1944 United States presidential election

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1944 United States presidential election
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg
  1940 November 7, 1944 1948  

531 members of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout55.9% [1] Decrease2.svg 6.6 pp
  1944 portrait of FDR (1)(small).jpg Thomas Dewey.jpg
Nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt Thomas E. Dewey
Party Democratic Republican
Home state New York New York
Running mate Harry S. Truman John W. Bricker
Electoral vote43299
States carried3612
Popular vote25,612,91622,017,929
Percentage53.4%45.9%

ElectoralCollege1944.svg
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes those won by Roosevelt/Truman, red denotes states won by Dewey/Bricker. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic

Elected President

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic

The 1944 United States presidential election was the 40th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 7, 1944. The election took place during World War II. Incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican Thomas E. Dewey to win an unprecedented fourth term. Until 1996, this would be the last time in which an incumbent Democratic president would win re-election after serving a full term in office.

Contents

Roosevelt had become the first president to win a third term with his victory in the 1940 presidential election, and there was little doubt that he would seek a fourth term. Unlike in 1940, Roosevelt faced little opposition within his own party, and he easily won the presidential nomination of the 1944 Democratic National Convention. Concerned that Roosevelt's ill-health would mean the Vice President would likely become President, the convention dropped Roosevelt's running mate Henry A. Wallace in favor of Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri. [2] Governor Dewey of New York emerged as the front-runner for the Republican nomination after his victory in the Wisconsin primary, and he defeated conservative Governor John W. Bricker at the 1944 Republican National Convention.

As World War II was going well for the United States and its Allies, Roosevelt remained popular despite his long tenure. Dewey campaigned against the New Deal and for a smaller government, but was ultimately unsuccessful in convincing the country to change course. The election was closer than Roosevelt's other presidential campaigns, but Roosevelt still won by a comfortable margin in the popular vote and by a wide margin in the Electoral College. Rumors of Roosevelt's ill health, though somewhat dispelled by his vigorous campaigning, proved to be prescient; Roosevelt died less than three months into his fourth term and was succeeded by Truman.

As of 2021, this is the most recent presidential election to have a Democrat win every state of the former Confederacy and the entire southern region. In 1976, all Southern states except Oklahoma and Virginia voted for Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter, who was from Georgia.

Nominations

Democratic Party nomination

Roosevelt/Truman poster RooseveltTruman1944poster.jpg
Roosevelt/Truman poster
Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Disc.svg
Democratic Party (United States)
1944 Democratic Party ticket
Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman
for Presidentfor Vice President
1944 portrait of FDR (1)(small).jpg
Harry S. Truman.jpg
32nd
President of the United States
(1933–1945)
U.S. Senator from Missouri
(1935–1945)
Democratic candidates:

President Roosevelt was the popular, wartime incumbent and faced little formal opposition. Although many Southern Democrats mistrusted Roosevelt's racial policies, he brought enormous war activities to the region and the end of its marginal status was in sight. No major figure opposed Roosevelt publicly, and he was re-nominated easily when the Democratic Convention met in Chicago. Some pro-segregationist delegates tried to unite behind Virginia senator Harry F. Byrd, but he refused to campaign actively against Roosevelt, and did not get enough delegates to seriously threaten the President's chances.

The obvious physical decline in the president's appearance, as well as rumors of secret health problems, led many delegates and party leaders to strongly oppose Vice President Henry A. Wallace for a second term. Opposition to Wallace came especially from Catholic leaders in big cities and moderate Democrats. Wallace, who had been Roosevelt's vice president since January 1941, was regarded by most conservatives as being too left-wing and personally eccentric to be next in line for the presidency. He had performed so poorly as economic coordinator that Roosevelt had to remove him from that post. Numerous moderate party leaders privately sent word to Roosevelt that they would fight Wallace's re-nomination as vice president and proposed instead Senator Harry S. Truman, a moderate from Missouri. Truman was highly visible as the chairman of a Senate wartime committee investigating fraud and inefficiency in the war program. Roosevelt, who personally liked Wallace and knew little about Truman, agreed reluctantly to accept Truman as his running mate to preserve party unity. [3] Even so, many delegates on the left refused to abandon Wallace, and they voted for him on the first ballot. [4] However, enough large Northern, Midwestern, and Southern states supported Truman to give him victory on the second ballot. The fight over the vice-presidential nomination proved to be consequential; the ticket won and Roosevelt died in April 1945, and Truman instead of Wallace became the nation's thirty-third President. [5]

