1936 United States presidential election
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The 1936 United States presidential election was the 38th quadrennial
presidential election A presidential election is the election of any head of state whose official title is President (government title), President. Elections by country Albania The president List of heads of state of Albania, of Albania is elected by the Assembly of ...
, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1936. In the midst of the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, incumbent Democratic
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (; ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States The president of the United Stat ...
defeated Republican Governor
Alf Landon Alfred Mossman Landon (September 9, 1887October 12, 1987) was an American oilman and politician who served as the 26th governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, he was the party's no ...
of
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka, Kansas, Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebras ...
. Roosevelt won the highest share of the popular and electoral vote since the largely uncontested 1820 election. The sweeping victory consolidated the New Deal Coalition in control of the Fifth Party System. Roosevelt and Vice President
John Nance Garner John Nance Garner III (November 22, 1868 – November 7, 1967), known among his contemporaries as "Cactus Jack", was an American History of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic politician and lawyer from History of Texas, Texas who ...
were re-nominated without opposition. With the backing of party leaders, Landon defeated progressive Senator
William Borah William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940) was an outspoken History of the United States Republican Party, Republican United States Senator, one of the best-known figures in History of Idaho, Idaho's history. A Progressivism ...
at the
1936 Republican National Convention The 1936 Republican National Convention was held June 9–12 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. It nominated Alf Landon, Governor Alfred Landon of Kansas for President of the United States, president and Frank Knox of Illinois for Vice ...
to win his party's presidential nomination. The populist Union Party nominated Congressman
William Lemke William Frederick Lemke (August 13, 1878 – May 30, 1950) was an American politician who represented North Dakota in the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party. He was also the ...
for president. The election took place as the Great Depression entered its eighth year. Roosevelt was still working to push the provisions of his
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, Public works, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the C ...
economic policy The economy of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executiv ...
through Congress and the courts. However, the New Deal policies he had already enacted, such as
Social Security Welfare, or commonly social welfare, is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet Basic needs, basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refe ...
and
unemployment benefits Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, unemployment compensation, or simply unemployment, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployment, unemployed people. In the United States, benefits are fun ...
, had proven to be highly popular with most Americans. Landon, a political moderate, accepted much of the New Deal but criticized it for waste and inefficiency. Roosevelt went on to win the greatest electoral landslide since the rise of hegemonic control between the Democratic and Republican parties in the 1850s. Roosevelt took 60.8% of the popular vote, while Landon won 36.5% and Lemke won just under 2%. Roosevelt carried every state except Maine and Vermont, which together cast eight electoral votes. By winning 523 electoral votes, Roosevelt received 98.49% of the electoral vote total, which remains the highest percentage of the electoral vote won by any candidate since 1820. Roosevelt also won the highest share of the popular vote since 1820, though
Lyndon Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was an American politician who served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969. He had previously served as the 37th vice ...
would later win a slightly higher share of the popular vote in
1964 Events January * January 1 – The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland is dissolved. * January 5 - In the first meeting between leaders of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches since the fifteenth century, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch ...
. While Roosevelt won the largest portion of electoral votes to date,
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician, actor, and union leader who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He also served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 ...
won more electors while achieving a lesser popular vote victory in
1984 Events January * January 1 – The Bornean Sultanate of Brunei gains full independence from the United Kingdom, having become a British protectorate in 1888. * January 7 – Brunei becomes the sixth member of the Association of Southeast As ...
, as the electoral college had expanded. Roosevelt's 523 electoral votes marked the first of only three times in
American history The history of the lands that became the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North Ameri ...
when a presidential candidate received over 500 electoral votes in a presidential election and made Roosevelt the only Democratic president to accomplish this feat.


