Only John Frémont in 1856 lost his home state by a larger margin than Romney out of the 100 major party presidential nominees on the ballot since the formation of the Democratic Party in 1828

mittromney12.jpgAlthough there was little doubt that Barack Obama would carry the deep blue state of Massachusetts this election cycle, Mitt Romney might not have expected to lose his home state quite as badly as he did on Tuesday.

With more than 95 percent of the vote counted in the Bay State, Romney trailed Obama by a 23.4-point margin.

With just 37.5 percent of the vote to his name, Romney barely moved the needle on John McCain’s performance in the state in 2008.

The Arizona U.S. Senator won 36.0 percent of the vote in Massachusetts four years ago – losing by 25.8 points to Obama who notched 61.8 percent of the vote.

Obama netted approximately 61 percent in the state on Tuesday.

And the result was a near-historic blow-out.

A Smart Politics analysis finds the 23-point deficit by Romney in Massachusetts makes his home state performance the second worst in history by any major party presidential nominee since the formation of the Democratic Party in 1828.

The only presidential candidate to suffer a larger home state loss was the first-ever Republican nominee, John Frémont of California.

Frémont received only 18.8 percent of the vote in California in 1856, good for a distant third place behind Democrat James Buchanan and third party candidate and former president Millard Fillmore.

Frémont lost to Buchanan by 29.6 points that cycle.

In addition to Romney and Frémont, the only other major party nominees to lose their home state by double-digits are:

· Democrat James Cox of Ohio in 1920: by 19.9 points to Warren Harding (also from Ohio)
· Democrat Adlai Stevenson of Illinois in 1956: by 19.2 points to Dwight Eisenhower
· Republican Herbert Hoover of Iowa in 1932: by 17.7 points to Franklin Roosevelt
· Republican William Taft of Ohio in 1912: by 14.2 points to Woodrow Wilson
· Democrat Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey in 1916: by 11.7 points to Charles Hughes
· Democrat Alton Parker of New York in 1904: by 10.9 points to Teddy Roosevelt (also from New York)

Progressive nominee Teddy Roosevelt also lost his home state of New York in 1912, by 16.7 points to Woodrow Wilson.

President Obama carried his home state of Illinois in 2012 with 57.1 percent of the vote and 16.2 points over Romney – down from 61.9 percent and a 25.1-point win over John McCain in 2008.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.


  1. Rivka on November 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

    This is hardly surprising. The vast majority of people I knew when I lived in MA – including myself – have had the basic attitude of ‘We were unlucky enough to have lived under Romney in MA. We really don’t want to live under him on a larger scale.’

  2. BruceJ on November 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    At least he can console himself with winning one of his second home states…he DID win in Utah, but lost in California, and New Hampshire, too.

  3. Natty on November 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hey, nice post! But you’re running into a little problem with the issue of “home states”, though. Since we’re comparing to Romney’s loss in Massachusetts, you have to consider the state of residence of the candidate when running, not just state of birth. With that in mind, there are a couple of historic shellackings that you missed:

    Herbert Hoover, though he was more of an international businessman before he became Sec. of Commerce, placed his name in consideration for the presidency from the state of California. He then went on to lose California to Roosevelt by 21% in ’32.

    And John Davis, though he was born in and served as a representative of West Virginia, was actually a resident of New York when he ran against Calvin Coolidge in 1924. He lost New York by a whopping 26.6%, topping even Romney.

    (getting candidates home state info from Wikipedia’s helpful list here)

  4. Eric Ostermeier on November 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Good tidbits, Natty, and, I agree, one could in theory get a little loose with the definition of ‘home state.’

    However, John Davis was born and raised in West Virginia and rose to prominence (and federal political office, the US House) from that state, so historians don’t classify New York as his home.

    The Hoover example is trickier, although his Presidential Library is in Iowa, and that is usually the state most refer to when classifying his home state.

  5. Natty on November 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, totally. It’s a sticky wicket to untangle; why, Romney had 4 home states at minimum! And of course the registration of the candidate is subject to gaming to meet the constitutional requirement, like with Cheney moving back to Wyoming in 99.

  6. Michael on November 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    You know he gets what he deserves. The man changed his views so many times thinking that this is what the people want to hear. The people saw right through it. If he would have won he would have been influenced by all the big rich business men to do what they want.

  7. John S.Henchey on November 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Not surprizing…Romney doesn’t promote Homosexuality…..Obamas ONLY interest.

    • please on November 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      is homosexuality the only sin in the bible or else where.? please tell me where in the bible it says that one sin is greater than the other. all sins are the same in the eyes of God. Romney lied from the minute he wakes up till he wakes up the next day. thou shall not lie is one of the ‘sins’. show me where in any holy book from any culture it says that liars are going to heaven as long as they are not gay. republicans and their fake holiness. that was why they failed even God was against them. God cannot be deceived. they talk about abortion please google about the tea party favorite that taped himself asking his girlfriend to commit abortion. they talk about adultery please google gingrich, they talk about lying please google romney, they talk about stealing but were willing to steal people’s votes. please tell your gay story to some idiot that dont know about the hypocricy of you guys. God is even against you. all your tricks failed.

  8. charles G on November 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Ramney and GOP needs to know anti-women agenda does not run very well. Ban on abortion and defending the planned parent hood not going to work at all.

  9. not surprised on November 13, 2012 at 6:38 am

    i still say that romney did not get get up to the electoral votes they claim he did. i believe what he got was through rigging and voter suppression. romney through my estimation should have gotten only 100 electoral votes, 10% popularity votes and lost his home ‘states’ by at least 70%. i cannot believe anyone wasted their votes on this flip flopper. all my neighbors are republicans at least 20 of them and only 1 voted for romney out of party loyalty but celebrated obama’s win.

  10. tonynoboloney on November 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve not said much about this election and this seems a fairly remote site.

    I’m from Michigan and can remember yet his father as Gov. here. Ol Mitt lost Michigan going down town too. What were the republicans thinking running Romney in the first place? How could anyone ever imagine that a wishy washy Mormon had even a prayer against Obama? Although I voted for him, knowing the travesty BHO will surely turn out to be, I can scarcly contain my disdain. My biggest fear is who gets picked for Supreme Court judges later in this term.

  11. Rogue Elephant on November 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Definitely an insult to Mr. Romney to lose his home state so badly. Did you guys see the article that GQ will be releasing shortly calling Mitt Romney one of the least influential people of 2012? Major ouch…. I guess it just goes to show that when the Republicans nominate such a weak candidate, it’s not going to go well Check it out->

  12. Nikoli Orr on July 1, 2017 at 5:41 am

    “…rose to prominence…” Hm, by that standard, H’s quote-unquote home state is AR, as in not NY (same with Davis in 1924, Eisenhower in ’52, and Nixon in ’68). To no one’s surprise, in 2016 she would go on to lose the Razorback State to T by at least as much as Romney’s 23% to BHO within MA.

Leave a Comment