With the trust issue front and centre, and with the long held perception of many Americans of President Nixon still as "Tricky Dick," and with the beginnings of possibly a future scandal brewing in the nature of the Watergate break in, Senator Hughes is able to turn the election into a real contest.
With Governor Terry Sanford as his running mate, the Democrats are able to cut into the Republican leads in the south, however, not enough to win a southern state.
On the Republican side, many Americans are still wary of Spiro Agnew as Vice President, and the possibility of him becoming President in the event this becomes necessary.
Hughes scores well in strong Democratic territory in the northeast, in traditionally Democratic strongholds of Maryland and West Virginia, and of course, DC. He also does very well in winning Illinois, and the upper midwest, and wins the upper west coast states of Oregon and Washington, and wins Hawaii.
In the end, however, President Nixon is able to parlay his time in office as President into a comfortable win, playing on his strengths on the world stage, and on continuing the reforms he had begun during his first term.
Nixon/Agnew 313 53%
Hughes/Sanford 225 47%