United States presidential election, 1944

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United States presidential election, 1944
United States
1940 ←
November 7, 1944
→ 1948

531 electoral votes of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
  FDRin1942.jpg ThomasDewey.png
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 vote 432 99
States carried 36 12
Popular vote 25,612,916 22,017,929
Percentage 53.4% 45.9%

United States presidential election in Alabama, 1944 United States presidential election in Arizona, 1944 United States presidential election in Arkansas, 1944 United States presidential election in California, 1944 United States presidential election in Colorado, 1944 United States presidential election in Connecticut, 1944 United States presidential election in Delaware, 1944 United States presidential election in Florida, 1944 United States presidential election in Georgia, 1944 United States presidential election in Idaho, 1944 United States presidential election in Illinois, 1944 United States presidential election in Indiana, 1944 United States presidential election in Iowa, 1944 United States presidential election in Kansas, 1944 United States presidential election in Kentucky, 1944 United States presidential election in Louisiana, 1944 United States presidential election in Maine, 1944 United States presidential election in Maryland, 1944 United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1944 United States presidential election in Michigan, 1944 United States presidential election in Minnesota, 1944 United States presidential election in Mississippi, 1944 United States presidential election in Missouri, 1944 United States presidential election in Montana, 1944 United States presidential election in Nebraska, 1944 United States presidential election in Nevada, 1944 United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 1944 United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1944 United States presidential election in New Mexico, 1944 United States presidential election in New York, 1944 United States presidential election in North Carolina, 1944 United States presidential election in North Dakota, 1944 United States presidential election in Ohio, 1944 United States presidential election in Oklahoma, 1944 United States presidential election in Oregon, 1944 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania, 1944 United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 1944 United States presidential election in South Carolina, 1944 United States presidential election in South Dakota, 1944 United States presidential election in Tennessee, 1944 United States presidential election in Texas, 1944 United States presidential election in Utah, 1944 United States presidential election in Vermont, 1944 United States presidential election in Virginia, 1944 United States presidential election in Washington, 1944 United States presidential election in West Virginia, 1944 United States presidential election in Wisconsin, 1944 United States presidential election in Wyoming, 1944 United States presidential election in Delaware, 1944 United States presidential election in Maryland, 1944 United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 1944 United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1944 United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1944 United States presidential election in Connecticut, 1944 United States presidential election in West Virginia, 1944 United States presidential election in Vermont, 1944 United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 1944ElectoralCollege1944.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Dewey/Bricker, Blue denotes those won by Roosevelt/Truman. 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 United States presidential election of 1944 was the 40th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1944. Incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought his fourth term in office; he was challenged by Republican Thomas E. Dewey.

The election was set in the backdrop of World War II, which was going well for the United States and its Allies. Roosevelt had already served longer than any other president, but remained popular. Unlike in 1940, there was little doubt that he would run for another term as the Democratic candidate. Dewey, the Governor of New York, campaigned against the New Deal and for a smaller government, but was ultimately unsuccessful in convincing the country to change course. Rumors of Roosevelt's ill health, though somewhat dispelled by his vigorous campaigning, proved to be prescient; Roosevelt would die and be replaced by his new Vice President, Harry S. Truman, within a half-year of winning re-election.

Nominations[edit]

Republican Party[edit]

Republican candidates:

As 1944 began, the frontrunners for the Republican nomination appeared to be Wendell Willkie, the party's 1940 candidate, Senator Robert Taft of 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 announcing that he was not a candidate; instead, he voiced his support for a fellow conservative, Governor John W. Bricker of Ohio. 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 14 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. At the 1944 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, Dewey easily overcame Bricker and was nominated on the first ballot. In a bid to maintain party unity, Dewey, a moderate, chose the conservative Bricker as his running mate. Bricker was nominated by acclamation.

Democratic Party nomination[edit]

Democratic candidates:

Candidates gallery[edit]

Roosevelt/Truman poster

Roosevelt was a popular, war-time incumbent and faced little formal opposition. Although many Southern Democrats distrusted 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.