Nominations


Democratic Party nomination

Before his assassination, there was a challenge from
Louisiana Louisiana , group=pronunciation (French: ''La Louisiane'') is a U.S. state, state in the Deep South and South Central United States, South Central regions of the United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 20th-smal ...
Senator
Huey Long Huey Pierce Long Jr. (August 30, 1893September 10, 1935), nicknamed "the Kingfish", was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a United States senator The United States Senate is ...
. But, due to his untimely death, President Roosevelt faced only one primary opponent other than various
favorite son Favorite son (or favorite daughter) is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resou ...
s. Henry Skillman Breckinridge, an anti-New Deal lawyer from New York, filed to run against Roosevelt in four primaries. Breckinridge's challenge of the popularity of the New Deal among Democrats failed miserably. In New Jersey, President Roosevelt did not file for the preference vote and lost that primary to Breckinridge, even though he did receive 19% of the vote on write-ins. Roosevelt's candidates for delegates swept the race in New Jersey and elsewhere. In other primaries, Breckinridge's best showing was 15% in Maryland. Overall, Roosevelt received 93% of the primary vote, compared to 2.5% for Breckinridge. The Democratic Party Convention was held in
Philadelphia Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the List of municipalities in Pennsylvania#Municipalities, largest city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the List of United States cities by population, sixth-largest city i ...
between July 23 and 27. The delegates unanimously re-nominated incumbents President Roosevelt and Vice-President
John Nance Garner John Nance Garner III (November 22, 1868 – November 7, 1967), known among his contemporaries as "Cactus Jack", was an American History of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic politician and lawyer from History of Texas, Texas who ...
. At Roosevelt's request, the two-thirds rule, which had given the South a ''de facto'' veto power, was repealed.


Republican Party nomination

File:LandonPortr.jpg,
Governor A governor is an administrative leader and head of a polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized s ...
Alf Landon Alfred Mossman Landon (September 9, 1887October 12, 1987) was an American oilman and politician who served as the 26th governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, he was the party's no ...
of
Kansas Kansas () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its Capital city, capital is Topeka, Kansas, Topeka, and its largest city is Wichita, Kansas, Wichita. Kansas is a landlocked state bordered by Nebras ...
File:Williameborah.jpg,
Senator A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Legislative chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman Senate (Latin: ''Senatus''), so-called as an assembly of the senior ...
William Borah William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940) was an outspoken History of the United States Republican Party, Republican United States Senator, one of the best-known figures in History of Idaho, Idaho's history. A Progressivism ...
from
Idaho Idaho ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canada–United States border with the province of British Columbia. It borders the states of Monta ...
File:Fknox.jpg, Publisher
Frank Knox William Franklin Knox (January 1, 1874 – April 28, 1944) was an American politician, newspaper editor and publisher. He was also the History of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Vice President of the United States, vice presiden ...
from
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its largest metropolitan areas include the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Metro East section, of Greater St. Louis. Other smaller metropolitan areas inc ...

' File:President Hoover portrait.jpg, Former
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 and a member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, holding o ...
from
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of the United States, Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territori ...

' File:Chas G Dawes-H&E.jpg, Former
Vice President A vice president, also director in British English, is an Corporate officer, officer in government or business who is below the President (corporate title), president (chief executive officer) in rank. It can also refer to executive vice presid ...
Charles G. Dawes from
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its largest metropolitan areas include the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Metro East section, of Greater St. Louis. Other smaller metropolitan areas inc ...

' File:Charles Linza McNary cph.3b18950 (cropped 3x4).jpg,
Senator A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Legislative chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislature. The name comes from the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman Senate (Latin: ''Senatus''), so-called as an assembly of the senior ...
Charles L. McNary from
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of it ...

'
Following the landslide defeat of former President
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 and a member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, holding o ...
at the previous presidential election in 1932, combined with devastating congressional losses that year, the Republican Party was largely seen as rudderless. In truth, Hoover maintained control of the party machinery and was hopeful of making a comeback, but any such hopes were dashed as soon as the 1934 mid-term elections, which saw further losses by the Republicans and made clear the popularity of the New Deal among the public. The expected third-party candidacy of prominent Senator
Huey Long Huey Pierce Long Jr. (August 30, 1893September 10, 1935), nicknamed "the Kingfish", was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a United States senator The United States Senate is ...
briefly reignited Hoover's hopes, but they were just as quickly ended by Long's death in September 1935. While Hoover thereafter refused to actively disclaim any potential draft efforts, he privately accepted that he was unlikely to be nominated, and even less likely to defeat Roosevelt in any rematch. Draft efforts did focus on former Vice-President Charles G. Dawes and Senate Minority Leader Charles L. McNary, two of the few prominent Republicans not to have been associated with Hoover's administration, but both men quickly disclaimed any interest in running. The 1936 Republican National Convention was held in
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the United States, U.S. U.S. state, state of Ohio and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County. Located in the northeastern part of the state, it is situated along ...
, Ohio, between June 9 and 12. Although many candidates sought the Republican nomination, only two, Governor Landon and Senator
William Borah William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940) was an outspoken History of the United States Republican Party, Republican United States Senator, one of the best-known figures in History of Idaho, Idaho's history. A Progressivism ...
from Idaho, were considered to be serious candidates. While County Attorney
Earl Warren Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974) was an American attorney, politician, and jurist who served as the 14th Chief Justice of the United States from 1953 to 1969. The Warren Court presided over a major shift in American Constitution o ...
from California,
Governor A governor is an administrative leader and head of a polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized s ...
Warren Green of South Dakota, and Stephen A. Day from Ohio won their respective primaries, the seventy-year-old Borah, a well-known progressive and "insurgent," won the Wisconsin, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Oregon primaries, while also performing quite strongly in Knox's Illinois and Green's South Dakota. The party machinery, however, almost uniformly backed Landon, a wealthy businessman and
centrist Centrism is a political outlook or position involving acceptance or support of a balance of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy while opposing political changes that would result in a significant shift of society strongly to Left-w ...
, who won primaries in Massachusetts and New Jersey and dominated in the
caucus A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement. The exact definition varies between different countries and political cultures. The term originated in the United States, where it can refer to a meeting ...
es and at state party conventions. With Knox withdrawing to become Landon's selection for vice-president (after the rejection of New Hampshire
Governor A governor is an administrative leader and head of a polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized s ...
Styles Bridges Henry Styles Bridges (September 9, 1898November 26, 1961) was an American teacher, editor, and Republican Party (United States), Republican Party politician from Concord, New Hampshire. He served one term as the 63rd governor of New Hampshire b ...
) and Day, Green, and Warren releasing their delegates, the tally at the convention was as follows: * Alf Landon 984 * William Borah 19