Republican Party

Republican Party (United States) Republican Disc.png
Republican Party (United States)
1944 Republican Party ticket
Thomas E. Dewey John W. Bricker
for Presidentfor Vice President
Thomas Dewey.jpg
John W. Bricker cph.3b31299.jpg
47th
Governor of New York
(1943–1954)
54th
Governor of Ohio
(1939–1945)
Republican candidates:

As 1944 began, the frontrunners for the Republican nomination appeared to be Wendell Willkie, the party's 1940 nominee, Senator Robert A. Taft from Ohio, the leader of the party's conservatives, New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the leader of the party's moderate eastern establishment, General Douglas MacArthur, then serving as an Allied commander in the Pacific theater of the war, and former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, then serving as a U.S. naval officer in the Pacific. Taft surprised many by declining to run for president as he wanted to remain in the Senate; instead, he voiced his support for a fellow Ohio conservative, Governor John W. Bricker. [6]

With Taft out of the race some Republican conservatives favored General MacArthur. However, MacArthur's chances were limited by the fact that he was leading Allied forces against Japan, and thus could not campaign for the nomination. His supporters entered his name in the Wisconsin primary nonetheless. The Wisconsin primary proved to be the key contest, as Dewey won by a surprisingly wide margin. He took fourteen delegates to four for Harold Stassen, while MacArthur won the three remaining delegates. Willkie was shut out in the Wisconsin primary; he did not win a single delegate. His unexpectedly poor showing in Wisconsin forced him to withdraw as a candidate for the nomination. However, at the time of his sudden death in early October 1944, Willkie had endorsed neither Dewey nor Roosevelt. At the 1944 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Dewey easily overcame Bricker and was nominated for president on the first ballot. Dewey, a moderate to liberal Republican, chose the conservative Bricker as his running mate. Dewey originally preferred fellow liberal California Governor Earl Warren, but agreed on Bricker to preserve party unity (Warren would go on to run with Dewey in the 1948 election). Bricker was nominated for vice president by acclamation.

General election

Polling

Polling aggregates
Candidates
  Franklin Roosevelt
  Thomas Dewey
  Undecided

Fall campaign

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of blue are for Roosevelt (Democratic), shades of red are for Dewey (Republican), and shades of green are for "No Candidate" (Texas Regulars). PresidentialCounty1944Colorbrewer.gif
Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of blue are for Roosevelt (Democratic), shades of red are for Dewey (Republican), and shades of green are for "No Candidate" (Texas Regulars).

The Republicans campaigned against the New Deal, [11] seeking a smaller government and less-regulated economy as the end of the war seemed in sight. Nonetheless, Roosevelt's continuing popularity was the main theme of the campaign. To quiet rumors of his poor health, Roosevelt insisted on making a vigorous campaign swing in October and rode in an open car through city streets.

Poster from 1944 presidential campaign Independent-Voters-Committee-of-the-Arts-and-Sciences-for-Roosevelt-poster.jpg
Poster from 1944 presidential campaign

A high point of the campaign occurred when Roosevelt, speaking to a meeting of labor union leaders, gave a speech carried on national radio in which he ridiculed Republican claims that his administration was corrupt and wasteful with tax money. [12] He particularly derided a Republican claim that he had sent a US Navy warship to pick up his Scottish Terrier Fala in Alaska, noting that "Fala was furious" at such rumors. [13] The speech was met with loud laughter and applause from the labor leaders. In response, Governor Dewey gave a blistering partisan speech in Oklahoma City a few days later on national radio, in which he accused Roosevelt of being "indispensable" to corrupt big-city Democratic organizations and American Communists; [14] he also referred to members of Roosevelt's cabinet as a "motley crew". However, American battlefield successes in Europe and the Pacific during the campaign, such as the liberation of Paris in August 1944 and the successful Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines in October 1944, made President Roosevelt unbeatable.

Results

Throughout the campaign, Roosevelt led Dewey in all the polls by varying margins. On election day, the Democratic incumbent scored a fairly comfortable victory over his Republican challenger. Roosevelt took 36 states for 432 electoral votes (266 were needed to win), while Dewey won twelve states and 99 electoral votes. In the popular vote, Roosevelt won 25,612,916 (53.4%) votes to Dewey's 22,017,929 (45.9%). Dewey conceded in a radio address the following morning, but declined personally call or send a telegram to President Roosevelt. Roosevelt sent Dewey a telegram reading, "I thank you for your statement, which I heard over the air a few minutes ago." [15] Roosevelt's victory made him the only person ever to win the presidential popular vote four times, and neither party would win the popular vote four consecutive times until the Democrats did so in all four elections from 2008 to 2020.

