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The Republican Party met in Cleveland, Ohio, in June, 1936. Landon, who had been elected governor of Kansas in 1934, the only Republican gubernatorial to be successful in the entire nation that year.Franklin D. Roosevelt was again nominated by the Democrats. In a speech in Chicago, on October 14, 1936, Roosevelt stated:"On this trip through the nation, I have talked to farmers. I have driven home that point."Tonight, in this center of business, I give the same message to the businessmen of America -- to chose who make and sell the processed goods the nation uses and to the men and women who work for them."To them I say: Do you have a deposit in a bank? It is safer today than it has ever been in our history. Last October 1 marked the end of the first full year in fifty-five years without a single failure of a national bank in the United States."Opposition of a less orthodox type than the Republican Party developed as well. Coughlan founded the National Union for Social Progress in November 1934 in opposition to the twin evils of capitalism and communism, both of which Coughlan declared to be rotten.The National Union attracted Dr. Huey P. Long advocated for a general redistribution of wealth and gravitated to the Union along with other radical thinkers. From this disparate group came a plan to run Long for president in 1936, but he was inconveniently assassinated on September 8, 1935.In the summer of 1936, the NUSP became the Union Party and held a national convention. Senator William E. Borah of Idaho participated and had some support. After receiving a minor number of votes in November 1936, the party largely disbanded in 1938.The Socialist Party again nominated Norman Thomas, who struggled to keep the platform of the party identified with positions significantly to the left of the Democrats. He succeeded, but the voting public did not regard the Socialist position as pragmatic and Thomas received fewer popular votes in 1936 than he did in 1932.The people responded to Roosevelt`s message. Before that time, Maine had been considered a bellwether for the national results, and a popular saying had been, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation." In 1936, this was changed to, "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont."On Capitol Hill, the results were equally lopsided. House of Representatives, the voters sent just 88 Republicans compared with 334 Democrats.National opinion polls were relatively new in 1936, but George Gallop and Elmo Roper both forecast a substantial victory for Roosevelt. Farley predicted to Roosevelt that in the 1936 election his boss would win every state except Vermont and Maine, which proved correct.The Literary Digest came to a different conclusion. Roosevelt`s landslide victory helped to put the Digest out of business.
|Election of 1936|
|Franklin D. Roosevelt (N.Y.)|
John N. Garner (Texas)
|Alfred M. Landon (Kansas.)|
Frank Knox (Illinois)
|William Lemke (North Dakota)|
Thomas C. O`Brian (Mass.)
Presidential Election of 1936 Facts and Outcome
The Presidential Election of 1936 would occur during the Great Depression and would be a time of realigning of political parties.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had begun his New Deal after winning the election of 1932. While his actions were noble they did little to stop the depression. the depression continued despite his reforms, however, he did give Americans hope and a vision into the future.
While the New Deal seemed admirable, Roosevelt was beginning to violate the Constitution in order to get his legislation passed. His New Deal was accused of being wasteful and inefficient. However, Americans were looking for answers, and Roosevelt seemed to have them.
Throughout FDR&rsquos first term he utilized the radio to communicate with Americans. These fireside chats were important to Americans as they would often gather around and listen to the President and hear the state of the union. His oratory skills were excellent and most Americans trusted him.
The Republicans did not seem to have much of an answer in this election.
The Candidates were as follows:
- Republican: Alf Landon and Vice President Frank Knox
- Democrats: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner
Chapter 8: Democratic Landslide
New Yorkers queue up in a bread line near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City in 1932 during the depths of the Great Depression.
Image courtesy of the FDR Library/National Archives and Records Administration
Oklahoma squatter’s family in California, c.a. 1935
Image courtesy of Library of Congress
Crews of transient men work in a commissary for surplus commodities in San Francisco, California, 27 December 1934
Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933
Image courtesy of Library of Congress
William Hudson cartoon depicts Republican difficulties campaigning against the Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation in 1936
Image courtesy of Library of Congress
Map of Florence Kahn’s congressional district, created by Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, based on “Statutes of California Forty-Ninth Session of the Legislature, 1931”
Main span of the Oakland–San Francisco Bay Bridge with the San Francisco, California, skyline, 8 July 1945
Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration
1936 Election Results
FDR's 1936 victory was the biggest electoral landslide in American history.
Republican candidate Alfred Landon carried just two states = Maine and Vermont. Long a bellwether of Presidential elections, Maine once boasted: "As Maine goes, so goes the nation." Now Democrats joked, "As Maine goes, so goes Vermont."
A powerful new Democratic majority emerged in 1936. Known as the "New Deal" coalition, it dominated national politics for decades. It included the traditionally Democratic South, along with urban ethnic voters, farmers and organized labor - whose ranks were growing rapidly with the help of the Wagner Act. African Americans were the final group in the coalition. Closely allied with the party of Lincoln since the Civil War, black voters moved decisively to the party of FDR in 1936.
The 10 biggest landslides in presidential election history
As we learned in the 10 closest elections of all time, many races are close and we don’t know until Election Night who won.
