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February 15, 1972

Elections analyst and founder, in 1955, of the Elections Research Center Richard M. Scammon lectured on “Presidential Politics—1972.” The author of America At the Polls: A Handbook of American Presidential Election Statistics, 1920-1964 (1965) and, with Ben Wattenberg, The Real Majority (1970) told his audience that there weren’t for 1972 the sort of “cutting issues” that had characterized the presidential elections of 1964 and 1968 and that, in President Nixon’s re-election bid, “the murky economy will cause murky election results.” Social concerns—crime ecology, busing, student unrest—he said, “as always will be issues…. But in the absence of observable fact, i.e. demonstrations and street riots, those issues will fall by the wayside. Ecology—well good God, who wants dirty water? The only major social issue is busing, and it is a definite, abrasive conflict.”

The Miscellany News

In the election, President Nixon defeated his Democratic opponent, South Dakota Senator George McGovern with 60.67 percent of the popular vote and 96.7 percent of the electoral vote.

The Years