The obvious physical decline in the president's appearance, as well as rumors of secret health problems, led many delegates and party leaders to oppose Henry A. Wallace strongly for vice-president. Opposition to Wallace came especially from Catholic leaders in big cities and labor unions. Wallace, who was Roosevelt's second vice-president, 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 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, reluctantly agreed to accept Truman as his vice-presidential candidate to preserve party unity.[1] Even so, many delegates on the left refused to abandon Wallace, and they cast their votes for him on the first ballot. 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; Roosevelt died in April 1945, and Truman became the nation's 33rd President instead of Wallace.[2]

Vice Presidential Ballot
Ballot 1st 2nd Before Shifts 2nd After Shifts
Harry S. Truman 319.5 477.5 1,031
Henry A. Wallace 429.5 473 105
John H. Bankhead 98 23.5 0
Scott W. Lucas 61 58 0
Alben W. Barkley 49.5 40 6
J. Melville Broughton 43 30 0
Paul V. McNutt 31 28 1
Prentice Cooper 26 26 26
Scattering 118.5 20 7

Source: Richard C. Bain & Judith H. Parris, Convention Decisions and Voting Records (Washington DC: The Brookings Institution, 1973), pp. 266–267.

General election[edit]

The Fall Campaign[edit]

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, 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. 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. He particularly ridiculed 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. The speech was met with loud laughter and applause from the labor leaders. In response, Dewey gave a blistering partisan speech in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a few days later on national radio, in which he accused Roosevelt of being "indispensable" to corrupt big-city Democratic organizations and American Communists; 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 Roosevelt unbeatable.

Results[edit]

Throughout the campaign, Roosevelt led Dewey in all the polls by various margins. In the election on November 7, 1944, Roosevelt scored a fairly comfortable victory over Dewey. Roosevelt took 36 states for 432 electoral votes, while Dewey won 12 states and 99 electoral votes (266 were needed to win). In the popular vote Roosevelt won 25,612,916 votes to Dewey's 22,017,929. Dewey did better against Roosevelt than any of Roosevelt's previous three Republican opponents, and he did have the personal satisfaction of beating Roosevelt in his hometown of Hyde Park, New York, and of winning Truman's hometown of Independence, Missouri. Dewey would again be the Republican presidential nominee in 1948 and would again lose, though by a much smaller margin.

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 presidents in US history 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.

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote
Franklin D. Roosevelt Democratic New York 25,612,916 53.39% 432 Harry S. Truman Missouri 432
Thomas E. Dewey Republican New York 22,017,929 45.89% 99 John W. Bricker Ohio 99
(none) Texas Regulars (n/a) 135,439 0.28% 0 (none) (n/a) 0
Norman Thomas Socialist New York 79,017 0.16% 0 Darlington Hoopes Pennsylvania 0
Claude A. Watson Prohibition California 74,758 0.16% 0 Andrew N. Johnson Kentucky 0
Edward A. Teichert Socialist Labor Pennsylvania 45,188 0.09% 0 Arla Arbaugh Ohio 0
Other 11,816 0.02% Other
Total 47,977,063 100% 531 531
Needed to win 266 266

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1944 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (August 1, 2005).Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (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%

Results by state[edit]

[3]

