On 25 Jan 1972, the winner was "undecided" as Democrats sought a candidate to best Richard Nixon. The tally: uncommitted 36%; Sen. Ed Muskie (ME), 35.5%; and Sen. George McGovern (SD), 23%. McGovern went on to win the nomination, but Nixon took the election, with 520 electoral votes to 17.
On 19 Jan 1976, the winner was again "undecided." In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Iowa Democrats (and much of America) were focused on change. The candidate riding that wave was ex-Gov. Jimmy Carter (GA). The tally: uncommitted 37%; Carter 28%; Sen. Birch Bayh (IL), 13%; ex-Sen. Fred Harris (OK), 10%; Rep. Mo Udall (AZ), 6%; Sargent Shriver, 3%. President Ford did not campaign; ex-Gov. Ronald Reagan (CA) made only one stop. Carter went on to take the nomination and the election, 297 electoral votes to President Fordís 240.
On 21 Jan 1980, Republican George Bush (TX) took 1976 VP nominee Ronald Reagan (CA) by surprise: Bush 32%, Reagan 29.5%. Other Republican contenders: Sen. Howard Baker (TN), 15%; ex-Gov. John Connally (TX), 9%; Rep. Phil Crane (IL), 7%; Rep. John Anderson (IL), 4%; Sen. Bob Dole (KS), 1.5%. On the Democratic side, President Carter took 59%; Sen. Ted Kennedy (MA) had 31% with only 10% uncommitted. Reagan went on to take the nomination and the election, 489 electoral votes to 49.