United States presidential election in Florida, 1928

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United States presidential election in Florida, 1928

← 1924 November 6, 1928 1932 →

  Herbert Hoover - NARA - 532049.tif AlfredSmith.png
Nominee Herbert Hoover Al Smith
Party Republican Democratic
Home state California New York
Running mate Charles Curtis Joseph Taylor Robinson
Electoral vote 6 0
Popular vote 144,168 101,764
Percentage 56.83% 40.12%

President before election

Calvin Coolidge
Republican

Elected President

Herbert Hoover
Republican

The 1928 United States presidential election in Florida was held on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election held throughout all contemporary forty-eight states. Florida voters chose six electors, or representatives to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Background[edit]

Ever since the disfranchisement of blacks at the beginning of the 1890s, Florida had been a one-party state ruled by the Democratic Party. The disfranchisement of blacks and poor whites by poll taxes in 1889[1] had left the Republican Party – between 1872 and 1888 dependent upon black votes – virtually extinct.

With the single exception of William Howard Taft's win in Calhoun County in 1908[2] the Democratic Party won every county in Florida in every presidential election from 1892[a] until 1916. Only twice – and never for more than one term – did any Republican serve in either house of the state legislature between 1896 and 1928. Despite this Democratic dominance and the restrictions on the franchise of the poorer classes due to the poll tax, significant socialist movements were to develop and persist in Tampa[3] and to a lesser extent over other parts of the state, especially against the powerful Ku Klux Klan.[4] There was also a powerful Prohibitionist movements in older North Florida, which saw the Prohibition Party even win the governorship for one term under the notorious anti-Catholic minister Sidney J. Catts, who was later to be a major foe of Alfred Emmanuel Smith.[5]

The 1920 presidential election saw Warren Harding, aided substantially by isolationist sentiment in the region,[6] gain more support in the former Confederacy than any Republican since black disfranchisement, in the process winning three Florida counties.[2] Calvin Coolidge in 1924 was to do no more than maintain these gains, but did show that the presidential GOP vote from transplanted Northerners was equal to or greater than the traditional Unionist GOP vote (which Florida entirely lacked) of Texas, Arkansas, Alabama or Georgia.[6]

Anti-Catholic and Prohibitionist fear[edit]

With all other prominent Democrats sitting the election out,[7] the party nominated Alfred E. Smith, four-term Governor of New York as its nominee for 1928, with little opposition. There was nonetheless almost no pro-Smith sympathy in Florida, which as part of the "Solid South" had been a major force in his 1924 defeat.[8] This defeat was related to four characteristics of Smith that made him anything but an ideal candidate for Southern Democrats: he was a devout Catholic, opposed to Prohibition, linked with New York City's Tammany Hall political machine, and the son of Irish and Italian immigrants. His Wall Street connections also had Smith viewed by poorer Southern whites as a "Gold Democrat".[9] Whilst it is generally thought that the South would have accepted a man possessing one of those characteristics,[10] the combination proved a bitter dose for many of Florida's loyal Democrats. Many Florida Protestants believed Smith's election would endanger religious liberty and lead to the Pope controlling the White House.[8]

More critically, the Southern Baptist Convention similarly said that

We enter into a sacred covenant and solemn pledge that we will support for the office of President, or any other office, only such men as stand for our present order of prohibition.[11]

Much of this anti-Smith political program was led by the Jacksonville Baptist Association, joined by the Indian River Missionary Baptist Association, Seminole Baptist Association, Peace River Baptist Association, Alachua Baptist Association, and the Florida Baptist Association in issuing similar resolutions at their 1928 annual meetings.[12] The Methodist Episcopal Church took the same viewpoint,[13] and it was Bishop James Cannon who stood behind militant "drys" to organize the "Anti-Smith Democrats" in Asheville, North Carolina, pledging to keep the country dry against Smith's support of modifying the Volstead Act.

