Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

U.S. presidential election, 1972

Presidential CandidateElectoral Vote Popular Vote Pct Party Running Mate
(Electoral Votes)
Richard M. Nixon of California (W) 520 46,740,323 60.7% Republican Spiro T. Agnew of Maryland (520)
George McGovern of South Dakota 17 28,901,598 37.5% Democrat R. Sargent Shriver of Maryland (17)
John Hospers of California 1 3,676 0.0% Libertarian Theodora Nathan of Oregon (1)
Other 0 1,374,584 1.8%
Total 538 77,718,514 100.0%
Other elections: 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984
Source: U.S. Office of the Federal Register

George McGovern ran on a platform of ending the Vietnam War and instituting guaranteed minimum incomes for the nation's poor. Between difficulties with his running-mate, Thomas Eagleton (who he eventually dropped and replaced with Sargent Shriver), and the Republicans' successful campaign to paint him as unacceptably radical, he suffered a landslide defeat of 61%-38% to sitting President Richard Nixon. The Watergate burglary to steal Democratic Party information during the election laid the seeds for Nixon's later downfall.

Conservative congressman John G. Schmitz of the American Party was on the ballot in 32 states and received 1,099,482 popular votes.

John Hospers of the newly formed Libertarian Party was on the ballot only in Colorado and Washington and received only 3,673 popular votes. However, he was given one electoral vote by Republican delegate Roger MacBride. This election had the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election since 1948, with only 55 percent of the electorate voting.

Spiro T. Agnew resigned as Vice-President October 10, 1973, over fallout from the Watergate burglary. He was the first Vice-President of the United States to resign; He was succeeded by Gerald R. Ford, the first Vice President to be appointed without a national election.

Richard M. Nixon resigned as President August 9, 1974, under threat of impeachment, also over fallout from the Watergate burglary. He was succeeded by Gerald R. Ford, who appointed Nelson A. Rockefeller his Vice-President.


See also: President of the United States, U.S. presidential election, 1972, History of the United States (1964-1980)