Other nominations

Many people, most significantly
Democratic National Committee The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the governing body of the Democratic Party (United States), United States Democratic Party. The committee coordinates strategy to support Democratic Party candidates throughout the country for local, sta ...
Chairman
James Farley James Aloysius Farley (May 30, 1888 – June 9, 1976) was an American politician and Knight of Malta who simultaneously served as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee The New York State Democratic Committee is the affiliate ...
, expected
Huey Long Huey Pierce Long Jr. (August 30, 1893September 10, 1935), nicknamed "the Kingfish", was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a United States senator The United States Senate is ...
, the colorful Democratic senator from Louisiana, to run as a third-party candidate with his " Share Our Wealth" program as his platform. Polls made during 1934 and 1935 suggested Long could have won between six and seven million votes, or approximately fifteen percent of the actual number cast in the 1936 election. Popular support for Long's Share Our Wealth program raised the possibility of a 1936 presidential bid against incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt. When questioned by the press, Long gave conflicting answers on his plans for 1936. While promising to support a progressive Republican like Sen.
William Borah William Edgar Borah (June 29, 1865 – January 19, 1940) was an outspoken History of the United States Republican Party, Republican United States Senator, one of the best-known figures in History of Idaho, Idaho's history. A Progressivism ...
, Long claimed that he would only support a Share Our Wealth candidate. At times, he even expressed the wish to retire: "I have less ambition to hold office than I ever had." However, in a later Senate speech, he admitted that he "might have a good parade to offer before I get through". Snyder (1975), p. 125. Long's son Russell B. Long believed that his father would have run on a third party ticket in 1936. This is evidenced by Long's writing of a speculative book, '' My First Days in the White House'', which laid out his plans for the presidency after the 1936 election. Long biographers T. Harry Williams and William Ivy Hair speculated that Long planned to challenge Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination in 1936, knowing he would lose the nomination but gain valuable publicity in the process. Then he would break from the Democrats and form a
third party Third party may refer to: Business * Third-party source, a supplier company not owned by the buyer or seller * Third-party beneficiary, a person who could sue on a contract, despite not being an active party * Third-party insurance, such as a Veh ...
using the Share Our Wealth plan as its basis. He hoped to have the public support of Father Charles Coughlin, a
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
priest and
populist Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of "the people" and often Juxtaposition, juxtapose this group against "elite, the elite". It is frequently associated with anti-establishment and anti-political sentimen ...
talk radio Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues and consisting entirely or almost entirely of original spoken word content rather than outside music. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often featur ...
personality from
Royal Oak, Michigan Royal Oak is a city in Oakland County in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, prima ...
; Iowa agrarian radical Milo Reno; and other dissidents like
Francis Townsend Francis Everett Townsend (; January 13, 1867 – September 1, 1960) was an American physician and political activist in California, In 1933 he devised an old-age pension scheme to help alleviate the Great Depression. Known as the "Townsend Plan ...
and the remnants of the End Poverty in California movement. Diplomat Edward M. House warned Roosevelt "many people believe that he can do to your administration what
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or by his initials, T. R., was an American politician, statesman, soldier, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26t ...
did to the Taft administration in '12." In spring 1935, Long undertook a national speaking tour and regular radio appearances, attracting large crowds and increasing his stature. At a well attended Long rally in Philadelphia, a former mayor told the press "There are 250,000 Long votes" in this city. Kennedy (2005) 999 p. 240. Regarding Roosevelt, Long boasted to the ''New York Times
Arthur Krock Arthur Bernard Krock (November 16, 1886 – April 12, 1974) was a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist. In a career spanning several decades covering the tenure of eleven United States presidents he became known as the "Dean of Washington ne ...
: "He's scared of me. I can out promise him, and he knows it." While addressing reporters in late summer of 1935, Long proclaimed: As the 1936 election approached, the Roosevelt administration grew increasingly concerned by Long's popularity.
Democratic National Committee The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the governing body of the Democratic Party (United States), United States Democratic Party. The committee coordinates strategy to support Democratic Party candidates throughout the country for local, sta ...
Chairman
James Farley James Aloysius Farley (May 30, 1888 – June 9, 1976) was an American politician and Knight of Malta who simultaneously served as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee The New York State Democratic Committee is the affiliate ...
