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United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1912

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Title: United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1912  
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Subject: United States presidential election, 1912, Massachusetts general election, 1960, Massachusetts general election, 1962, Massachusetts general election, 1964, Massachusetts general election, 1966
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United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1912

United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1912

November 5, 1912

Nominee Woodrow Wilson William H. Taft Theodore Roosevelt
Party Democratic Republican Progressive
Home state New Jersey Ohio New York
Running mate Thomas R. Marshall Nicholas M. Butler
(replacing James S. Sherman)
Hiram Johnson
Electoral vote 18 0 0
Popular vote 173,408 155,948 142,228
Percentage 35.53% 31.95% 29.14%

County Results

President before election

William Howard Taft

Elected President

Woodrow Wilson

The 1912 United States presidential election in Massachusetts took place on November 5, 1912 as part of the 1912 United States presidential election, which was held throughout all contemporary 48 states. Voters chose 18 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Massachusetts was won by the Democratic nominees, New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson and his running mate, Indiana Governor Thomas R. Marshall. Opposing him were the Republican nominees, incumbent President William Howard Taft and Vice President James S. Sherman, and the Progressive Party candidates, former President Theodore Roosevelt and his running mate California Governor Hiram Johnson. Also in the running was the Socialist Party candidate, Eugene V. Debs, who ran with Emil Seidel.

Wilson won Massachusetts with a plurality of 35.53% of the vote, Taft came in second with 31.95%, and Roosevelt came in third with 29.14%, Wilson's margin over Taft being 3.58%. Debs came in fourth with 2.58%. In terms of margin, Massachusetts was about 11% more Republican than the national average.

Massachusetts had long been a typical Yankee Republican bastion in the wake of the Civil War, having voted Republican in every election from 1856 through 1908. However in 1912, former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt decided to run as a third party candidate with his Bull Moose Party against incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft, splitting the Republican vote and allowing Woodrow Wilson as the Democratic candidate to win Massachusetts with a plurality of only 35.53% of the vote. Were Taft and Roosevelt voters united behind a single Republican candidate, they would have taken a combined majority of over 61% of the vote. But the split would instead prove fatal to the Republicans both nationally and in Massachusetts.

Thus 1912 marked the first time in history that Massachusetts had ever given its electoral votes to a Democratic presidential candidate.

Theodore Roosevelt finished strong for a third party candidate with 29.14% of the vote, about 2% more than he received nationally, although Massachusetts was not amongst his strongest states. The state's traditional Republican voters proved to be mostly loyal to President Taft as the official Republican nominee. While Roosevelt came in second place nationally ahead of Taft, in Massachusetts, Taft beat Roosevelt and finished second behind Wilson.

Taft carried the most counties in Massachusetts, winning 6 of the state's 14 counties, while Wilson and Roosevelt each took 4. Taft's support was strongest in Western and Central Massachusetts, his most significant win being Worcester County, where he won with over 40% of the vote. Roosevelt was strongest in the southeast part of the state, his overall most significant win being Plymouth County, where he won with over 40% of the vote. Roosevelt's most populous county win was Norfolk County, although he only won it with a plurality of less than 40% of the vote.

However Wilson was able to edge them out statewide by holding on to the Democratic base of support in the cities. Wilson's most important county victory by far was winning Suffolk County, home to the state's capital and largest city, Boston, winning it with over 40% of the vote. Hampden County, home to the city of Springfield, provided Wilson another key win, although with a plurality of less than 40% of the vote. Wilson also won heavily populated Middlesex County with a plurality of less than 40% of the vote. Middlesex County would not vote Democratic again until 1948.

While, due to vote-splitting, Massachusetts finally voted Democratic for the first time ever in 1912, this was not indicative of any long-term trend at the time. With the Republican base re-united in 1916, Massachusetts returned to the Republican column, and remained solidly Republican until 1928.


United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1912[1]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Woodrow Wilson 173,408 35.53% 18
Republican William Howard Taft 155,948 31.95% 0
Progressive Theodore Roosevelt 142,228 29.14% 0
Socialist Eugene V. Debs 12,616 2.58% 0
Prohibition Eugene W. Chafin 2,754 0.56% 0
Socialist Labor Arthur E. Reimer 1,102 0.23% 0
Write-ins Write-ins 1 0.00% 0
Totals 488,057 100.00% 18


  1. ^

See also

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