1972 United States presidential election (Nixon's The One!)

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1972 United States presidential election

← 1968 November 7, 1972 1976 →

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 55.2% Decrease 5.7 pp

 
Nominee Hubert Humphrey Howard Baker
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Minnesota Tennessee
Running mate John Connally William T. Cahill
Electoral vote 381 156
States carried 26 + DC 24
Popular vote 42,199,458 35,015,909
Percentage 54.3% 45.0%

Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Humphrey/Connally, red denotes those won by Baker/Volpe. Gold denotes the electoral vote for Hospers/Nathan by a Virginia faithless elector. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Hubert Humphrey
Democratic

Elected President

Hubert Humphrey
Democratic

The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1972. Incumbent Democratic President Hubert Humphrey from Minnesota defeated the Republican nominee, Tennessee Senator Howard Baker. It was the first time when California had more electoral votes than New York.

Humphrey brushed off a primary challenge from conservative southern congressman John Rarick of Louisiana and faced no serious threat to renomination. Baker gained support from both liberal and conservative Republicans, running as a fiscal conservative and a moderate on social issues. He placed first in the Republican primary, with Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater finishing in a distance second. Baker selected New Jersey Governor and former congressman William T. Cahill, hoping to balance appeal in both the north and south.

President Humphrey's National Health Insurance program was a central issue of the campaign, with both campaigns focusing on it. Humphrey touted the NHI as a major achievement, while Baker attacked it as an example of tax and spend politics. Civil rights remained an issue of the campaign, though not nearly as major as it had been in the previous two cycles. Desegregation busing, however, did become a major issue for both campaigns, with Humphrey supporting it and Baker opposing it. The Humphrey campaign took a cautious approach to busing, hoping to win back southerners who had backed George Wallace and Faubus and opposed busing, while also maintaining their strength with northern African American voters who supported it. Baker criticized the program as creating more racial tension and called it the "wrong way of reaching racial harmony" in multiple interviews. Despite opposing views on the issue of busing, both candidates were seen as supportive of civil rights by a large majority of the public.

Humphrey won reelection by a sound margin, taking 381 electoral votes and 26 states plus Washington, D.C.. He managed to flip back many southern states that had voted for Orval Faubus or Paul Bagwell in the previous election, however Baker became the first Republican since Reconstruction to win Mississippi, largely attributed to the state's sizeable black population.

Humphrey would resign the presidency three years later due to his worsening bladder cancer, and would be succeeded by Vice President John Connally.