commissioned a secret poll in early 1935 "to find out if Huey's sales talks for his 'share the wealth' program were attracting many customers". Farley's poll revealed that if Long ran on a third-party ticket, he would win about 4 million votes (about 10% of the electorate). Kennedy (2005) 999 p. 241. In a memo to Roosevelt, Farley wrote: "It was easy to conceive of a situation whereby Long by polling more than 3,000,000 votes, might have the balance of power in the 1936 election. For example, the poll indicated that he would command upwards of 100,000 votes in New York State, a pivotal state in any national election and a vote of that size could easily mean the difference between victory and defeat ... That number of votes would mostly come from our side and the result might spell disaster". In response, Roosevelt in a letter to his friend William E. Dodd, the US ambassador to Germany, wrote: "Long plans to be a candidate of the
Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 until Death of Adolf Hitler, his death in 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the le ...
type for the presidency in 1936. He thinks he will have a hundred votes at the Democratic convention. Then he will set up as an independent with Southern and mid-western Progressives ... Thus he hopes to defeat the Democratic Party and put in a reactionary Republican. That would bring the country to such a state by 1940 that Long thinks he would be made dictator. There are in fact some Southerners looking that way, and some Progressives drifting that way ... Thus it is an ominous situation". However, Long was assassinated in September 1935. Some historians, including Long biographer T. Harry Williams, contend that Long had never, in fact, intended to run for the presidency in 1936. Instead, he had been plotting with Father Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest and
populist Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of "the people" and often Juxtaposition, juxtapose this group against "elite, the elite". It is frequently associated with anti-establishment and anti-political sentimen ...
talk radio Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues and consisting entirely or almost entirely of original spoken word content rather than outside music. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often featur ...
personality, to run someone else on the soon-to-be-formed "Share Our Wealth" Party ticket. According to Williams, the idea was that this candidate would split the
left-wing Left-wing politics describes the range of Ideology#Political%20ideologies, political ideologies that support and seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. Left-wing politics typically in ...
vote with President Roosevelt, thereby electing a Republican president and proving the electoral appeal of Share Our Wealth. Long would then wait four years and run for president as a Democrat in 1940. Prior to Long's death, leading contenders for the role of the sacrificial 1936 candidate included Idaho Senator William Borah, Montana Senator and running mate of Robert M. La Follette in 1924 Burton K. Wheeler, and Governor Floyd B. Olson of the Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party. After Long's assassination, however, the two senators lost interest in the idea, while Olson was diagnosed with terminal
stomach cancer Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is a cancer that develops from the Gastric mucosa, lining of the stomach. Most cases of stomach cancers are gastric carcinomas, which can be divided into a number of subtypes, including gastric adenoca ...
. Father Coughlin, who had allied himself with Dr.
Francis Townsend Francis Everett Townsend (; January 13, 1867 – September 1, 1960) was an American physician and political activist in California, In 1933 he devised an old-age pension scheme to help alleviate the Great Depression. Known as the "Townsend Plan ...
, a left-wing political activist who was pushing for the creation of an old-age
pension A pension (, from Latin ''pensiō'', "payment") is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee's employment years and from which payments are drawn to support the person's retirement from work in the form of periodic payments ...
system, and Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith, was eventually forced to run Representative
William Lemke William Frederick Lemke (August 13, 1878 – May 30, 1950) was an American politician who represented North Dakota in the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party. He was also the ...
(R-North Dakota) as the candidate of the newly created " Union Party", with Thomas C. O'Brien, a lawyer and former District Attorney for Boston, as Lemke's running-mate. Lemke, who lacked the charisma and national stature of the other potential candidates, fared poorly in the election, barely managing two percent of the vote, and the party was dissolved the following year. William Dudley Pelley, Chief of the Silver Shirts Legion, ran on the ballot for the Christian Party in Washington State, but won fewer than two thousand votes.
Earl Browder Earl Russell Browder (May 20, 1891 – June 27, 1973) was an American politician, communist activist and leader of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Browder was the General Secretary of the CPUSA during the 1930s and first half of the 1940s. Durin ...
ran for the
Communist Party A communist party is a political party that seeks to realize the Socioeconomics, socio-economic goals of communism. The term ''communist party'' was popularized by the title of ''The Communist Manifesto, The Manifesto of the Communist Party'' (1 ...
(CPUSA).


