.08 317,603 MT
Nebraska 5 406,298 70.50 5 169,991 29.50 - - - - 236,307 41.00 576,289 NE
Nevada 3 115,750 63.68 3 66,016 36.32 - - - - 49,734 27.36 181,766 NV
New Hampshire 4 213,724 63.98 4 116,435 34.86 - 3,386 1.01 - 97,289 29.12 334,055 NH
New Jersey 17 1,845,502 61.57 17 1,102,211 36.77 - 34,378 1.15 - 743,291 24.80 2,997,229 NJ
New Mexico 4 235,606 61.05 4 141,084 36.56 - 8,767 2.27 - 94,522 24.49 385,931 NM
New York 41 4,192,778 58.54 41 2,951,084 41.21 - - - - 1,241,694 17.34 7,161,830 NY
North Carolina 13 1,054,889 69.46 13 438,705 28.89 - 25,018 1.65 - 616,184 40.58 1,518,612 NC
North Dakota 3 174,109 62.07 3 100,384 35.79 - 5,646 2.01 - 73,725 26.28 280,514 ND
Ohio 25 2,441,827 59.63 25 1,558,889 38.07 - 80,067 1.96 - 882,938 21.56 4,094,787 OH
Oklahoma 8 759,025 73.70 8 247,147 24.00 - 23,728 2.30 - 511,878 49.70 1,029,900 OK
Oregon 6 486,686 52.45 6 392,760 42.33 - 46,211 4.98 - 93,926 10.12 927,946 OR
Pennsylvania 27 2,714,521 59.11 27 1,796,951 39.13 - 70,593 1.54 - 917,570 19.98 4,592,105 PA
Rhode Island 4 220,383 53.00 4 194,645 46.81 - 25 0.01 - 25,738 6.19 415,808 RI
South Carolina 8 478,427 70.58 8 189,270 27.92 - 10,166 1.50 - 289,157 42.66 677,880 SC
South Dakota 4 166,476 54.15 4 139,945 45.52 - - - - 26,531 8.63 307,415 SD
Tennessee 10 813,147 67.70 10 357,293 29.75 - 30,373 2.53 - 455,854 37.95 1,201,182 TN
Texas 26 2,298,896 66.20 26 1,154,291 33.24 - 7,098 0.20 - 1,144,605 32.96 3,472,714 TX
Utah 4 323,643 67.64 4 126,284 26.39 - 28,549 5.97 - 197,359 41.25 478,476 UT
Vermont 3 117,149 62.66 3 68,174 36.47 - - - - 48,975 26.20 186,947 VT
Virginia 12 988,493 67.84 11 438,887 30.12 - 19,721 1.35 - 549,606 37.72 1,457,019 VA
Washington 9 837,135 56.92 9 568,334 38.64 - 58,906 4.00 - 268,801 18.28 1,470,847 WA
West Virginia 6 484,964 63.61 6 277,435 36.39 - - - - 207,529 27.22 762,399 WV
Wisconsin 11 989,430 53.40 11 810,174 43.72 - 47,525 2.56 - 179,256 9.67 1,852,890 WI
Wyoming 3 100,464 69.01 3 44,358 30.47 - 748 0.51 - 56,106 38.54 145,570 WY
TOTALS: 538 47,168,710 60.67 520 29,173,222 37.52 17 1,100,868 1.42 - 17,995,488 23.15 77,744,027 US
States/districts won by Nixon/Agnew
States/districts won by McGovern/Shriver
[33]

Results by state

Electoral vote
Nixon
  
96.65%
McGovern
  
3.16%
Hospers
  
0.19%
Popular vote
Nixon
  
60.67%
McGovern
  
37.52%
Schmitz
  
1.42%
Others
  
0.4%

(a)A Virginia faithless elector, Roger MacBride, though pledged to vote for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, instead voted for Libertarian candidates John Hospers and Theodora "Tonie" Nathan.[31]
(b)In Arizona, Pima and Yavapai counties had a ballot malfunction that counted many votes for both a major party candidate and Linda Jenness of the Socialist Workers Party. A court ordered that the ballots be counted for both. As a consequence, Jenness received 16% and 8% of the vote in Pima and Yavapai, respectively. 30,579 of her 30,945 Arizona votes are from those two counties. Some sources do not count these votes for Jenness.

