1976 United States presidential election (Nixon's The One!)

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1976 United States presidential election

← 1972 November 2, 1976 1980 →

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 53.5% Decrease 1.7 pp

 
Nominee John Connally Robert Taft Jr.
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Texas Ohio
Running mate Jesse Unruh Paula Hawkins
Electoral vote 341 197
States carried 25 + DC 25
Popular vote 42,199,458 35,015,909
Percentage 54.3% 45.0%

Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Connaly/Unruh, red denotes those won by Taft/Kirk. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

John Connally
Democratic

Elected President

John Connally
Democratic

The 1976 United States presidential election was the 48th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 1976. Incumbent Democrat President John Connally of Texas defeated Republican Governor Robert Taft Jr. from Ohio. Connally became the first president representing a southern state from the former Confederacy elected to the presidency since the civil war, and the first hailing from Texas.

President Hubert Humphrey won two successive terms in 1968 and 1972, however a diagnosis of bladder cancer and his deteriorating health pushed him to resign in 1975. John Connally, then Vice President, assumed the presidency on March 21, 1975. Connally faced opposition in the Democratic primary from the progressive wing of the party, namely from former Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. However, with the official backing of the party and his commitment to former President Humphrey's policies, McCarthy only won two low-turnout contests against Connally. Connally selected California Governor Jesse Unruh as his running mate. The Republican primary was crowded, featuring candidates such as former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Virginia Governor Lin Holton. Because of the crowded field, Ohio Governor Robert Taft Jr. (grandson of President William Howard Taft) soon emerged as the front-runner, relying on the south and Midwest for victory. To balance his conservative views, Taft made the surprising choice of freshman Senator Paula Hawkins of Florida as his running mate.

Connally managed to win election to a full term, taking 341 electoral votes to Taft's 197. The Taft/Hawkins ticket was not able to overcome concerns regarding their lack of experience when compared to the Connally/Unruh ticket. This was also the first election since 1956 where all electoral votes were cast for either the Democratic or Republican candidates. This was also the first time since 1944 where the bellwether state of Ohio voted for the losing candidate.