Pre-election polling

This election is notable for ''
The Literary Digest ''The Literary Digest'' was an influential American general interest weekly magazine published by Funk & Wagnalls. Founded by Isaac Kaufmann Funk in 1890, it eventually merged with two similar weekly magazines, ''Public Opinion'' and ''Current Lit ...
'' poll, which was based on ten million questionnaires mailed to readers and potential readers; 2.27 million were returned. The ''Literary Digest'' had correctly predicted the winner of the last five elections, and announced in its October 31 issue that Landon would be the winner with 57.1% of the vote (v Roosevelt) and 370 electoral votes. The cause of this mistake has often been attributed to improper sampling: more Republicans subscribed to the ''Literary Digest'' than Democrats, and were thus more likely to vote for Landon than Roosevelt. Indeed, every other poll made at this time predicted Roosevelt would win, although most expected him to garner no more than 360 electoral votes.Derbyshire, Wyn; ''Dark Realities: America's Great Depression''; p. 213 However, a 1976 article in ''The American Statistician'' demonstrates that the actual reason for the error was that the ''Literary Digest'' relied on voluntary responses. As the article explains, the 2.27 million "respondents who returned their questionnaires represented only that subset of the population with a relatively intense interest in the subject at hand, and as such constitute in no sense a random sample ... it seems clear that the minority of anti-Roosevelt voters felt more strongly about the election than did the pro-Roosevelt majority." A more detailed study in 1988 showed that both the initial sample and
non-response bias Participation bias or non-response bias is a phenomenon in which the results of elections An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administrat ...
were contributing factors, and that the error due to the initial sample taken alone would not have been sufficient to predict the Landon victory. The magnitude of the error by the ''Literary Digest'' (39.08% for the popular vote for Landon v Roosevelt) destroyed the magazine's credibility, and it folded within 18 months of the election, while
George Gallup George Horace Gallup (November 18, 1901 – July 26, 1984) was an American pioneer of survey sampling techniques and inventor of the Gallup poll, a successful statistics, statistical method of survey sampling for measuring opinion polls, public ...
, an advertising executive who had begun a scientific poll, predicted that Roosevelt would win the election, based on a quota sample of 50,000 people. His correct predictions made public opinion polling a critical element of elections for journalists, and indeed for politicians. The
Gallup Poll Gallup, Inc. is an American analytics and advisory company based in Washington, D.C. Founded by George Gallup in 1935, the company became known for its public opinion polls conducted worldwide. Starting in the 1980s, Gallup transitioned its bu ...
would become a staple of future presidential elections, and remains one of the most prominent election polling organizations.


Campaign

Landon proved to be an ineffective campaigner who rarely travelled. Most of the attacks on FDR and Social Security were developed by Republican campaigners rather than Landon himself. In the two months after his nomination, he made no campaign appearances. Columnist Westbrook Pegler lampooned, "Considerable mystery surrounds the disappearance of Alfred M. Landon of Topeka, Kansas ... The Missing Persons Bureau has sent out an alarm bulletin bearing Mr. Landon's photograph and other particulars, and anyone having information of his whereabouts is asked to communicate direct with the Republican National Committee." Landon respected and admired Roosevelt and accepted most of the New Deal but objected that it was hostile to business and involved too much waste and inefficiency. Late in the campaign, Landon accused Roosevelt of corruption – that is, of acquiring so much power that he was subverting the Constitution: Franklin Roosevelt's most notable speech in the 1936 campaign was an address he gave in Madison Square Garden in New York City on 31 October. Roosevelt offered a vigorous defense of the New Deal. The most memorable section of the speech was, in the opinion of most observers, this passage:


Results

Roosevelt won in a landslide, carrying 46 of the 48 states and bringing in many additional Democratic members of Congress. After Lyndon B. Johnson's 61.05% share of the popular vote in 1964, Roosevelt's 60.8% is the second-largest percentage in U.S. history (since 1824, when the vast majority of or all states have had a popular vote), and his 98.49% of the electoral vote is the highest in two-party competition. The Republican Party saw its total in the
United States House of Representatives The United States House of Representatives, often referred to as the House of Representatives, the U.S. House, or simply the House, is the Lower house, lower chamber of the United States Congress, with the United States Senate, Senate being ...
reduced to 88 seats and in the United States Senate to 16 seats in their respective
elections An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative ...
and only won four governorships in the 1936 elections. Roosevelt won the largest number of electoral votes ever recorded at that time, and has so far only been surpassed by
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician, actor, and union leader who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He also served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 ...
in 1984, when seven more electoral votes were available to contest. Garner also won the highest percentage of the electoral vote of any vice president. Landon won only eight electoral votes, tying
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States (1909–1913) and the tenth chief justice of the United States (1921–1930), the only person to have held both offices. Taft was elected pre ...
's total in his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1912. As of 2020, this is the equal lowest total electoral vote total for a major-party candidate; the lowest number since was Reagan's 1984 opponent,
Walter Mondale Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale (January 5, 1928 – April 19, 2021) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 42nd vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981 under President Jimmy Carter. A United States Senator, U.S. ...
, who won only thirteen electoral votes. Roosevelt's net vote totals in the twelve largest cities increased from 1,791,000 votes in the 1932 election to 3,479,000 votes which was the highest for any presidential candidate from 1920 to 1948. Philadelphia and
Columbus, Ohio Columbus () is the List of US state capitals, state capital and the List of cities in Ohio, most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio. With a 2020 United States census, 2020 census population of 905,748, it is the List of United States cities ...
, which had voted for Hoover in the 1932 election, voted for Roosevelt in the 1936 election. Although the majority of black voters had been Republican in the 1932 election Roosevelt won two-thirds of black voters in the 1936 election.
Norman Thomas Norman Mattoon Thomas (November 20, 1884 – December 19, 1968) was an American Presbyterian religious minister, minister who achieved fame as a socialism, socialist, pacifism, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party ...
, who had received 884,885 votes in the 1932 election saw his totals decrease to 187,910. Roosevelt also took 98.57% of the vote in South Carolina, the largest recorded vote percentage of any candidate in any one state in any U.S Presidential election (this excludes Andrew Jackson in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Missouri in 1832, who won 100% of the vote in these states as he was unopposed). This was the last Democratic landslide in the West, as Democrats won every state except Kansas (Landon's home state) by more than 10%. West of the Great Plains States, Roosevelt only lost eight counties. Since 1936, only Richard Nixon in 1972 (winning all but 19 counties) and Ronald Reagan in 1980 (winning all but twenty counties) have even approached such a disproportionate ratio. After 1936, the West rapidly became a Republican stronghold, the only region that has been consistent in the party it supports for such a long time. Of the 3,095 counties, parishes and independent cities making returns, Roosevelt won in 2,634 (85 percent) while Landon carried 461 (15 percent); this was one of the few measures by which Landon's campaign was more successful than Hoover's had been four years prior, with Landon winning 87 more counties than Hoover did, albeit mostly in less populous parts of the country. Democrats also expanded their majorities in Congress, winning control of over three-quarters of the seats in each house. The election saw the consolidation of the New Deal coalition; while the Democrats lost some of their traditional allies in big business, high income voters, businessmen and professionals, they were replaced by groups such as organized labor and African Americans, the latter of whom voted Democratic for the first time since the
Civil War A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change go ...
, and made major gains among the poor and other minorities. Roosevelt won 86 percent of the Jewish vote, 81 percent of the Catholics, 80 percent of union members, 76 percent of Southerners, 76 percent of Blacks in northern cities, and 75 percent of people on relief. Roosevelt also carried 102 of the nation's 106 cities with a population of 100,000 or more. Some political pundits predicted the Republicans, whom many voters blamed for the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, would soon become an extinct political party.Gould, Lewis L.; ''The Republicans: A History of the Grand Old Party''. However, the Republicans would make a strong comeback in the 1938 congressional elections, and while they would remain a potent force in Congress, they were not able to regain control of the House or the Senate until 1946, and would not regain the Presidency until 1952. The Electoral College results, in which Landon only won Maine and Vermont, inspired Democratic Party chairman
James Farley James Aloysius Farley (May 30, 1888 – June 9, 1976) was an American politician and Knight of Malta who simultaneously served as chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee The New York State Democratic Committee is the affiliate ...
- who had in fact declared during the campaign that Roosevelt would lose only these two states - to amend the then-conventional political wisdom of "
As Maine goes, so goes the nation "As Maine goes, so goes the nation" was once a maxim in politics of the United States, United States politics. The phrase described Maine's reputation as a bellwether state for United States presidential elections, presidential elections. Maine's S ...
" into "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont." In fact, since then the states of Vermont and Maine voted for the same candidate in every election except the 1968 presidential election. Additionally, a prankster posted a sign on Vermont's border with New Hampshire the day after the 1936 election, reading, "You are now leaving the United States." This was the last election in which Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota would vote Democratic until
1964 Events January * January 1 – The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland is dissolved. * January 5 - In the first meeting between leaders of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches since the fifteenth century, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch ...
. Of these states, only Indiana would vote Democratic again after 1964 (for Barack Obama in 2008), making this the penultimate time a Democrat won any of the great plains states. Source (Popular Vote): Source (Electoral Vote):