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1972 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (August 7, 2005). Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (August 7, 2005). Source (Close States): http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/stats.php?year=1972&f=0&off=0&elect=0 (Retrieved: January 24, 2013).

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Richard Milhous Nixon 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(b) 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(a) Theodora Nathan Oregon 1(a)
Other 28,628 0.04% Other
Total 77,744,027 100% 538 538
Needed to win 270 270

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, a majority of those under 21 voted for Nixon.[32] The 1972 election was the first 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 one. By this time, all the Southern states except Arkansas and Texas had been carried by a Republican in either the previous election or the 1964 election. As a result of this election, Massachusetts was the only state not to be carried by Nixon in any of his three presidential campaigns. As of 2012, this is also the last election where Minnesota was carried by the Republican candidate (Minnesota later being the only state not won by Ronald Reagan in either 1980 or 1984). This election also made Nixon the second former Vice President in American history to be elected and reelected, after Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and 1804.

Nixon's percentage of the popular vote was only slightly 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. The election saw the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election since 1948, with only 55 percent of the electorate voting, perhaps because of voter apathy caused by the foregone conclusion of a Nixon landslide. It was also 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 versus California's 45.

1972 Presidential Election, Results by Congressional District
Election results by county.
  George McGovern

Results

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. He ran a campaign with an aggressive policy of keeping tabs on perceived enemies, and his aides committed the Watergate burglary to steal Democratic Party information during the campaign.

George McGovern speaking at an October 1972 campaign rally
Richard Nixon during an August 1972 campaign stop

Campaign

General election

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.

John Hospers of the newly formed Libertarian Party was on the ballot only in Colorado and Washington and received 3,573 votes, winning no states. However, he did receive one electoral vote from Virginia from a Republican faithless elector (see below). The Libertarian vice-presidential nominee Theodora "Tonie" Nathan became the first woman in U.S. history to receive an electoral vote.[31]

Libertarian nominee John Hospers

The only major 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.

Third parties

Seven members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War were brought on federal charges for conspiring to disrupt the Republican convention.[30] They were acquitted by a federal jury in Gainesville, Florida.[30]

Convention

Primaries popular vote result:[29]

Primary results

Richard Nixon was a popular incumbent president in 1972, as he was credited with achieving détente with the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. Polls showed that Nixon held a strong lead in the Republican primaries. He was challenged by two candidates, liberal Pete McCloskey of California and conservative John Ashbrook of 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%.[28] 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 Angew's base of conservative supporters would be too big of a risk.

Primaries

Candidates gallery

Republican candidates:

Republican nomination

After a week in which six prominent Democrats refused the vice-presidential nomination, Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law to John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, former Ambassador to France and former Director of the Peace Corps, 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.

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.[22] 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.[23][24][25][26][27] 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.

The vice-presidential balloting went on so long that McGovern and Eagleton were forced to make their acceptance speeches at around two in the morning, local time.

With hundreds of delegates angry at McGovern for one reason or another, the vote was chaotic, with at least three other candidates having their names put into nomination and votes scattered over 70 candidates.[21] The eventual winner was Senator Thomas Eagleton.

The vice presidential vote

Results:

Video from the Florida conventions

1972 Democratic National Convention

Edmund Muskie

Hubert Humphrey

George McGovern

George Wallace

  • Former [11]

Shirley Chisholm

Terry Sanford

Henry M. Jackson

  • [20]

Notable endorsements

Primaries popular vote results:[11]

Statewide contest by winner

Primary results

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.

Wallace was shot in an assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer on May 15. Wallace was struck by four bullets and left paralyzed. The day after the assassination attempt, Wallace won the Michigan and Maryland primaries, but the shooting effectively ended his campaign.

On April 25, George McGovern won the Massachusetts primary. Two days later, journalist Robert Novak claimed in a column that a Democratic senator whom he did not name said of McGovern: "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.[9][10]

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.[8]

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. [7]

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