1948 National Presidential Election
1948 National Presidential Election

1948 National Presidential Election - PowerPoint Presentation

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1948 National Presidential Election - Description

Splitting the Ticket Truman presented a proposal to the Congress earlier in the election year which would guarantee the rights of blacks which created the rift in the Democratic Party During the Democratic Convention a total of 35 delegates all of Mississippi and half of Alabama walked out ID: 735230 Download Presentation

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1948 National Presidential ElectionSlide2

Splitting the Ticket

Truman presented a proposal to the Congress earlier in the election year, which would guarantee the rights of blacks, which created the rift in the Democratic Party.

During the Democratic Convention, a total of 35 delegates (all of Mississippi and half of Alabama) walked out.

The Democratic Party ticket was split, and out emerged the States Rights Democratic Party and the Progressive PartySlide4

The Split of the Democratic Party

“In 1948, the Democrats and Republicans only received only 92% of the electoral votes. This situation was due to a bolt form the Democratic National Convention of delegates form several southern states who protested the strong civil rights plank in the Democratic platform. These delegates formed a States’ Rights or “


” party which received the 38 electoral votes of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and one vote from Tennessee,” (Porter & Johnson, 419). Slide5

Fractionalization of the Party

Widely believed that the fractionalization of the Democratic Party would essentially cause Democrats to concede the race to the Republicans.

Yet the


revolt actually helped solidify for Truman the northern urban, African American coalition, it allowed him to duck the old claim by liberals and African American leaders that the Democratic party was led by Southern racists.

The split gave Truman the appearance of holding the party’s centerSlide6

The Progressive Party

World Peace Party

Found fault in the presidential administration of the Truman presidency.

Held the Truman administration primarily responsible for the Cold War and organized the Progressive Citizens of America in 1947

The delegates, composed of pacifists, reformers, New Dealers, and a few American Stalinists) selected Henry Wallace to run for PresidentSlide7

The Progressive Platform

The party platform rejected the Marshall Plan for European economic recovery and the Truman Doctrine of containment and urged negotiations with Russia to end the Cold War

Yet it is a well known fact that the American voter does not vote on foreign policy and issuesSlide8

Henry Wallace

Many American liberals believed that Truman had turned his back on the New Deal, the Roosevelt legacy, and the New Dealers themselves.

As Roosevelt’s Secretary of Agriculture from 1933-1940, Wallace was considered one of the primary innovators of the New Deal programs. He was even chosen as the Vice president in 1940, but was dropped during the 1940 campaign in favor of the less controversial Truman.

During the summer of 1947, Wallace was very prominent, and seemed to be a serious candidate for the presidency.

Received support from Labor groups, middle class liberals, farmers, northern African Americans, and communists (who eventually became the his most visible supporters, and led to a decline in support from other sectors of his supporters, especially labor). Slide9


The States Rights Democratic Party disagreement with the Democratic Party mostly stemmed from civil rights disagreements.

Did not want a civil rights supporter to be elected

Nominated South Carolina governor J. Strom Thurmond

Hoped that there would be a big enough split to cause the election to be thrown into the House of Representatives and that the vote of the South would swing the balloting to an opponent of civil rights legislation. Slide10

Strom Thurmond

Candidacy based upon a split from the Democratic party in regards to opposition to federal intervention in regards to segregation legislation and practices.

Fully believed and supported the southern segregation laws, which disenfranchised many blacks and poor whites. Slide11

The Republican Party

During the Republican Convention held in Philadelphia, voters of the Republican party selected New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey

Many Republicans actually wanted Dwight Eisenhower to carry the Republican ticket, but his political affiliation was not known at the time, and he refused the nomination (some believe his refusal was a sign a loyalty to his friend Truman).

The party platform contained many of Republican party leader Senator Robert Taft objectives .

