Countering Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland, RN biographer Conrad Black argues that RN won in 1972 not because he was a good polarizer but because he was a good President:

It is not mentioned that only Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in more daunting circumstances than Nixon. Four years later, he was reelected by 49 states and a plurality of 18 million votes, because he stopped the assassinations, race riots, anti-war riots, skyjackings, inflation, extracted the U.S. from Vietnam without losing the war, opened relations with China, warmed up relations with the U.S.S.R., negotiated and signed the greatest arms control agreement in history, started a Middle East peace process, founded the Environmental Protection Agency, vastly expanded the national parks system, pioneered welfare reform and fiscal decentralization, reduced the crime rate, eliminated the draft, and ended school segregation without recourse to the court-ordered nostrum of transporting millions of schoolchildren all around the cities of America by bus to effect racial balance. He was overwhelmingly reelected because he was an excellent president, not because of dirty tricks and the ineptitude and hypocrisy of his feckless opponent, George McGovern.