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1976 United States presidential election in Tennessee

The 1976 United States presidential election in Tennessee was held on November 2, 1976. The Democratic Party candidate, former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter won the state of Tennessee with 56% of the vote against Republican Party candidate, President Gerald Ford,[1] carrying the state’s ten electoral votes.

United States presidential election in Tennessee, 1976

← 1972 November 2, 1976 1980 →
  JimmyCarterPortrait Gerald Ford, official Presidential photo.jpg
Nominee Jimmy Carter Gerald Ford
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Georgia Michigan
Running mate Walter Mondale Bob Dole
Electoral vote 10 0
Popular vote 825,879 633,969
Percentage 55.94% 42.94%

President before election

Gerald Ford

Elected President

Jimmy Carter

Carter, a native Southerner from neighboring Georgia, carried Tennessee with a 13% margin of victory against incumbent Ford. The Watergate scandal had severely damaged Ford's predecessor, Richard Nixon, who had resigned in 1974 as a result, and the Republican Party as a whole. The relatively unknown Carter campaigned as a Washington outsider free of the corruption of Watergate, and thus appealed to many voters in the country, including Tennessee.

As was normal during this era, Carter carried Western Tennessee and Middle Tennessee, the most Democratic regions in the state, by landslide margins, which included the major cities of Memphis and Nashville, the state capital. Carter even made inroads in traditionally Republican East Tennessee, though Ford kept the region in his column with his wins in the major cities of Chattanooga and Knoxville. Carter even outperformed by 0.44% Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 result during that President’s national landslide.

This was the first occasion since Oklahoma became a state in 1907 that Tennessee and Oklahoma produced a different popular vote winner, an occurrence replicated only in 1992 and 1996. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last presidential election in which the Democratic candidate won Tennessee with a majority of the popular vote. Bill Clinton would carry the state in both his 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, though with pluralities, even with Tennessee native Al Gore on the tickets. This is also the last election in which Williamson County, Sullivan County, Madison County, Hamblen County, Cumberland County, McMinn County, Loudon County, Monroe County, Rhea County, and Chester County voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate.[2]


Electoral Results
Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote
Jimmy Carter Democratic Georgia 825,879 55.94% 10 Walter Mondale Minnesota 10
Gerald Ford Republican Michigan 633,969 42.94% 0 Bob Dole Kansas 0
Thomas J. Anderson Independent Tennessee 5,769 0.39% 0 Rufus Shackelford Florida 0
Eugene McCarthy Independent Minnesota 5,004 0.34% 0 0
Lester Maddox Independent Georgia 2,303 0.16% 0 William Dyke Wisconsin 0
Roger MacBride Independent Virginia 1,375 0.09% 0 David Bergland California 0
Gus Hall Independent New York 547 0.04% 0 Jarvis Tyner New York 0
Lyndon LaRouche Independent New York 512 0.03% 0 R. Wayne Evans Michigan 0
Benjamin Bubar Independent Maine 442 0.03% 0 Earl Dodge Colorado 0
Ernest Miller Independent 316 0.02% 0 Roy Eddy 0
Write-ins 230 0.02% 0 0
Total 1,476,346 100% 10 10
Needed to win 270 270


  1. ^ "1976 Presidential General Election Results - Tennessee". Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016