But some campaigns are over before they really ever begin. Here’s a look at the 10 biggest landslides in U.S. presidential history.
10. Lyndon Baines Johnson over Barry Goldwater (1964)
Electoral college results: 486-52
Electoral college vote percentage: 90.33
LBJ won 44 states and 61.1 percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage since the election of 1820 (which you’ll learn more about below).
9. Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter (1980)
(CARLOS SCHIEBECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Electoral college results: 489-49
Electoral college vote percentage: 90.89
Carter’s performance over the previous four years and the rise of the modern American conservative movement paved the way for Reagan to enjoy a huge victory. Reagan is the only non-incumbent to appear on this list.
8. Abraham Lincoln over George McClellan (1864)
Electoral college results: 212-21
Electoral college vote percentage: 90.99
Only 25 states participated in this election since 11 had seceded from the Union. Lincoln easily won re-election over former Union general George McClellan.
7. Thomas Jefferson over Charles C. Pinckney (1804)
Electoral college results: 162-14
Electoral college vote percentage: 92.05
The popular Louisiana Purchase buoyed Jefferson’s re-election bid. He won 72.8 percent of the vote against Federalist opponent Charles C. Pinckney from South Carolina.
6. Richard Nixon over George McGovern (1972)
Electoral college results: 520-17
Electoral college vote percentage: 96.65
Nixon won the election that spawned Watergate in a walk, taking 60.7 percent of the popular vote and winning every state except one (Massachusetts).
5. Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale (1984)
Electoral college results: 525-13
Electoral college vote percentage: 97.58
A strong economy lifted Reagan to a decisive re-election victory in every state except Mondale’s native Minnesota. His winning total of 525 electoral votes remains the highest number of electoral votes ever received by a presidential candidate.
4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt over Alf Landon (1936)
Electoral college results: 523-8
Electoral college vote percentage: 98.49
FDR won his first re-election bid easily as New Deal policies like Social Security and unemployment were hugely popular. Roosevelt won every state except for Maine and Vermont.
3. James Monroe (1820)
Electoral college results: 231-1
Electoral college vote percentage: 99.57
Monroe had an easy path to re-election as the Federalists were unable to put forward a candidate. Monroe would’ve been unanimously elected, were it not for a lone elector who gave his vote to John Quincy Adams.
1 and 2. George Washington
Washington ran unopposed twice for the newly-created position of president and won every electoral vote on each occasion.
5. Lyndon Johnson defeats Barry Goldwater, 1964 (22.58% margin)
In one of the most crushing Presidential election victories in U.S. history, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had been serving as the President of US.A. since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, defeated the Republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, in the elections of 1964. Throughout the campaign, Goldwater criticized Johnson’s liberal domestic agenda, and defended his own stance regarding vetoing the landmark Civil Rights Act. He also threatened to use force to dismantle Castro’s Communist government regime in Cuba, and hinted at the possibility of using nuclear weapons against North Vietnam to achieve the objectives of his own country. Goldwater’s stern delivery and harsh policies failed to influence the American populace. The election ended in a landslide victory for Johnson who, by a staggering margin of 22.58% in the popular vote, now became the U.S. President for a full term.
Roosevelt's Landslide Victory in the 1936 Presidential Election
KEY TOPICS KEY TOPICS KEY TOPICS KEY TOPICS What accounted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's landslide victory in the 1936 presidential election? A) The apathy of most Republican voters B) The Republican Party's inability to disseminate its message C) The New Deal's extreme popularity among American voters D) The old age and poor health of his opponent, Alf Landon 86.  KEY TOPICS KEY TOPICS He was best known as a Republican Presidential Nominee, defeated in a landslide victory by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1936 presidential election.  KEY TOPICS After the Supreme Court declares the National Recovery Act unconstitutional, and with his landslide victory in the 1936 Presidential election, Franklin Roosevelt attempts to shore up his other New Deal reforms by devising a plan to "pack" the Supreme Court with judges sympathetic to his mission.  According to historian Michael J. Webber, Roosevelt’s landslide victory was a result of the formation of a "New Deal coalition," which consisted of "organized labor, religious and ethnic minorities, the urban poor, liberals and progressives" (Webber, Michael J. New Deal Fat Cats: Business, Labor, and Campaign Finance in the 1936 Presidential Election.  President Roosevelt won a landslide victory in the 1936 presidential election. 
This line of inquiry was born out of President Franklin Roosevelt's landslide victory in the 1936 election. 
What accounted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's landslide victory in the 1936 presidential election? A) The apathy of most Republican voters B) The Republican Party's inability to disseminate its message C) The New Deal's extreme popularity among American voters D) The old age and poor health of his opponent, Alf Landon 86. 