The important question had been which leader, [16] Roosevelt or Dewey, should be chosen for the critical days of peacemaking and reconstruction following the war's conclusion. Most American voters concluded that they should retain the governing party, and particularly the president who represented it. They also felt it unsafe to do so in "wartime", in view of ever-increasing domestic disagreements.

Dewey did better against Roosevelt than any of Roosevelt's previous three Republican opponents: Roosevelt's percentage and margin of the total vote were both less than in 1940. Dewey also gained the personal satisfaction of finishing ahead of Roosevelt in his hometown of Hyde Park, New York, and ahead of Truman in his hometown of Independence, Missouri. [17] Dewey would again become the Republican presidential nominee in 1948, challenging President Truman (who had assumed that office on FDR's death), and would again lose, though by somewhat smaller popular- and electoral-vote margins.

Of the 3,095 counties/independent cities making returns, Roosevelt won the most popular votes in 1,751 (56.58%) while Dewey carried 1,343 (43.39%). The Texas Regular ticket carried one county (0.03%).

In New York, only the combined support of the American Labor and Liberal parties (pledged to Roosevelt but otherwise independent of the Democrats to maintain their identities) enabled Roosevelt to win the electoral votes of his home state.

In 1944, the constantly growing Southern protest against Roosevelt's leadership became clearest in Texas, where 135,553 people voted against Roosevelt but not for the Republican ticket. The Texas Regular ticket resulted from a split in the Democratic Party in its two state conventions, May 23 and September 12, 1944. This ticket, which represented the Democratic element opposing the re-election of President Roosevelt, called for the "restoration of states' rights which have been destroyed by the Communist New Deal" and "restoration of the supremacy of the white race". [18] Its electors were uninstructed.

As he had in 1940, Roosevelt won re-election with a lower percentage of both the electoral vote and the popular vote than he had received in the prior elections—the second of only three American presidents to do so, preceded by James Madison in 1812 and followed by Barack Obama in 2012. Andrew Jackson in 1832 and Grover Cleveland in 1892 had received more electoral votes but fewer popular votes, while Woodrow Wilson in 1916 had received more popular votes but fewer electoral votes.

This is the last election in which New Hampshire and Oregon voted Democratic until 1964 and the last in which Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania did so until 1960.

Electoral results
Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPercentageVice-presidential candidateHome stateElectoral vote
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Incumbent) Democratic New York 25,612,91653.39%432 Harry S. Truman Missouri 432
Thomas Edmund Dewey Republican New York22,017,92945.89%99 John William Bricker Ohio 99
None Texas Regulars (n/a) 143,2380.30%0 None (n/a) 0
Norman Mattoon Thomas Socialist New York79,0170.16%0 Darlington Hoopes Pennsylvania 0
Claude A. Watson Prohibition California 74,7580.16%0 Andrew Nathan Johnson Kentucky 0
Edward A. Teichert Socialist Labor Pennsylvania45,1880.09%0 Arla Arbaugh Ohio 0
Other11,8160.02%Other
Total47,977,063100%531531
Needed to win266266

Source (Popular Vote):Leip, David. "1944 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved August 1, 2005.Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration . Retrieved August 1, 2005.

Popular vote
Roosevelt
53.39%
Dewey
45.89%
No Candidate
0.28%
Thomas
0.16%
Others
0.28%
Electoral vote
Roosevelt
81.36%
Dewey
18.64%

Geography of results

1944 Electoral Map.png

Results by state

[19]

