United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1960

United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1960
New Jersey
November 8, 1960

Nominee John F. Kennedy Richard Nixon
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Massachusetts California
Running mate Lyndon B. Johnson Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Electoral vote 16 0
Popular vote 1,385,415 1,363,324
Percentage 50.0% 49.2%

County Results

President before election

Dwight Eisenhower

Elected President

John F. Kennedy

The 1960 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place on November 8, 1960. All 50 states were part of the 1960 United States presidential election. New Jersey voters chose 16 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the President and Vice President.

New Jersey was won by the Democratic nominees, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and his running mate Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Kennedy and Johnson defeated the Republican nominees, Vice President Richard Nixon of California and his running mate Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. of Massachusetts.

Kennedy carried New Jersey with 49.96% of the vote to Nixon's 49.16%, a margin of 0.80%. [1]

Kennedy managed to narrowly win the state despite winning only 7 counties to Nixon's 14. However Kennedy managed to rack up large margins decisively winning some of the most heavily populated counties in the state, while keeping the results very close in those heavily populated counties that he lost.

As the first Roman Catholic nominee, from an urban Irish immigrant background, John Kennedy appealed strongly to working-class Catholics and other urban ethnic immigrant groups, who turned out in record numbers to support him. Thus Kennedy's support base was condensed into mostly heavily populated urban areas.

In urban Hudson County, home to Bayonne, Jersey City, and Hoboken, and part of the New York City area where Kennedy had done very well, Kennedy won countywide by a decisive 60-39 margin. This represented a major shift from 1956, when Republican Dwight Eisenhower had won Hudson County by 20 points.

In Mercer County, home to the state capital of Trenton, Kennedy did even better, winning 61-39.

Essex County, home to Newark, had long been Republican-leaning, voting not only for Eisenhower twice in the 1950s, but also voting GOP 3 times before that for Thomas E. Dewey and Wendell Willkie against Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman in the 1940s. However Kennedy won the heavily populated county by a decisive 55-42 margin, the start of a re-alignment of the county; by the end of the 1960s, Essex County would be the most Democratic county in New Jersey.

Kennedy also won heavily populated Middlesex County by a 58-41 margin. In equally heavily populated Union County, Nixon won, but only by a razor-thin 50-49 margin. In Passaic County, Kennedy won by a 51-45 margin. In Camden County, Kennedy won 55-45.

Nixon was able to keep the race close statewide by winning several fairly populated suburban counties, like Monmouth County and Morris County, along with many rural counties; overall his biggest prize was heavily populated Bergen County, which went to Nixon by a 59-41 margin. Nixon's strongest county by vote share was rural Sussex County, where he received 69% of the vote to Kennedy's 31%. Kennedy's strongest county by vote share was urban Mercer County, where he received 61% of the vote to Nixon's 39%.

New Jersey in this era was usually a swing state with a slight Republican lean. But in 1960, excitement among the many Catholic and other ethnic immigrant communities that populated New Jersey's cities for the historic candidacy of John F. Kennedy led to turnout in record numbers to elect the first Catholic president, thus narrowly delivering the state to Kennedy. As Kennedy eked out a razor-thin victory nationally to win the presidency, New Jersey voted basically how the nation voted. But under the unique circumstances that made Kennedy popular in Northeastern states, New Jersey's results in 1960 made it about .18% more Democratic than the national average.


United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1960
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic John F. Kennedy 1,385,415 49.96% 16
Republican Richard Nixon 1,363,324 49.16% 0
Socialist Workers Farrell Dobbs 11,402 0.41% 0
Conservative J. Bracken Lee 8,708 0.31% 0
Socialist Labor Eric Hass 4,262 0.15% 0
Totals 2,773,111 100.0% 16
Voter Turnout (Voting age/Registered) 71%/90%

See also


  1. "1960 Presidential General Election Results - New Jersey". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
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