United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 1960. The Republican Party nominated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon, while the Democratic Party nominated John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. The incumbent President, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible for re-election after being elected the maximum two times allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment; he was the first President affected by that amendment. This was the first presidential election in which voters in Alaska and Hawaii were able to participate, as both had become states in 1959.Kennedy received 112,827 (0.17%) more votes than Nixon nationwide and although Nixon won the popular vote contest in more individual states (26 to 22), the electoral votes held by those various states, when cast, gave Kennedy an Electoral College victory of 303 to 219. Nixon was the first candidate in American presidential electoral history to lose an election despite carrying a majority of the states.The 1960 presidential election was the closest election since 1916, which can be explained by a number of factors. Kennedy benefitted from the economic recession, which hurt the standing of the incumbent Republican Party, and he had the advantage of 17 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Furthermore, the new votes that Kennedy gained among Catholics almost neutralized the new votes Nixon gained among Protestants. Kennedy's campaigning skills decisively outmatched Nixon's. In the end, Nixon's emphasis on his experience carried little weight, and he wasted energy by campaigning in all 50 states instead of concentrating on the swing states. Kennedy used his large, well-funded campaign organization to win the nomination, secure endorsements, and, with the aid of the last of the big-city bosses, get out the vote in the big cities. He relied on running mate Lyndon B. Johnson to hold the South, and used television effectively.This election is notable as being the first presidential election in which both major party candidates were born in the 20th century. It was also the first one in which two incumbent U.S. senators (Kennedy and Johnson) were elected as President and Vice President, a phenomenon that was repeated by Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2008. In both instances, the President-elect was the younger of the two and also the junior senator from his state.It was also the first presidential election since 1860 that the Vice President was a presidential nominee.