States won by Roosevelt/Truman
States won by Dewey/Bricker
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic
Thomas E. Dewey
Republican
No Candidate
Southern Democrat/
Texas Regulars
Norman Thomas
Socialist
Other Margin State Total
State electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % electoral
votes
#  % #
Alabama 11 198,918 81.28 11 44,540 18.20 - - - - 190 0.08 - 1,095 0.45 - 154,378 63.08 244,743 AL
Arizona 4 80,926 58.80 4 56,287 40.90 - - - - - - - 421 0.31 - 24,639 17.90 137,634 AZ
Arkansas 9 148,965 69.95 9 63,551 29.84 - - - - 438 0.21 - - - - 85,414 40.11 212,954 AR
California 25 1,988,564 56.48 25 1,512,965 42.97 - - - - 2,515 0.07 - 16,831 0.48 - 475,599 13.51 3,520,875 CA
Colorado 6 234,331 46.40 - 268,731 53.21 6 - - - 1,977 0.39 - - - - -34,400 -6.81 505,039 CO
Connecticut 8 435,146 52.30 8 390,527 46.94 - - - - 5,097 0.61 - 1,220 0.15 - 44,619 5.36 831,990 CT
Delaware 3 68,166 54.38 3 56,747 45.27 - - - - 154 0.12 - 294 0.23 - 11,419 9.11 125,361 DE
Florida 8 339,377 70.32 8 143,215 29.68 - - - - - - - - - - 196,162 40.65 482,592 FL
Georgia 12 268,187 81.74 12 59,880 18.25 - - - - 6 0.00 - 36 0.01 - 208,307 63.49 328,109 GA
Idaho 4 107,399 51.55 4 100,137 48.07 - - - - 282 0.14 - 503 0.24 - 7,262 3.49 208,321 ID
Illinois 28 2,079,479 51.52 28 1,939,314 48.05 - - - - 180 0.00 - 17,088 0.42 - 140,165 3.47 4,036,061 IL
Indiana 13 781,403 46.73 - 875,891 52.38 13 - - - 2,223 0.13 - 12,574 0.75 - -94,488 -5.65 1,672,091 IN
Iowa 10 499,876 47.49 - 547,267 51.99 10 - - - 1,511 0.14 - 3,945 0.37 - -47,391 -4.50 1,052,599 IA
Kansas 8 287,458 39.18 - 442,096 60.25 8 - - - 1,613 0.22 - 2,609 0.36 - -154,638 -21.07 733,776 KS
Kentucky 11 472,589 54.45 11 392,448 45.22 - - - - 535 0.06 - 2,349 0.27 - 80,141 9.23 867,921 KY
Louisiana 10 281,564 80.59 10 67,750 19.39 - - - - - - - 69 0.02 - 213,814 61.20 349,383 LA
Maine 5 140,631 47.45 - 155,434 52.44 5 - - - - - - 335 0.11 - -14,803 -4.99 296,400 ME
Maryland 8 315,490 51.85 8 292,949 48.15 - - - - - - - - - - 22,541 3.70 608,439 MD
Massachusetts 16 1,035,296 52.80 16 921,350 46.99 - - - - - - - 4,019 0.21 - 113,946 5.81 1,960,665 MA
Michigan 19 1,106,899 50.19 19 1,084,423 49.18 - - - - 4,598 0.21 - 9,303 0.42 - 22,476 1.02 2,205,223 MI
Minnesota 11 589,864 52.41 11 527,416 46.86 - - - - 5,073 0.45 - 3,176 0.28 - 62,448 5.55 1,125,529 MN
Mississippi 9 168,479 93.56 9 11,601 6.44 - - - - - - - - - - 156,878 87.12 180,080 MS
Missouri 15 807,804 51.37 15 761,524 48.43 - - - - 1,751 0.11 - 1,395 0.09 - 46,280 2.94 1,572,474 MO
Montana 4 112,556 54.28 4 93,163 44.93 - - - - 1,296 0.63 - 340 0.16 - 19,393 9.35 207,355 MT
Nebraska 6 233,246 41.42 - 329,880 58.58 6 - - - - - - - - - -96,634 -17.16 563,126 NE
Nevada 3 29,623 54.62 3 24,611 45.38 - - - - - - - - - - 5,012 9.24 54,234 NV
New Hampshire 4 119,663 52.11 4 109,916 47.87 - - - - 46 0.02 - - - - 9,747 4.24 229,625 NH
New Jersey 16 987,874 50.31 16 961,335 48.95 - - - - 3,358 0.17 - 11,194 0.57 - 26,539 1.35 1,963,761 NJ
New Mexico 4 81,389 53.47 4 70,688 46.44 - - - - - - - 148 0.10 - 10,701 7.03 152,225 NM
New York 47 3,304,238 52.31 47 2,987,647 47.30 - - - - 10,553 0.17 - 14,352 0.23 - 316,591 5.01 6,316,790 NY
North Carolina 14 527,399 66.71 14 263,155 33.29 - - - - - - - - - - 264,244 33.43 790,554 NC
North Dakota 4 100,144 45.48 - 118,535 53.84 4 - - - 943 0.43 - 549 0.25 - -18,391 -8.35 220,171 ND
Ohio 25 1,570,763 49.82 - 1,582,293 50.18 25 - - - - - - - - - -11,530 -0.37 3,153,056 OH
Oklahoma 10 401,549 55.57 10 319,424 44.20 - - - - - - - 1,663 0.23 - 82,125 11.36 722,636 OK
Oregon 6 248,635 51.78 6 225,365 46.94 - - - - 3,785 0.79 - 2,362 0.49 - 23,270 4.85 480,147 OR
Pennsylvania 35 1,940,479 51.14 35 1,835,054 48.36 - - - - 11,721 0.31 - 7,539 0.20 - 105,425 2.78 3,794,793 PA
Rhode Island 4 175,356 58.59 4 123,487 41.26 - - - - - - - 433 0.14 - 51,869 17.33 299,276 RI
South Carolina 8 90,601 87.64 8 4,610 4.46 - 7,799 7.54 - - - - 365 0.35 - 82,802 80.10 103,375 SC
South Dakota 4 96,711 41.67 - 135,365 58.33 4 - - - - - - - - - -38,654 -16.66 232,076 SD
Tennessee 12 308,707 60.45 12 200,311 39.22 - - - - 792 0.16 - 882 0.17 - 108,396 21.23 510,692 TN
Texas 23 821,605 71.42 23 191,425 16.64 - 135,439 11.77 - 594 0.05 - 1,268 0.11 - 630,180 54.78 1,150,331 TX
Utah 4 150,088 60.44 4 97,891 39.42 - - - - 340 0.14 - - - - 52,197 21.02 248,319 UT
Vermont 3 53,820 42.93 - 71,527 57.06 3 - - - - - - 14 0.01 - -17,707 -14.12 125,361 VT
Virginia 11 242,276 62.36 11 145,243 37.39 - - - - 417 0.11 - 549 0.14 - 97,033 24.98 388,485 VA
Washington 8 486,774 56.84 8 361,689 42.24 - - - - 3,824 0.45 - 4,041 0.47 - 125,085 14.61 856,328 WA
West Virginia 8 392,777 54.89 8 322,819 45.11 - - - - - - - - - - 69,958 9.78 715,596 WV
Wisconsin 12 650,413 48.57 - 674,532 50.37 12 - - - 13,205 0.99 - 1,002 0.07 - -24,119 -1.80 1,339,152 WI
Wyoming 3 49,419 48.77 - 51,921 51.23 3 - - - - - - - - - -2,502 -2.47 101,340 WY
TOTALS: 531 25,612,916 53.39 432 22,017,929 45.89 99 143,238 0.30 - 79,017 0.16 - 123,963 0.26 - 3,594,987 7.49 47,977,063 US