The landslide victory in the 1936 election emboldened the president to propose a plan that would change the political balance in the Supreme Court by adding new judges of his choice and thus increasing the number of Supreme Court justices.  Despite Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide victory, few elections have held more lasting significance for political scientists, historians, and communication scholars than the presidential election of 1932.  The 1936 Presidential election pitted Democratic President and former New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice President John Garner, who were elected in a landslide four years prior, against the Republican ticket of Kansas Governor Alf Landon and Chicago newspaper publisher Frank Knox.  Incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt won 60.8 percent of the popular vote in the 1936 Presidential election, with a margin of victory over Republican Alfred E. Landon of 24.26 percent. 
The 1924 American presidential election saw the second greatest landslide victory in the history of the United States, when President Calvin Coolidge, the Republican candidate in the elections, defeated John Davis, the Democratic candidate.  The 1928 Presidential Election ushered in a landslide victory for the Republican candidate, Herbert Hoover, who won by the large margin of 17.41% in the elections.  Jon D. of King of Prussia, Pa. writes in with a Mailbag Friday question: " There has been a lot of talk about a landslide victory during this recent presidential election. 
Literary Digest poll: In the 1936 presidential election, Republican candidate Alf Landon challenged President Franklin Roosevelt.  The Republican party during the 1936 presidential election was firmly against the measures implemented by the Roosevelt Administration and as a result were "anti-New Deal", as Knott’s cartoon suggests.  These measures aimed to increase consumption and decrease unemployment and also added "new social welfare benefits, such as retirement pensions and unemployment insurance." (Savage 846) When the 1936 presidential election and the illustration of Knott’s cartoon came about, the country needed to decide whether to continue with such policies and reelect Roosevelt or to abandon the New Deal and bring in a Republican presidential elect.  The Democratic party during the 1936 presidential election was prepared to back Roosevelt and his New Deal policies.  Cartoonist John Knott provides his audience with a glimpse of various points of views on New Deal policies implemented by the Roosevelt Administration prior to the 1936 presidential election.  The Campaign is On! is a political cartoon by John Francis Knott displaying the partisan views of New Deal policies as a solution to the Great Depression preceding the 1936 presidential election.  The Presidential election "was, in many ways, a referendum on the activist role taken on by the federal government since the inception of the New Deal." (Webber, Michael J. New Deal Fat Cats: Business, Labor, and Campaign Finance in the 1936 Presidential Election.  The Campaign is On! by John Francis Knott provides the viewer with a snapshot of various points of views on New Deal policies leading into the 1936 presidential election. 
The presidential election of 1936 was the most lopsided U.S. presidential election in terms of electoral votes and the second biggest victory in terms of the popular vote.  The 1936 presidential election was known as one of the most lopsided presidential elections in the history of United States in terms of electoral votes since Monroe’s in 1820 (Boller, P.249).  He was the Republican Party’s nominee in the 1936 presidential election, Landon was born in 1887 in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, the son of Anne and John Manuel Landon.  Whatever the outcome of such debates, there can be little doubt that the 1936 presidential election was a pivotal moment in American political history, marking one of the few occasions when a coalition of minorities normally outside the American power structure was able to exert a significant influence on the political process.  The 1936 Presidential Election Catholics and Politics American Catholic History Classroom You are using an outdated browser.  In the 1936 Presidential election, Americans reelected FDR to a second term.  Previous studies of the 1936 presidential election discuss elements such as FDR's vulnerability before the campaign and the weakness of Republican candidate Alf Landon.  This year marks the 70th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s defeat of Alf Landon in the 1936 presidential election.  To say that Alf Landon didn’t do too well in the 1936 presidential election is a bit of an understatement.  Problem 21E: Literary Digest poll: In the 1936 presidential election, Rep.  The 1936 presidential election proved a decisive battle, not only in shaping the nation's political future but for the future of opinion polling.  The 1936 presidential election was extraordinarily lopsided.  The 1936 presidential election serves as a statistical outlier.  New Website on 1936 Presidential Election University Libraries You are using an outdated browser. 
In the wake of Franklin Roosevelt's landslide reelection victory in 1936, it was an open question whether the Republican Party was capable of serving as a viable opposition party.  The United States Presidential Election of 1972 was held on November 7, and led to the victory of the Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, over the Democratic candidate, George McGovern, by a landslide.  Roosevelt's victory is by no means the only lopsided presidential election. 
The most lopsided president election in U.S. history was Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1936 victory against Republican Alfred M. Landon.  In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt won a landslide election victory over Republican challenger Alfred M. "Alf" Landon. 
It certainly did in 1936 when Liberty Digest predicted a landslide victory for Alf Landon over Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Millions of Catholic voters helped bring Roosevelt his landslide victory in 1936.  The Nixon landslide victory tied FDR’s 60.8 percent of the popular vote in 1936 for the second largest popular vote get in American history. 
On November 3, 1936, in a landslide win, incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected to the U.S. Presidential office after defeating the Republican candidate, Alf Landon.  The crushing defeat by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt of his Republican challenger Alfred M. Landon in the presidential election of 1936 was a watershed in American politics.  The presidential election of 1936 pitted Alfred Landon, the Republican governor of Kansas, against the incumbent President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. 