States/districts won by Roosevelt/Truman
States/districts won by Dewey/Bricker
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic
Thomas E. Dewey
Republican
No Candidate
Southern Democrat/
Texas Regulars
Norman Thomas
Socialist
OtherMarginState total
Stateelectoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %#
Alabama 11198,91881.281144,54018.20----1900.08-1,0950.45-154,37863.08244,743AL
Arizona 480,92658.80456,28740.90-------4210.31-24,63917.90137,634AZ
Arkansas 9148,96569.95963,55129.84----4380.21----85,41440.11212,954AR
California 251,988,56456.48251,512,96542.97----2,5150.07-16,8310.48-475,59913.513,520,875CA
Colorado 6234,33146.40-268,73153.216---1,9770.39-----34,400-6.81505,039CO
Connecticut 8435,14652.308390,52746.94----5,0970.61-1,2200.15-44,6195.36831,990CT
Delaware 368,16654.38356,74745.27----1540.12-2940.23-11,4199.11125,361DE
Florida 8339,37770.328143,21529.68----------196,16240.65482,592FL
Georgia 12268,18781.741259,88018.25----60.00-360.01-208,30763.49328,109GA
Idaho 4107,39951.554100,13748.07----2820.14-5030.24-7,2623.49208,321ID
Illinois 282,079,47951.52281,939,31448.05----1800.00-17,0880.42-140,1653.474,036,061IL
Indiana 13781,40346.73-875,89152.3813---2,2230.13-12,5740.75--94,488-5.651,672,091IN
Iowa 10499,87647.49-547,26751.9910---1,5110.14-3,9450.37--47,391-4.501,052,599IA
Kansas 8287,45839.18-442,09660.258---1,6130.22-2,6090.36--154,638-21.07733,776KS
Kentucky 11472,58954.4511392,44845.22----5350.06-2,3490.27-80,1419.23867,921KY
Louisiana 10281,56480.591067,75019.39-------690.02-213,81461.20349,383LA
Maine 5140,63147.45-155,43452.445------3350.11--14,803-4.99296,400ME
Maryland 8315,49051.858292,94948.15----------22,5413.70608,439MD
Massachusetts 161,035,29652.8016921,35046.99-------4,0190.21-113,9465.811,960,665MA
Michigan 191,106,89950.19191,084,42349.18----4,5980.21-9,3030.42-22,4761.022,205,223MI
Minnesota 11589,86452.4111527,41646.86----5,0730.45-3,1760.28-62,4485.551,125,529MN
Mississippi 9168,47993.56911,6016.44----------156,87887.12180,080MS
Missouri 15807,80451.3715761,52448.43----1,7510.11-1,3950.09-46,2802.941,572,474MO
Montana 4112,55654.28493,16344.93----1,2960.63-3400.16-19,3939.35207,355MT
Nebraska 6233,24641.42-329,88058.586----------96,634-17.16563,126NE
Nevada 329,62354.62324,61145.38----------5,0129.2454,234NV
New Hampshire 4119,66352.114109,91647.87----460.02----9,7474.24229,625NH
New Jersey 16987,87450.3116961,33548.95----3,3580.17-11,1940.57-26,5391.351,963,761NJ
New Mexico 481,38953.47470,68846.44-------1480.10-10,7017.03152,225NM
New York 473,304,23852.31472,987,64747.30----10,5530.17-14,3520.23-316,5915.016,316,790NY
North Carolina 14527,39966.7114263,15533.29----------264,24433.43790,554NC
North Dakota 4100,14445.48-118,53553.844---9430.43-5490.25--18,391-8.35220,171ND
Ohio 251,570,76349.82-1,582,29350.1825----------11,530-0.373,153,056OH
Oklahoma 10401,54955.5710319,42444.20-------1,6630.23-82,12511.36722,636OK
Oregon 6248,63551.786225,36546.94----3,7850.79-2,3620.49-23,2704.85480,147OR
Pennsylvania 351,940,47951.14351,835,05448.36----11,7210.31-7,5390.20-105,4252.783,794,793PA
Rhode Island 4175,35658.594123,48741.26-------4330.14-51,86917.33299,276RI
South Carolina 890,60187.6484,6104.46-7,7997.54----3650.35-82,80280.10103,375SC
South Dakota 496,71141.67-135,36558.334----------38,654-16.66232,076SD
Tennessee 12308,70760.4512200,31139.22----7920.16-8820.17-108,39621.23510,692TN
Texas 23821,60571.4223191,42516.64-135,43911.77-5940.05-1,2680.11-630,18054.781,150,331TX
Utah 4150,08860.44497,89139.42----3400.14----52,19721.02248,319UT
Vermont 353,82042.93-71,52757.063------140.01--17,707-14.12125,361VT
Virginia 11242,27662.3611145,24337.39----4170.11-5490.14-97,03324.98388,485VA
Washington 8486,77456.848361,68942.24----3,8240.45-4,0410.47-125,08514.61856,328WA
West Virginia 8392,77754.898322,81945.11----------69,9589.78715,596WV
Wisconsin 12650,41348.57-674,53250.3712---13,2050.99-1,0020.07--24,119-1.801,339,152WI
Wyoming 349,41948.77-51,92151.233----------2,502-2.47101,340WY
Totals:53125,612,91653.3943222,017,92945.8999143,2380.30-79,0170.16-123,9630.26-3,594,9877.4947,977,063US

