1972 United States presidential election in Massachusetts Information

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United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1972

←  1968 November 7, 1972 1976 →
Turnout68.7% [1] Increase 2.3 pp
  George McGovern bioguide.jpg Richard M. Nixon, ca. 1935 - 1982 - NARA - 530679.jpg
Nominee George McGovern Richard Nixon
Party Democratic Republican
Home state South Dakota California
Running mate Sargent Shriver Spiro Agnew
Electoral vote 14 0
Popular vote 1,332,540 1,112,078
Percentage 54.2% 45.2%

Massachusetts Election Results by County, 1972.svg
County Results
  McGovern – 60–70%
  McGovern – 50–60%
  Nixon – 50–60%
  Nixon – 60–70%

President before election

Richard Nixon

Elected President

Richard Nixon

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 percentage points.

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 nine-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, Nixon took neighboring Rhode Island by six points, even though it normally voted similarly to Massachusetts. J. Anthony Lukas noted that many New Yorkers felt that Ted Kennedy's outsize money and influence in Massachusetts played a major role in keeping the state in the Democratic column, summing up this explanation simply as "Teddy did it". [2]

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; voters in Suffolk County, where Boston is located, cast 66 percent of the vote for McGovern. 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 won narrow popular and electoral victories nationally, he carried Suffolk County with only 61%. On the other hand, this election remains the last time Dukes County, which had never voted Democratic before Lyndon B. Johnson’s landslide in 1964, [3] has voted Republican. [4]

The results in 1972 made Massachusetts the only state which Richard Nixon never carried in any of his three presidential campaigns. It voted for its native son John F. Kennedy when he defeated Nixon in 1960, and Hubert Humphrey when he lost to Nixon in 1968.


United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1972 [5]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic George McGovern 1,332,540 54.20% 14
Republican Richard Nixon 1,112,078 45.23% 0
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
Totals 2,458,756 100.00% 14
Voter Turnout (Voting age/Registered) 62%/79%

Results by municipality

Results by town. Blue indicates towns carried by George McGovern, red indicates counties carried by Richard Nixon.

Bumper sticker

Famous "Don't blame me! I'm from Massachusetts" bumper sticker.

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 other 49 states not to "blame them" for Nixon's election, as Massachusetts was the only state that voted against Nixon's re-election. [6]

See also


  1. ^ REPORT NUMBER P20-253, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1972, table 3
  2. ^ Lukas, J. Anthony (1973-01-14). "As Massachusetts went—". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard; Dukes County, Massachusetts
  4. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  5. ^ "1972 Presidential General Election Results - Massachusetts". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  6. ^ Kahn, Joseph P. (October 23, 2012). "George McGovern's indelible mark on Massachusetts politics". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 31, 2015.

See also