The leader of the defense of Smith was Senator Duncan Upshaw Fletcher who argued that Smith was a "throroughgoing Democrat" and that the Republican Party was the party who had, in typical "Solid South" style,

denounced the Southern people as rebels and traitors[14]

Echoing this, several Florida judges said it would be better to have a Catholic with some religion in the White House than a Republican with none.[8] Smith's strongest supporter, Chief Justice William H. Ellis, also argued that the GOP was hypocritical in its support for Prohibition,[15] and that because religious tests for elective office were forbidden by the Constitution, Smith would be unable to fill these offices with only Catholics. For Ellis, the election of Smith was the only way the Democratic Party could maintain itself. The Suwanee Democrat indeed argued that Hoover's Quaker faith meant he could not be elected President[16] because it believed that Hoover's religious would not permit him to fight for his country and commanded racial equality in a state whose electorate was all-white.[17]

Polls[edit]

During the months between the beginning of the campaign and the actual vote, a number of newspapers – including the Orlando Sentinel and the St. Petersburg Times – utilized voting machines to take a sample ballot.[18] All these polls, in spite of the fact that the newspapers in question favoured Smith, gave large majorities to Hoover, in the case of the Times by over two-to-one. Despite these polls, Smith campaigners took a long time to realize the danger that he would not carry the traditional "Solid South".[19]

Vote[edit]

After a heated campaign in which he had played little part, Herbert Hoover won Florida against Al Smith by 42,404 votes or by a margin of 16.71 percentage points.[20] Vis-à-vis the 1924 election, swings of up to 100 percentage points occurred in the western Panhandle pineywoods, where opposition to Smith's Catholic religion reached the fanatical,[21] and Hoover also gained from increased Republican voting by northern migrants in Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota and Jacksonville, along with the growth of an urban middle class in those cities.[21]

In contrast, the "Black Belt" counties of the central and eastern Panhandle remained loyal to Smith, who still carried ten counties in this region, all over thirty-five percent nonvoting African-American, by three-to-one or larger majorities, because they saw party regularity as essential to preserving white supremacy against the Negro.[22] However, unlike Alabama and Georgia, Florida's Black Belt lacked the strength to counter anti-Catholic voting – which was indeed stronger than in most other parts of the white South – with the result that Hoover gained his largest margin amongst the five Confederate states he carried.

Results[edit]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
vote
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote
Herbert Hoover Republican California 144,168[b] 56.83% 6 Charles Curtis Kansas 6
Al Smith Democrat New York 101,764 40.12% 0 Joseph Taylor Robinson Arkansas 0
Norman Thomas Socialist New York 4,036[b] 1.59% 0 James Maurer Pennsylvania 0
William Z. Foster Communist Illinois 3,704[b] 1.46% 0 Benjamin Gitlow New York 0
Write-ins 2 0.00% 0 0
Total 253,674 100% 6 6
Needed to win 266 266

Results by county[edit]

