The 1960 U.S. presidential election was the closest presidential election since 1916. Both Alaska and Hawaii became states during this election cycle and were able to participate in the presidential election for the first time. The 1960 election was the end of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s two terms as president, in which his Vice President, Richard Nixon, ran as the Republican candidates. The Democratic candidate was Senator John F. Kennedy.
Some major topics of each candidate’s campaign included issues such as USSR power and keeping up in the space race. Nixon emphasized that he would carry the policies of the Eisenhower administration throughout his presidency, as well as improve them in areas such as defense, foreign aid, and welfare programs. Kennedy focused on the need for more rapid economic growth as well as needing new programs to death with unemployment. There were four television decades between the two presidential nominees during the campaign, which were believed to play a large role in Kennedy’s victory. It’s said that while Nixon was shown to have a mastery of the issues presented in the debates, Kennedy’s calm, confident, and handsome appearance benefited greatly from the televised debates.
John F. Kennedy won the following state in the 1960 presidential election:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Richard Nixon won the following states in the 1960 presidential election:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
John F. Kennedy won the election very narrowly to become the 35th President of the United States. The popular vote finished 34,227,096 for President Kennedy to 34,107,656 for Richard Nixon, a margin of just 117,000 votes. Because of voting discrepancies in Illinois and Texas caused many people to question whether or not Kennedy won the two states fairly. Despite this, Richard Nixon did not contest the results and stated that by him causing a large issue over suspicions of voter fraud did not let the United States set a good example for other countries who were trying to put free elections into effect. Both critics and supporters praised him for how he handled the situation.
President Kennedy received 303 electoral votes, Richard Nixon received 219, and Harry F. Byrd received 15 electoral votes. Senator Byrd was a Democrat from Virginia; however, he was not a candidate and was not on the ballot. He received eight votes in Mississippi, six votes in Alabama, and one vote in Oklahoma. John F. Kennedy became the 35th president, winning 49.7% to Nixon’s 49.5%. President Kennedy became the first Catholic president to be elected and was also the youngest person to be elected president. President Kennedy was 43 years old at his inauguration.