The presidential election of 1936 between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alfred Landon of Kansas was the most lopsided presidential election in U.S. history in terms of electoral votes. 
Among the strangest stories to come out of the 1936 presidential election was the infamous Literary Digest "Poll That Changed Polling."  In December 1936, Dr. George Gallup -- founder and then director of the American Institute of Public Opinion, the forerunner of the Gallup poll -- asked a national sample of Americans, "Do you think the Republican Party is dead?" Fortunately for the GOP, just 27% thought it was although, in a follow-up question, only 31% believed it would win the next presidential election.  On election day, November 3, 1936, he was voted back into office in 1936 by the largest popular majority achieved by any presidential nominee up until that time.  When Republicans began winning in Maine’s September 1936 elections, members of the party began touting the phrase in anticipation of a presidential victory against incumbent Franklin Roosevelt that November.  Incumbent Democratic President Lyndon Johnson won 61.05 percent of the popular vote in the 1964 Presidential election, with a margin of victory over Republican Barry Goldwater of 22.58 percent.  Incumbent Republican President Ronald Reagan won 58.77 percent of the popular vote in the 1984 Presidential election, with a margin of victory over Democrat Walter Mondale of 18.21 percent.  Incumbent Republican President Richard M. Nixon won 60.67 percent of the popular vote in the 1972 Presidential election, with a margin of victory over Democrat George McGovern of 23.15 percent.  Republican Warren G. Harding won 60.32 percent of the popular vote in the 1920 Presidential election, with a margin of victory over Democrat James M. Cox of 26.17 percent. 
The Presidential Election of the United States of America that was held on November 6, 1984, led to a major victory for the Republican presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan. 
In the 1932 presidential election, Roosevelt defeated incumbent Republican president Herbert Hoover in a landslide to win the presidency, Roosevelt took office while in the United States was in the midst of the worst economic crisis in its history.  It was not surprising, therefore, that Roosevelt managed to defeat the Democrat Party nominee, Alton Parker, in a landslide win in the presidential elections of 1904, when he came to office for a full term in his own right.  A landslide presidential election, in other words, may not always result in a similarly wide margin in popular vote because many U.S. states award electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state.  Roosevelt won all but two states and 8 electoral votes en route to won of the largest landslides in presidential election history. 
The United States presidential election of 1936 was the most lopsided presidential election in the history of the United States in terms of electoral votes.  United States presidential election of 1936, American presidential election held on Nov. 3, 1936, in which Democratic Pres.  By the presidential election of 1936, the Democratic Party's electoral base rested largely upon the support of the "Solid" South, northern cities, immigrants, African Americans, ethnic and non-Protestant religious groups, women, working people, and organized labor.  The emphatic affirmation of the New Deal by the electorate in the Presidential Election of 1936, as demonstrated by the avalanche of voter enthusiasm in the New York metropolitan area, was emblematic of the emergence of a new Democratic voting bloc.  Presidential Election of 1936 Landon attacked the administration of the New Deal, while supporting its goals.  …defeat Alf Landon in the U.S. presidential election of 1936, despite the counter-predictions of other polls at that time.  The results of the 1936 U.S. presidential election are provided in the table. 
The Election of 1936 The Great Depression continued throughout Roosevelt's first term.  To become the record landslider of recent times, Mr Nixon needs to finish with more than 61.1 per cent of the votes scored by President Johnson over Senator Goldwater in 1964 and President Roosevelt's 60.8 victory in 1936.  The only candidate to surpass Roosevelt's victory was Ronald Reagan in the 1984 election when there were 7 more electoral votes available to contest.  There is no legal or constitutional definition of what a landslide election is, or how wide an electoral victory margin must be in order for a candidate to have won in a landslide.  How big is a "resounding victory?" Is there a certain margin of victory that qualifies as a landslide election? How many electoral votes do you have to win to achieve a landslide? It turns out there is no consensus on the specifics of a landslide definition.  The facts of the case as others have presented--that Trump received a smaller proportion of the popular vote, won the electoral vote and the election, yet won the electoral vote at a lower number than many past presidents --undermine the judgment of this being a landslide victory.  The election ended in a landslide victory for Johnson who, by a staggering margin of 22.58% in the popular vote, now became the U.S. President for a full term. 
The 1804 election was a landslide victory for the incumbent Thomas Jefferson and vice-presidential candidate George Clinton (Republicans) over the Federalist candidates, Charles C. Pinckney and Rufus King.  Smith is credited with drawing millions of urban ethnic voters to the polls and into the Democratic Party, but he lost the election, giving Herbert Hoover a landslide victory.  Roosevelt united all wings of his party, avoided divisive cultural issues, while Hoover won the last election by a landslide victory margin of 17. 4%, Roosevelt won this election by 17. 7%.  A landslide victory in politics is any election in which the victor wins by an overwhelming margin. 