Herbert Clark Hoover
Republican
Alfred Emmanuel Smith
Democratic
Various candidates
Other parties
Margin Total votes cast[23]
County # % # % # % # % #
Alachua 1,824 45.51% 1,965 49.03% 219 5.46% -141 -3.52% 4,008
Baker 676 72.38% 242 25.91% 16 1.71% 434 46.47% 934
Bay 974 44.27% 1,190 54.09% 36 1.64% -216 -9.82% 2,200
Bradford 534 43.73% 679 55.61% 8 0.66% -145 -11.88% 1,221
Brevard 1,830 62.12% 1,063 36.08% 53 1.80% 767 26.04% 2,946
Broward 2,889 63.63% 1,564 34.45% 87 1.92% 1,325 29.19% 4,540
Calhoun 409 35.02% 727 62.24% 32 2.74% -318 -27.23% 1,168
Charlotte 593 55.73% 441 41.45% 30 2.82% 152 14.29% 1,064
Citrus 505 37.77% 816 61.03% 16 1.20% -311 -23.26% 1,337
Clay 1,088 72.05% 394 26.09% 28 1.85% 694 45.96% 1,510
Collier 151 37.01% 256 62.75% 1 0.25% -105 -25.74% 408
Columbia 418 24.36% 1,276 74.36% 22 1.28% -858 -50.00% 1,716
Dade 15,860 60.15% 10,136 38.44% 372 1.41% 5,724 21.71% 26,368
De Soto 1,382 64.04% 748 34.66% 28 1.30% 634 29.38% 2,158
Dixie 463 57.52% 342 42.48% 0 0.00% 121 15.03% 805
Duval 16,919 63.39% 9,316 34.91% 454 1.70% 7,603 28.49% 26,689
Escambia 4,443 53.32% 3,772 45.27% 118 1.42% 671 8.05% 8,333
Flagler 325 58.14% 219 39.18% 15 2.68% 106 18.96% 559
Franklin 334 44.30% 417 55.31% 3 0.40% -83 -11.01% 754
Gadsden 346 22.31% 1,184 76.34% 21 1.35% -838 -54.03% 1,551
Gilchrist 125 22.73% 392 71.27% 33 6.00% -267 -48.55% 550
Glades 331 53.73% 281 45.62% 4 0.65% 50 8.12% 616
Gulf 156 34.98% 275 61.66% 15 3.36% -119 -26.68% 446
Hamilton 167 16.83% 741 74.70% 84 8.47% -574 -57.86% 992
Hardee 2,087 70.06% 826 27.73% 66 2.22% 1,261 42.33% 2,979
Hendry 337 54.18% 266 42.77% 19 3.05% 71 11.41% 622
Hernando 661 47.79% 701 50.69% 21 1.52% -40 -2.89% 1,383
Highlands 1,393 66.52% 669 31.95% 32 1.53% 724 34.57% 2,094
Hillsborough 11,703 52.98% 9,993 45.24% 392 1.77% 1,710 7.74% 22,088
Holmes 2,260 74.44% 735 24.21% 41 1.35% 1,525 50.23% 3,036
Indian River 847 55.61% 657 43.14% 19 1.25% 190 12.48% 1,523
Jackson 1,398 35.43% 2,516 63.76% 32 0.81% -1,118 -28.33% 3,946
Jefferson 235 20.22% 919 79.09% 8 0.69% -684 -58.86% 1,162
Lafayette 135 23.48% 435 75.65% 5 0.87% -300 -52.17% 575
Lake 3,383 68.08% 1,474 29.66% 112 2.25% 1,909 38.42% 4,969
Lee 2,058 63.17% 1,154 35.42% 46 1.41% 904 27.75% 3,258
Leon 630 24.72% 1,888 74.07% 31 1.22% -1,258 -49.35% 2,549
Levy 711 46.23% 797 51.82% 30 1.95% -86 -5.59% 1,538
Liberty 147 39.20% 226 60.27% 2 0.53% -79 -21.07% 375
Madison 266 25.70% 769 74.30% 0 0.00% -503 -48.60% 1,035
Manatee 2,705 63.87% 1,472 34.76% 58 1.37% 1,233 29.11% 4,235
Marion 1,927 49.75% 1,863 48.10% 83 2.14% 64 1.65% 3,873
Martin 703 58.05% 474 39.14% 34 2.81% 229 18.91% 1,211
Monroe 1,142 36.93% 1,899 61.42% 51 1.65% -757 -24.48% 3,092
Nassau 863 65.13% 445 33.58% 17 1.28% 418 31.55% 1,325
Okaloosa 1,385 72.70% 503 26.40% 17 0.89% 882 46.30% 1,905
Okeechobee 657 68.87% 287 30.08% 10 1.05% 370 38.78% 954
Orange 6,524 70.04% 2,616 28.08% 175 1.88% 3,908 41.95% 9,315
Osceola 1,760 60.25% 1,127 38.58% 34 1.16% 633 21.67% 2,921
Palm Beach 5,298 64.23% 2,652 32.15% 298 3.61% 2,646 32.08% 8,248
Pasco 1,591 54.26% 1,308 44.61% 33 1.13% 283 9.65% 2,932
Pinellas 10,545 74.52% 3,439 24.30% 167 1.18% 7,106 50.22% 14,151
Polk 7,460 60.23% 4,576 36.94% 350 2.83% 2,884 23.28% 12,386
Putnam 2,105 63.01% 1,156 34.60% 80 2.39% 949 28.40% 3,341
St. John's 1,939 36.65% 3,307 62.50% 45 0.85% -1,368 -25.86% 5,291
St. Lucie 983 55.88% 741 42.13% 35 1.99% 242 13.76% 1,759
Santa Rosa 1,628 73.97% 541 24.58% 32 1.45% 1,087 49.39% 2,201
Sarasota 1,603 56.46% 1,181 41.60% 55 1.94% 422 14.86% 2,839
Seminole 1,788 58.89% 1,187 39.10% 61 2.01% 601 19.80% 3,036
Sumter 1,152 55.60% 909 43.87% 11 0.53% 243 11.73% 2,072
Suwannee 606 31.68% 1,286 67.22% 21 1.10% -680 -35.55% 1,913
Taylor 465 38.05% 739 60.47% 18 1.47% -274 -22.42% 1,222
Union 177 25.69% 503 73.00% 9 1.31% -326 -47.31% 689
Volusia 6,648 67.78% 3,043 31.03% 117 1.19% 3,605 36.76% 9,808
Wakulla 66 12.18% 470 86.72% 6 1.11% -404 -74.54% 542
Walton 1,475 61.36% 908 37.77% 21 0.87% 567 23.59% 2,404
Washington 1,672 69.72% 671 27.98% 55 2.29% 1,001 41.74% 2,398
Totals 145,860 57.87% 101,764 40.37% 4,444 1.76% 44,096 17.49% 252,068