Close states[edit]

Margin of victory less than 5% (190 electoral votes):

  1. Ohio, 0.37%
  2. Michigan, 1.02%
  3. New Jersey, 1.35%
  4. Wisconsin, 1.80%
  5. Wyoming, 2.47%
  6. Pennsylvania, 2.78%
  7. Missouri, 2.94%
  8. Illinois, 3.47%
  9. Idaho, 3.49%
  10. Maryland, 3.70%
  11. New Hampshire, 4.24%
  12. Iowa, 4.50%
  13. Oregon, 4.85%
  14. Maine, 4.99%

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

  1. New York, 5.01%
  2. Connecticut, 5.36%
  3. Minnesota, 5.55%
  4. Indiana, 5.65%
  5. Massachusetts, 5.81%
  6. Colorado, 6.81%
  7. New Mexico, 7.03%
  8. North Dakota, 8.35%
  9. Delaware, 9.11%
  10. Kentucky, 9.23%
  11. Nevada, 9.24%
  12. Montana, 9.35%
  13. West Virginia, 9.78%

Miscellanea[edit]

  • The 1944 election was the first since Grover Cleveland's re-election in 1892 in which the bellwether state of Ohio backed a losing candidate.
  • The 1944 election was the last election in which any candidate received over 90% of the vote in any state (FDR won 94% of votes cast in Mississippi).
  • The passing of the 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1951 renders this election the only occasion in United States history in which a candidate has been allowed to run for a fourth term as president.
  • The 1944 presidential race was the only one in history where both candidates hailed from the same county. Roosevelt's home was in Hyde Park, New York. Dewey called Pawling, New York home. Both are in Dutchess County.
  • This was the first election since 1900 when Idaho and Wyoming did not vote the same as each other, and the last to date.
  • Had Dewey won the 1944 election, he would have become the youngest president in U.S. history, being 20 days younger (as of January 20, 1945) than Theodore Roosevelt, when he took office in 1901 upon the assassination of William McKinley.
  • The 1944 presidential election was the last election in which the Democratic party candidate won every single state that constituted the Confederacy.
  • The 1944 election was the first one where one of the candidates (Dewey) was born in the 20th century.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alonzo L. Hamby, Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (1995) ch 17
  2. ^ Stanley Weintraub, Final Victory: FDR's Extraordinary World War II Presidential Campaign (2012) ch 2
  3. ^ "1944 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved April 14, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cantril, Hadley and Mildred Strunk, eds.; Public Opinion, 1935-1946 (1951), massive compilation of many public opinion polls from USA
  • Gallup, George Horace, ed. The Gallup Poll; Public Opinion, 1935-1971 3 vol (1972) esp vol 1; summarizes results of each poll as reported to newspapers
  • Hamby, Alonzo L. Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (1995) ch 17
  • Jordan, David M. FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Indiana U.P. 2011)
  • Smith, Richard Norton. Thomas E. Dewey and His Times (1984), the standard scholarly biography
  • Weintraub, Stanley. Final Victory: FDR's Extraordinary World War II Presidential Campaign. (Cambridge: Da Capo, 2012). 318 pp.

External links[edit]