Geography of results

File:1936 United States presidential election results map by county.svg, Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote


Cartographic gallery

File:PresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif, Presidential election results by county File:DemocraticPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif, Democratic presidential election results by county File:RepublicanPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif, Republican presidential election results by county File:OtherPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif, "Other" presidential election results by county File:AmericanLaborPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif, American Labor presidential election results by county File:CartogramPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif,
Cartogram A cartogram (also called a value-area map or an anamorphic map, the latter common among German-speakers) is a thematic map of a set of features (countries, provinces, etc.), in which their geographic size is altered to be Proportionality (math ...
of presidential election results by county File:CartogramDemocraticPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif,
Cartogram A cartogram (also called a value-area map or an anamorphic map, the latter common among German-speakers) is a thematic map of a set of features (countries, provinces, etc.), in which their geographic size is altered to be Proportionality (math ...
of Democratic presidential election results by county File:CartogramRepublicanPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif,
Cartogram A cartogram (also called a value-area map or an anamorphic map, the latter common among German-speakers) is a thematic map of a set of features (countries, provinces, etc.), in which their geographic size is altered to be Proportionality (math ...
of Republican presidential election results by county File:CartogramOtherPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif,
Cartogram A cartogram (also called a value-area map or an anamorphic map, the latter common among German-speakers) is a thematic map of a set of features (countries, provinces, etc.), in which their geographic size is altered to be Proportionality (math ...
of "Other" presidential election results by county File:CartogramAmericanLaborPresidentialCounty1936Colorbrewer.gif,
Cartogram A cartogram (also called a value-area map or an anamorphic map, the latter common among German-speakers) is a thematic map of a set of features (countries, provinces, etc.), in which their geographic size is altered to be Proportionality (math ...
of American Labor presidential election results by county


Results by state


Close states

Margin of victory less than 5% (4 electoral votes): # New Hampshire, 1.75% (3,818 votes) Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (29 electoral votes): # Kansas, 7.72% (66,793 votes) # Massachusetts, 9.46% (174,103 votes) # Delaware, 9.77% (12,466 votes) Margin of victory Between 11% and 20% (214 electoral votes): # South Dakota, 11.53% (34,160 votes) # Iowa, 11.71% (133,779 votes) # Rhode Island, 12.92% (40,207 votes) # Vermont, 13.15% (18,889 votes) # Maine, 13.97% (42,490 votes) # Indiana, 14.74% (243,404 votes) # Connecticut, 14.97% (103,404 votes) # Pennsylvania, 16.04% (663,787 votes) # Nebraska, 16.40% (99,714 votes) # Michigan, 17.57% (317,061 votes) # Illinois, 18.01% (712,606 votes) # Kentucky, 18.59% (172,242 votes) # New York, 19.88% (1,112,552 votes) # New Jersey, 19.97% (363,528 votes) Tipping point state: # Ohio, 20.56% (619,285 votes)