Using the standard definition of a landslide victory in presidential politics, when one candidate wins at least 375 electoral votes, here's list of contested presidential races that were among the most lopsided in American history. 
A must-read for students of American politics." --Davis Houck, Florida State University "Mary Stuckey's Voting Deliberatively: FDR and the 1936 Presidential Campaign demonstrates that the roots of many common practices that define both presidential campaigns and the 'rhetorical presidency' can be traced to the groundbreaking campaign of Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.  Most notably, Burke conferred with the President at the White House in August 1936 on how to deal with the stinging attacks that another Catholic priest, Charles Coughlin, was making against Roosevelt during the 1936 presidential campaign.  Organizations such as the National Alliance of Bohemian Catholics, Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance, Polish National Catholic Church, and Slovak Catholic Sokol expressed public support for Roosevelt and the New Deal during the 1936 presidential campaign. 
The 1936 presidential campaign focused on class to an unusual extent for American politics.  I highly recommend this book to all students of the American presidency." --Martin J. Medhurst, Baylor University "Mary Stuckey's Voting Deliberatively offers a fresh and innovative analysis of FDR's campaign rhetoric and organization that makes plain the historical significance and contemporary salience of the 1936 presidential campaign. 
The United States presidential election of 1936 was the thirty-eighth quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1936.  Maine once held a similar political record, voting from 1856 through 1960 for the Republican candidate in every presidential election but one, when in 1912, the state gave Democrat Woodrow Wilson a plurality with 39.43% of the vote.  Who will win the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and why? Which party: Democrat or Republican? Which nominees are the most likely to win thei.  From 1856 through 1960, Vermont gave the state’s electoral votes to the Republican Party nominee in every presidential election.  One generally agreed upon definition of an Electoral College landslide is a presidential election in which the winning candidate secures at least 375 or 70 percent of the electoral votes.  Taking place every four years, presidential campaigns and elections have evolved into a series of fiercely fought, and sometimes controversial, contests, now played out in the 24-hour news cycle.The stories behind each election--some ending in landslide victories, others decided by the narrowest of margins--provide a roadmap to the events of U.S. history.  Considering Republicans had an unstoppable winning streak of landslide presidential elections in 1980, 1984, and 1988, why did they never take.  Republicans won five out of the six Presidential elections from 1968 through 1988.  FDR won all but two states, and went on to win two more presidential elections.  Roosevelt was not rejected as Hoover had been - indeed he went on to win the next two presidential elections.  Roosevelt received 60.8 percent of the popular vote and the plurality (11,072,350) was the largest in presidential election history.  "It was not a scientific poll," says Allan Lichtman, a distinguished history professor at American University who has correctly predicted every U.S. presidential election since 1984, including this year’s.  In one of the most crushing Presidential election victories in U.S. history, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had been serving as the President of U.S. since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, defeated the Republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, in the elections of 1964.  The 1832 American Presidential election was unique, in that it was the first election in U.S. history where Presidential candidates were nominated by national nominating conventions.  With a margin of 23.15%, this is the 4th largest margin of victory in U.S. Presidential election history.  The 'Intra-War Era', including the Roaring Twenties and the worst of the Great Depression, saw 5 of the 10 largest margins of victory ever in U.S. Presidential Elections. 
By the 1936 election, therefore, most business leaders were firmly committed to a Republican victory and provided up to 80 percent of the $8.8 million that Republicans spent on the campaign. 
For the 1936 election, the Literary Digest prediction was that Landon would get 57% of the vote against Roosevelt's 43% (these are the statistics that the poll measured).  New Deal Coalition : A coalition of many diverse groups of voters and interest groups that emerged during the 1932 election and solidified during the 1936 election in support of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.  Roosevelt's con- duct of the 1936 election is a particularly good way to access these elements because it stands at the intersection of differing understandings of campaigning and American politics. 
Why? Prior to the 1936 election, the phrase, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation" reflected Maine’s status as a predictor of successful presidential contenders.  In one of the great controversies in modern politics (and TV news coverage), the TV networks called the presidential race for Al Gore, then George Bush, and then for no candidate after exit polls indicated Gore had won Florida--and the 2000 presidential election.  This prestigious national magazine had conducted straw polls of its readers in six previous presidential elections and had correctly predicted the outcome every time.  The Literary Digest, an influential weekly magazine of the time, had begun political polling and had correctly predicted the outcome of the previous five presidential elections.  The Literary Digest used national straw polls in 1920, 1924, 1928 and 1932, and it guessed the winner of each presidential election.  The first Democrat has entered the 2020 presidential election in the hopes of challenging President Donald Trump.  It will be the "57th quadrennial presidential election, in which presidential electors, who will elect the President and Vice President of the United States on December 17, 2012"(2012 Presidential").  Roosevelt defeated the Republican candidate Herbert Hoover by a margin of 17.76% in the 1932 Presidential Elections.  Though Republican candidates would prevail in seven of the next 15 presidential elections, from 1940 to 1996, between the Roosevelt era and 1995 the GOP controlled both houses of Congress only during 1953-55. 