Close states

Margin of victory less than 1% (25 electoral votes):

  1. Ohio, 0.37% (11,530 votes)

Margin of victory less than 5% (165 electoral votes):

  1. Michigan, 1.02% (22,476 votes)
  2. New Jersey, 1.35% (26,539 votes)
  3. Wisconsin, 1.80% (24,119 votes)
  4. Wyoming, 2.47% (2,502 votes)
  5. Pennsylvania, 2.78% (105,425 votes)
  6. Missouri, 2.94% (46,280 votes)
  7. Illinois, 3.47% (140,165 votes)
  8. Idaho, 3.49% (7,262 votes)
  9. Maryland, 3.70% (22,541 votes)
  10. New Hampshire, 4.24% (9,747 votes)
  11. Iowa, 4.50% (47,391 votes)
  12. Oregon, 4.85% (23,270 votes)
  13. Maine, 4.99%(14,803 votes)

Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (138 electoral votes):

  1. New York, 5.01% (316,591 votes) (tipping point state)
  2. Connecticut, 5.36% (44,619 votes)
  3. Minnesota, 5.55% (62,448 votes)
  4. Indiana, 5.65% (94,488 votes)
  5. Massachusetts, 5.81% (113,946 votes)
  6. Colorado, 6.81% (34,400 votes)
  7. New Mexico, 7.03% (10,701 votes)
  8. North Dakota, 8.35% (18,391 votes)
  9. Delaware, 9.11% (11,419 votes)
  10. Kentucky, 9.23% (80,141 votes)
  11. Nevada, 9.24% (5,012 votes)
  12. Montana, 9.35% (19,393 votes)
  13. West Virginia, 9.78%(69,958 votes)

Statistics

[19]

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)

  1. Armstrong County, South Dakota 100.00%
  2. Leake County, Mississippi 99.15%
  3. Chesterfield County, South Carolina 98.77%
  4. Taliaferro County, Georgia 98.48%
  5. Barnwell County, South Carolina 98.41%

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)

  1. McIntosh County, North Dakota 91.98%
  2. Jackson County, Kentucky 91.56%
  3. Sevier County, Tennessee 87.24%
  4. Logan County, North Dakota 86.47%
  5. Owsley County, Kentucky 86.11%

See also

Notes

  1. With Henry Wallace
  2. With Douglas MacArthur
  3. With Henry Wallace
  4. With Douglas MacArthur
  5. With Henry Wallace
  6. With Douglas MacArthur
  7. With Henry Wallace
  8. With Douglas MacArthur
  9. With Henry Wallace
  10. With Douglas MacArthur

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References

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  3. Alonzo L. Hamby, Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (1995) ch 17
  4. Miles S. Richards, “The Progressive Democrats in Chicago, July 1944,” South Carolina Historical Magazine, 102 (July 2001), 219–37.
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  8. 1 2 "FORTUNE POLL GIVES EDGE TO ROOSEVELT". timesmachine.nytimes.com.
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  10. "ROOSEVELT GAINS IN FORTUNE'S POLL; Re-election Is Found Favored by 52.5%, Against 43.9% for Governor Dewey". timesmachine.nytimes.com.
  11. Jordan, David M.; FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944, pp. 119 ISBN   0253356830
  12. Nash, Gerald D.; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, p. 66 ISBN   0133305147
  13. Weintraub; Final Victory, pp. 144-149 ISBN   0306821133
  14. Jordan; FDR, Dewey and the Election of 1944, p. 266
  15. "No modern presidential candidate has refused to concede. Here's why that matters". History & Culture. November 8, 2020. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  16. Jordan; FDR, Dewey and the Election of 1944; pp. 111, 214
  17. "Franklin D. Roosevelt: Campaigns and Elections | Miller Center". October 4, 2016.
  18. Cunningham, Sean; Cowboy Conservatism and the Rise of the Modern Right; p. 26 ISBN   081317371X
  19. 1 2 "1944 Presidential General Election Data - National" . Retrieved April 14, 2013.

Further reading

Primary sources