United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1936

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United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1936
1932 ←
November 3, 1936
→ 1940

  FDR in 1933.jpg LandonPortr.jpg WilliamLemke22.jpg
Nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt Alf Landon William Lemke
Party Democratic Republican Union
Home state New York Kansas North Dakota
Running mate John N. Garner Frank Knox Thomas C. O'Brien
Electoral vote 17 0 0
Popular vote 942,716 768,613 118,639
Percentage 51.22% 41.76% 6.45%

Massachusetts Election Results by County, 1936.svg

County Results

President before election

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Elected President

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The 1936 United States presidential election in Massachusetts took place on November 3, 1936 as part of the 1936 United States presidential election, which was held throughout all contemporary 48 states. Voters chose 17 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Massachusetts voted for the Democratic nominee, incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York, over the Republican nominee, Governor Alf Landon of Kansas. Roosevelt ran with incumbent Vice President John Nance Garner of Texas, while Landon's running mate was newspaper publisher Frank Knox of Illinois. Also running that year was William Lemke of the short-lived Union Party, and his running mate Thomas C. O'Brien.

Roosevelt carried the state with 51.22% of the vote to Landon's 41.76%, a Democratic victory margin of 9.46%. Lemke came in third with 6.45%, while in a distant fourth was Socialist Norman Thomas with only 0.28%.

Once a typical Yankee Republican bastion in the wake of the Civil War, Massachusetts had been a Democratic-leaning state since 1928, when a coalition of Irish Catholic and other ethnic immigrant voters primarily based in urban areas turned Massachusetts and neighboring Rhode Island into New England's only reliably Democratic states. Massachusetts voted for Al Smith in 1928, and for Franklin Roosevelt in his national Democratic landslide of 1932. Roosevelt's 1936 victory thus marked the third straight win for the Democratic Party in Massachusetts, a state that had voted Democratic only once in its history prior to this series of consecutive Democratic wins.

However the state was still closely divided between the newly emerging Democratic majority coalition, and its traditional New England Republican roots, and consequently Massachusetts was one of FDR's weakest victories. As Roosevelt was re-elected nationally in a massive landslide, Massachusetts weighed in as about 15% more Republican than the national average. New England overall would be the only region where Landon was at all competitive; Landon's only victories in the entire nation were neighboring Vermont and Maine.

A contributing factor to Roosevelt's relative weakness in Massachusetts was the strong showing of William Lemke in the state. Lemke and his Union Party ran on a populist platform that appealed to many working class voters who would otherwise have been natural members of Roosevelt's New Deal coalition. While Lemke finished with only 1.95% nationally, in Massachusetts, Lemke received 6.45% of the vote, making Massachusetts his third strongest state in the nation.

Roosevelt and Landon would split the state's fourteen counties, winning 7 counties each. However Roosevelt won the most heavily populated parts of the state including the cities of Boston, Worcester, and Springfield, while most of Landon's wins were sparsely populated counties.


United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1936[1]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt 942,716 51.22% 17
Republican Alf Landon 768,613 41.76% 0
Union William Lemke 118,639 6.45% 0
Socialist Norman Thomas 5,111 0.28% 0
Communist Earl Browder 2,930 0.16% 0
Socialist Labor John W. Aiken 1,305 0.07% 0
Prohibition D. Leigh Colvin 1,032 0.06% 0
Write-ins Write-ins 11 0.00% 0
Totals 1,840,357 100.00% 17


  1. ^ "1936 Presidential General Election Results - Massachusetts". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 

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