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the 1892 Presidential election, Republican Benjamin Harrison was not on the ballot and the party backed Populist James B. Weaver.
  2. ^ a b c This total differs from that in America at the Polls but is suspect due to an improbably large third-party vote in Alachua County.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Silbey, Joel H. and Bogue, Allan G.; The History of American Electoral Behavior, p. 210 ISBN 140087114X
  2. ^ a b Robinson, Edgar Eugene; The Presidential Vote; 1896-1932 (second edition); pp. 156-157 Published 1947 by Stanford University Press
  3. ^ Ford, Edward J.; 'Life on the Campaign Trail: a Political Anthropology of Local Politics' (thesis), published 2008 by University of South Florida, pp. 114-118
  4. ^ Gregory, Raymond F.; Norman Thomas: The Great Dissenter, pp. 150-151 ISBN 0875866239
  5. ^ Okaloosa News-Journal, July 6, 1928
  6. ^ a b Phillips, Kevin; The Emerging Republican Majority, pp. 210-211, 261 ISBN 9780691163246
  7. ^ Warren, Kenneth F.; Encyclopedia of U.S. campaigns, elections, and electoral behavior: A-M, Volume 1, p. 620 ISBN 1412954894
  8. ^ a b c Doherty, Herbert J., jr.; 'Florida and the Presidential Election of 1928', The Florida Historical Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 2 (October, 1947), pp. 174-186
  9. ^ Hughes, Melvin Edward junior; 'The 1928 Presidential Election in Florida' (thesis; Florida State University (1976), p. 211
  10. ^ Kennedy; David M. and Cohen, Lizabeth; The American Pageant, Volume 2, p. 739 ISBN 1111831432
  11. ^ Maxwell, Angie and Shields, Todd G. (editors); Unlocking V.O. Key Jr.: "Southern Politics" for the Twenty-First Century, pp. 17-18 ISBN 1557289611
  12. ^ Indian River Missionary Baptist Association, 1928, pp. 31-32; Fifteenth Annual Session Seminole Baptist Association, 1928, p. 22; Fifty-Third Session of Peace River Baptist Association, 1928, pp. 24-25; Alachua Baptist Association, 1928; p. 26; Proceedings of the Eighty-Sixth Annual Session of the Florida Baptist Association, 1928, p. 34
  13. ^ Journal of the Florida Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1928 (Tampa, 1928), p. 41
  14. ^ Miami Herald, October 11, 1928.
  15. ^ Hughes; 'The 1928 Presidential Election in Florida', p. 131
  16. ^ Hughes; 'The 1928 Presidential Election in Florida', p. 151
  17. ^ Suwanee Democrat, September 28, 1928, p. 1.
  18. ^ Hughes; 'The 1928 Presidential Election in Florida', pp. 150, 152
  19. ^ Hughes; 'The 1928 Presidential Election in Florida', p. 153
  20. ^ Leip, David. "1928 Presidential General Election Results – Florida". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  21. ^ a b Phillips; The Emerging Republican Majority, pp. 212, 214
  22. ^ Key, V.O. junior; Southern Politics in State and Nation; p. 328 ISBN 087049435X
  23. ^ Scammon, Richard M. (compiler); America at the Polls: A Handbook of Presidential Election Statistics 1920-1964; pp. 85-86 ISBN 0405077114