Statistics

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic) # Issaquena County, Mississippi 100.00% #
Horry County, South Carolina Horry County ( ) is the easternmost county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nati ...
100.00%
# Lancaster County, South Carolina 100.00% #
Greensville County, Virginia Greensville County is a county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The ter ...
100.00%
#
Edgefield County, South Carolina Edgefield County is a County (United States), county located on the western border of the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2020 United States census, 2020 census, its population was 25,657. Its county seat and largest municipality is Edge ...
99.92%
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican) # Jackson County, Kentucky 89.05% #
Johnson County, Tennessee Johnson County is a county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is ...
84.39%
# Owsley County, Kentucky 83.02% # Leslie County, Kentucky 81.39% #
Avery County, North Carolina Avery County is a county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is d ...
77.98%
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Other) # Burke County, North Dakota 31.63% # Sheridan County, North Dakota 28.88% # Hettinger County, North Dakota 28.25% # Mountrail County, North Dakota 25.73% #
Steele County, North Dakota Steele County is a County (United States), county in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of the 2020 United States census, 2020 census, the population was 1,798, making it the fifth-least populous county in North Dakota. Its county seat since 19 ...
24.30%


See also

* History of the United States (1918–1945) * 1936 United States House of Representatives elections * 1936 United States Senate elections * Second inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt *
Earl Browder Earl Russell Browder (May 20, 1891 – June 27, 1973) was an American politician, communist activist and leader of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Browder was the General Secretary of the CPUSA during the 1930s and first half of the 1940s. Durin ...
*
Huey Long Huey Pierce Long Jr. (August 30, 1893September 10, 1935), nicknamed "the Kingfish", was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a United States senator The United States Senate is ...


Notes


References


Works cited

* * *


Further reading

* Andersen, Kristi. ''The Creation of a Democratic Majority: 1928–1936'' (1979), statistical * Brown, Courtney. "Mass dynamics of US presidential competitions, 1928–1936." ''American Political Science Review'' 82.4 (1988): 1153–1181
online
* Burns, James MacGregor. ''Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox'' (1956) * Campbell, James E. "Sources of the new deal realignment: The contributions of conversion and mobilization to partisan change." ''Western Political Quarterly'' 38.3 (1985): 357–376
online
* Fadely, James Philip. "Editors, Whistle Stops, and Elephants: the Presidential Campaign of 1936 in Indiana." ''Indiana Magazine of History'' 1989 85(2): 101–137. * Harrell, James A. "Negro Leadership in the Election Year 1936." ''Journal of Southern History'' 34.4 (1968): 546–564
online
* Kennedy, Patrick D. "Chicago's Irish Americans and the Candidacies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932-1944." ''Illinois Historical Journal'' 88.4 (1995): 263–278
online
* Leuchtenburg, William E. "Election of 1936", in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., ed., ''A History of American Presidential Elections'' vol 3 (1971), analysis and primary documents * McCoy, Donald. ''Landon of Kansas'' (1968) * Nicolaides, Becky M. "Radio Electioneering in the American Presidential Campaigns of 1932 and 1936," ''Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television,'' June 1988, Vol. 8 Issue 2, pp. 115–138 * Pietrusza, David ''Roosevelt Sweeps Nation: FDR’s 1936 Landslide and the Triumph of the Liberal Ideal'' (2022). * Savage, Sean J. "The 1936-1944 Campaigns," in William D. Pederson, ed. ''A Companion to Franklin D. Roosevelt'' (2011) pp 96–11
online
* Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. ''The Politics of Upheaval'' (1960) * Sheppard, Si. ''The Buying of the Presidency? Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the Election of 1936''. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2014. * Shover, John L. "The emergence of a two-party system in Republican Philadelphia, 1924-1936." ''Journal of American History'' 60.4 (1974): 985–1002
online
* Spencer, Thomas T. "'Labor is with Roosevelt:' The Pennsylvania Labor Non-Partisan League and the Election of 1936." ''Pennsylvania History'' 46.1 (1979): 3-16
online


Primary sources

* Cantril, Hadley and Mildred Strunk, eds.; ''Public Opinion, 1935–1946'' (1951), massive compilation of many public opinion polls from USA * Gallup, George H. ed. ''The Gallup Poll, Volume One 1935–1948'' (1972) statistical reports on each poll * Chester, Edward W ''A guide to political platforms'' (1977
online
* Porter, Kirk H. and Donald Bruce Johnson, eds. ''National party platforms, 1840-1964'' (1965
online 1840-1956


External links




Election of 1936 in Counting the Votes


{{Authority control Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt November 1936 events