The United States presidential election of 1964 was the 45th quadrennial
presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 3, 1964.
Democratic candidate and incumbent
Lyndon B. Johnson had come to office less than a year earlier following the
assassination of his predecessor
John F. Kennedy. Johnson, who had successfully associated himself with Kennedy’s popularity, won 61.1% of the popular vote, the highest win by a candidate since
James Monroe’s re-election in
1820. It was the most lopsided US presidential election in terms of popular votes, and the
tenth-most lopsided presidential election in the history of the
[nb 1] in terms of electoral votes. No candidate for president since has equalled or surpassed Johnson’s percentage of the popular vote, and since 1820, only
Abraham Lincoln in
Franklin D. Roosevelt in
Richard Nixon in
Ronald Reagan in
1984 have won by a greater electoral vote margin.
Barry Goldwater of
Arizona, suffered from a lack of support from his own party and his deeply unpopular political positions. Johnson’s campaign advocated a series of anti-poverty programs collectively known as the
Great Society, and successfully portrayed Goldwater as being a dangerous extremist. Johnson easily won the Presidency, carrying 44 of the 50 states and the
District of Columbia, which
voted for the first time in this election. Goldwater carried the remaining six states in what would be the first election to see a total of fifty states carried by presidential candidates.
Goldwater’s unsuccessful bid influenced the
modern conservative movement and the long-time realignment within the Republican Party, which culminated in the
1980 presidential victory of
Ronald Reagan. His campaign received considerable support from former Democratic strongholds in the
Deep South and was the first Republican campaign to win
Georgia in a presidential election. Conversely, Johnson won
Alaska for the Democrats for the first (and only) time, as well as
Maine (for the first time since
Vermont (for the first time since the Democratic Party was founded). Since
1992, Vermont has rested solidly in the Democratic column for presidential elections, and Maine was so until
2016, while Georgia has remained in the Republican presidential fold since
No post-1964 Democratic presidential candidate has been able to match or better Johnson’s performance in the
electoral college (the only candidates to do so since have been Nixon in
Ronald Reagan in
1984, both of whom were Republicans and won all but one state and the District of Columbia), or Johnson’s performance in the
Midwestern regions of the United States.
As of 2017, this is the last time
Nebraska (At-large, excluding 2nd congressional district),
Wyoming voted for the
Democratic candidate. This is also the most recent presidential election when a Democrat broke at least 400 electoral votes.