"If the people command me to continue in this office and in this war," he said, "I have as little right to withdraw as the soldier has to leave his post in the line." 6 Roosevelt won his fourth presidential election by more than 3 ½ million votes over his opponent, Thomas E. Dewey.  A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and emerged as a figure in world events during the mid-20th century.  The U.S. Presidential election of 1920 was influenced by the aftermath of World War I. The country was facing one of its most difficult times, and there was utter chaos within the country.  The United States presidential election of 1932 took place against the backdrop of the Great Depression. 
Ronald Reagan's 1984 presidential victory is considered to be a landslide.  Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat) defeated Herbert Hoover (Republican) in a landslide victory brought on by the onset of the Great Depression.  In 1932, amid the Great Depression, Roosevelt had won a landslide victory over incumbent Herbert Hoover, ending 12 years of Republican rule.  Reagan won a landslide victory, and Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time in twenty-five years. 
The pollsters at the magazine simply totaled the cards for each candidate and then declared a landslide victory for Landon (57%) to defeat Roosevelt (43%), the one-term incumbent president.  This was the primary cause that was said to have led to the landslide victory of Hoover's opponent, the Democrat candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Gallup's group not only predicted a landslide victory for Roosevelt, but also correctly predicted what the Literary Digest poll would show, based on sampling of Digest readers.  Roosevelt and Garner did indeed defeat Herbert Hoover and Charles Curtis in a landslide victory.  Herbert Hoover (Republican) defeated Al Smith (Democrat) in a landslide victory.  Hoover's fame and his pledge to continue to pro-business policies of Harding and Coolidge that had catapulted the country into so much prosperity resulted in a landslide victory again for the Republicans, with Hoover outclassing Smith 444-87 (and even claiming Smith's home state of New York.)  This quilt commemorates the President's landslide victory over his opponent, Republican Alfred M. Landon of Kansas.  President Nixon has won four more years in the White House with a landslide victory which by late tonight was being compared with George Washington's.  His landslide victory that year signified the people's verdict on the New Deal.  Political journalists have offered their own suggested guidelines for determining a landslide victory over the years. 
Roosevelt won the 1936 election in a landslide and was feeling a bit emboldened. 
In one of the most crushing Presidential election victories in U.S. history, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had been serving as the President of U.S.A. since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, defeated the Republican candidate, Barry Goldwater, in the elections of 1964. 
POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner were re-nominated without opposition, with the backing of party leaders, Landon defeated progressive Senator William Borah at the 1936 Republican National Convention to win his party's presidential nomination.  POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL On Nov. 3, 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide over his Republican challenger, Kansas Governor Alfred M. "Alf" Landon.  POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL POSSIBLY USEFUL The mother of all botched political polls was a 1936 Literary Digest straw poll survey that said GOP challenger Alf Landon would win in a landslide over the incumbent, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with 57 percent of the vote.  In 1936, the American weekly Literary Digest confidently predicted that Republican Alf Landon would defeat the Democratic incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide. 
Roosevelt was up for re- election in 1936 and faced Republican Alf Landon.  The 1936 vote was what many students of politics describe as "a transforming election" that made the Democratic Party the majority party in the nation for many elections to come.  Father Charles Coughlin, a former FDR supporter who had become an outspoken critic of the President during the 1936 campaign, actively campaigned against him in the months before the election.  Democrats emerged from the election of 1936 with 76 seats to just 16 for the Republicans.  That was a time when Republicans recovered from their 1936 devastating loss and recorded substantial gains in Congress in the aftermath of the 1938 midterm election.  Despite the 1936 loss in congressional elections and historically low numbers of Republican representatives and senators, they remained a potent force in Congress.  Of the elections listed, we’d have to go with Franklin Roosevelt’s win in 1936. 
Franklin Roosevelt, Dem. defeats Alf Landon, Rep. 24.26% 1936 At the Republican convention that occurred in Cleveland, Landon was the first runner for the presidential nomination.  Franklin Roosevelt, Dem. defeats Alf Landon, Rep. 24.26% 1936 By then it had became clear that Landon's only hope of victory was if third parties could attract votes away from the president.  President Franklin Roosevelt, following his overwhelming victory in 1936, took this as a mandate to oppose conservative Democratic Senators in the 1938 primaries and to reorganize the Supreme Court to get decisions more to his liking. 
Catholics and the 1936 Roosevelt Victory Catholics and Politics American Catholic History Classroom You are using an outdated browser.  National opinion polls were relatively new in 1936, but George Gallop and Elmo Roper both forecast a substantial victory for Roosevelt. 