Included support of public housing, need for public health, farm programs, and conservation of natural resources. Slide12

Truman’s Campaign Strategy

Also worked to build a support coalition that would include organized labor, moderate liberals, and northern urban African Americans

The campaign strategy was to aggressively satisfy each of these groups, that by granting specific concessions they would earn their votes

Sought to move to the left and focus on building a coalition of groups that centered on organized labor and northern African AmericansSlide13

Changing the Method of Attack

Instead of aiming his campaign attack at the defected members of the Democratic Party or his Republican opponent, Dewey, Truman went after the 80



With the country currently in the mist of a labor strife, a rise in the cost of living and taxes during the Cold War

Truman called Congress back for an early session before the election in an effort to fix some of the economic problems.

Called on Congress to increase the minimum wage, broaden the Social Security system, and establish a national health care system. Slide14

Polling During the 1948 Election

Gallop poll early in 1948 reported that the approval rating for the job Truman had done as a president was at 36%

 The Gallup, Roper, and


polls all predicted that Dewey would defeat Truman by a significant margin, but in fact, just the opposite happened.



, Gallup, and Roper organizations all used 

quota sampling

. Each interviewer was assigned a specified number of subjects to interview. Moreover, the interviewer was required to interview specified numbers of subjects in various categories, based on residential area, sex, age, race, economic status, and other variables.Slide16

Polling During the 1948 Election


Chicago Tribune

 felt so confident in the polls that the night of the election, the paper went ahead and printed the following morning's edition with a banner headline that Dewey had defeated Truman.

What went wrong?

Outside of the quota constraints, each interviewer was free to pick his subjects any way that he pleased. It is now generally accepted that this freedom of choice created selection bias in favor of Dewey. At the time, evidently, republicans were slightly easier to find and interview than democrats.

Also stopped polling a week prior to the election, essentially missing the American voters shift away from the third parties back to the major parties.






















The Progressive Landscape

From New York, Wallace received 8.25% of the popular vote

-California, 4.73%

-North Dakota, 3.80%

-Washington, 3.50%

-Montana, 3.26%Slide18

1948 Presidential Election Results

Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states 


 by Truman/Barkley; 

Red notes

those won by Dewey/Warren; Orange denotes those won by Thurmond/Wright (including a 

faithless elector



). Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.Slide19

Applying the 13 Keys to the White House to the 1948 Election

1. Party Mandate


During the 1946 elections, the voting of the American people indicated a shift back to the right, more conservative policies.

2. Contest


Within the Democratic Party there was contestation from both sides of the party, from the left (Progressives) and the right (Dixiecrats)



The incumbent, Truman, was the sitting president

4.Third Party


There was a strong third party vying for votes, the States Rights Democratic Party earned 2.41% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes. Slide20

5. Sort Term Economy


The recession of 1948-1949 started in November of 1948, and the economy was actually experiencing a post war boom

6.Long term economy


Post World War II, Truman was the first president tasked with transitioning the nation into a peacetime economy, so during his first term there was a negative growth.

7. Policy Change


The Marshall Plan was a foreign policy and the Executive Order 9981, which abolished segregation in the military could be seen as only as small part of the greater civil rights package that he presented in 1948, but was not really considered until later in his second term. Slide21

Allan’s 13 Keys Continued

8. Social Unrest


There is no sustained social unrest during the term

9. Scandal


The incumbent administration is untainted by major scandal

10. Foreign/ military failure


Although he did struggle through the Korean War, his was overconfident in the ability of the military to quickly achieve military in KoreaSlide22

Allan’s 13 Keys

11. Foreign/ military success


Truman successfully led the United States out of World War II.

12.Incumbent charisma


On the campaign trail one of the biggest noted difference between Dewey and Truman, was their charismatic qualities. Truman came off as much more relatable to the people when he took his cross country campaign tour.

13. Challenger charisma


As noted above, Dewey’s personality was much more reserved and constrained. Slide23

Milestones Achieved During the Election

The Republican Convention was the first convention to be televised

The failure among pollsters, most notably Gallop, Roper, and


, to predict the winner caused a reform in polling techniques. Slide25

The Results of the 1948 Election

One of the biggest reasons the Republican party is believed to have lost the 1948 election was due to overconfidence.

Their acceptance of the 1946 midterm elections in which Republicans won dominantly in addition to Dewey’ s conservative campaign strategy which was premised on avoidance of mistakes.

Truman’s ability to build support among a broad urban-liberal-black-labor coalition aided his victory. Slide26

Truman’s Victory