Scholars and pundits alike consider Franklin D. Roosevelt an eloquent speaker, a master of radio, a public communicator par excellence and understand these traits as fundamental to his political success.6 Focusing on Roosevelt's communicative skill, however, can lead us to overlook his dedication to organizational politics.7 His 1936 campaign used a variety of mobilization techniques that are now commonplace but which were, for their time, revolutionary.  The Political Graveyard: Election of 1936 Questions? Return to The Political Graveyard main page.  Most political scientists and historians agree that the elections of 1932, 1934, and 1936 saw a "political realignment," that is, an emergence of a new and powerful coalition of voters that would come to shape the outcome of subsequent elections at least until the late 1960s.  In its August 22, 1936 issue, the Litereary Digest announced: Once again, asking more than ten million voters -- one out of four, representing every county in the United States -- to settle November's election in October.  On election day, November 3, 1936, "a crowd estimated by the police at "a million’ persons kept Times Square and the theater district in continual uproar last night as news of the President’s reelection flashed from The Times tower" (" Election Crowd in a Merry Mood."  Election of 1936 - Dictionary definition of Election of 1936. 
The election took place against the backdrop of the Great Depression that ruined the promises of incumbent President, the Democratic nomination went to the well-known governor of the most populous state, New Yorks Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been reelected governor in a landslide in 1930.  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 61.1 percent share of the popular vote in 1964, Roosevelt’s 60.8 percent is the second-largest percentage in U.S. history since the nearly unopposed election of James Monroe in 1820, and his 98.5% of the electoral vote is the highest in two-party competition.  The Democrat candidate, Walter Mondale, was defeated in this election by a margin of 18.21%, a major landslide in U.S. election history.  Under that scenario a landslide would occur when the winning candidate in a two-way election receives 58 percent of the vote, leaving his opponent with 42 percent.  One generally agreed upon measure of a landslide election is when the winning candidate beats his opponent or opponents by at least 15 percentage points in a popular vote count.  The online political news source Politico has defined a landslide election as being on in which the winning candidate beats his opponent by at least 10 percentage points, for example. 
The election was fought in the shadow of World War II in Europe, incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate, broke with tradition and ran for a third term, which became a major issue.  On election eve, from his 12-by-12-foot study, Roosevelt gave a nonpartisan nationwide radio address, urging only that his fellow Americans vote for the candidate of their choice.  On November 8, 1932, Roosevelt cast his vote in the little Town Hall of Hyde Park, New York, and chatted with some of the townspeople, as was his custom, before continuing on to the Democratic Headquarters in New York City to learn the outcome of the election.  In mid-1938, Roosevelt embarked on a campaign to deprive a number of anti-New Deal congressional Democrats of renomination in local Democratic primary elections.  The election saw the consolidation of the New Deal coalition while the Democrats lost some of their traditional allies in big business, 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.  Roosevelt won the highest share of the popular and electoral vote since the uncontested 1820 election, the sweeping victory consolidated the New Deal Coalition in control of the Fifth Party System.  Enough New Yorkers voted for Birney to throw 36 electoral votes and the election to Polk, who won the electoral college, 170-105, and a slim popular victory.  He’d just led the Allies to victory in Europe, and "politicians and commentators confidently predicted that he would lead the Conservatives to victory at the forthcoming general election," writes Paul Addison, author of Churchill: The Unexpected Hero, for BBC. The Literary Digest, which had correctly predicted the winner of the last 5 elections, announced in its October 31 issue that Landon would be the winner with 370 electoral votes.  A more detailed study in 1988 showed that both the initial sample and non-response bias were contributing factors, and that the error due to the initial sample taken alone would not have been sufficient to predict the Landon victory, this mistake by the Literary Digest proved to be devastating to the magazine's credibility and it ceased publishing within a few months of the election. 
The term became popular in the 1800s to define a "resounding victory one in which the opposition is buried" in an election, according to the late New York Times political writer William Safire in his Safire's Political Dictionary.  In terms of the popular vote, it was the third biggest victory since the election of 1820, which was not seriously contested.  The outcome of this year's election was not something I would have expected--an Electoral College victory for Trump despite a popular vote majority for Clinton.  "All of the polls were pointing to a Dewey victory, but they stopped polling a few weeks before the election," Lichtman says.  He’d just led the Allies to victory in Europe, and "politicians and commentators confidently predicted that he would lead the Conservatives to victory at the forthcoming general election," writes Paul Addison, author of Churchill: The Unexpected Hero, for BBC. 
The nation’s most respected survey on the presidential question, the Literary Digest poll, which had accurately predicted the previous five elections, announced that the Republican candidate, Alf Landon, would win.  It is possible to win the popular vote and lose the presidential race, as happened in the 2000 and 2016 elections because of the way electoral votes are distributed by states.  The 1796 election, which took place against a background of increasingly harsh partisanship between Federalists and Republicans, was the first contested presidential race.  McGovern ran an anti-war campaign that was well appreciated by many, though his 'outsider' status, and the scandal surrounding his Vice Presidential Democrat nominee, Thomas Eagleton, contributed to his failure in winning the election.  In the 1920 elections, the Democrats nominated a newspaper publisher, Governor James M. Cox, as their Presidential candidate, while the Republicans chose another newspaper publisher, Senator Warren G. Harding, to act as their own.  The Democratic Party nominated Roosevelt as its presidential candidate for the 1932 election. 
Roosevelt also won the highest share of the popular vote since 1820, though Lyndon B. Johnson would later win a slightly higher share of the popular vote in the 1964 election.  Straw polls were actually started in 1824 in Pennsylvania, when a Harrisburg newspaper forecast that Andrew Jackson would win the popular vote in the general election by a wide margin. (Jackson did, but lost the presidency in the House, since he didn’t have a majority of electoral votes.)  That same year, George Gallup, 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.  Gallup's poll not only predicted that Roosevelt would win the election - based on a sample of 50,000 people - he also predicted that the error in the Literary Digest results. 
The actual results of the election were 62% for Roosevelt against 38% for Landon (these were the parameters the poll was trying to measure).  In the actual election, Roosevelt took 62% of the popular vote against 38% for Landon.  In this election, Franklin Delano Roosevelt also known as FDR campaigned on his New Deal programs against the Kansas Governor Alf Landon.  The depressed state of the U.S. economy determined the 1932 election contest between the incumbent, Herbert Hoover, and the challenger, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Four years ago, our figures gave the State to Mr. Roosevelt, and Mr. Hoover carried it on Election day. 
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.  Electoral College (United States) - Citizens of the United States vote in each state at a general election to choose a slate of electors pledged to vote for a partys candidate.  The election, the first waged following the "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision that allowed for increased political contributions, cost more than $2.6 billion, with the two major party candidates spending close to $1.12 billion that cycle.  Roosevelts trip to Chicago was the first of several successful, precedent-making moves designed to make him appear to be the candidate of change in the election.  She also helped president Franklin D. Roosevelt during his election.  The Election of 1952 Truman decided not to run for re-election in 1952 (although he could have legally run again, having become President when Roosevelt died and then served only one full term).  Following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, the late President's running mate in the election of 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, then aged 42, was appointed as the President. 
Incorrect Republicans gained seven seats in the Senate and eighty in the House in the congressional elections. (True Answer )Correct Roosevelt was unable to gain support for his plan to nationalize banking and agriculture.  In this election Republican James Monroe won the presidency with 183 electoral votes, carrying every state except Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware.  On election day, FDR won 55 percent of the popular vote and the electoral votes of thirty-eight states.  Van Buren won the election with 764,198 popular votes, only 50.9 percent of the total, and 170 electoral votes. 
It was the first such election since 1888, when Benjamin Harris became president after winning more electoral votes but losing the popular vote to Grover Cleveland.  This race, marred by negative campaigning and corruption, ended in the election of the first Democratic president since 1856. 
Although the Republicans in the same election had won a decisive majority of 65 to 39 in the House, election of the president fell to the outgoing House, which had a Federalist majority.  Having narrowly won the gubernatorial election in 1932, he was the only Republican governor in the nation to win reelection in 1934, a fact that immediately propelled him into the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency. 
In the 2016 election, Donald Trump won the Electoral College tally by taking traditionally Democratic states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  FDR won the election in a walk, amassing huge majorities in the popular vote and in the Electoral College.  Sources: Electoral and popular vote totals based on data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, 4th ed. (2001).  The 2000 election was the fourth election in U.S. history in which the winner of the electoral votes did not carry the popular vote.  The election ended in one the largest political scandals in U.S. history, being the Watergate break-in, and cover-up, by President Richard Nixon. 
If anything, the election was a strong rejection of President Wilson and an endorsement of the Republican candidate’s call for a "return to normalcy."  In many respects, Willkie was just the type of liberal Republican that FDR wanted to lure into the Democratic PartyDuring the initial weeks of the election season, FDR looked strong even though he campaigned only from the White House.  When Republicans and Democrats faced off for the 1938 midterm elections, it had been a decade since Republicans had done well in congressional elections. 
Another state that had been reliably Republican for a very long time before 1936 was Pennsylvania, which Roosevelt was the first Democrat to carry since "favorite son" James Buchanan won Pennsylvania in 1856.  Polling results vary depending on what sample is used -- which is why in 1936, pollsters predicted Franklin Roosevelt would lose in a landslide.  'Passable' turnouts associated with landslides are, FDR's 1936 LBJ T Roosevelt 1904 Eisenhower 1956 & 1952. 
Along with the landslide vote for Roosevelt came winning votes the country over for Democratic congress candidates who will control congress for the president.  They lost in a landslide, winning just Maine and Vermont against the Democratic ticket of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during World War II, Knox again was an advocate of preparedness. 
The man given the unenviable task of trying to unseat President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 was Alfred Mossman Landon, the forty-eight year old Republican governor of Kansas.  From among several governors and senators running in the 1936 primaries, the Republicans finally chose Kansas Governor Alfred "Alf" Landon as their presidential candidate.  In 1936, Landon sought the Republican presidential nominee opposing the re-election of FDR. He was also the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1936, Knox was mentioned by name in Adolf Hitlers speech of December 11,1941, in which Hitler asked for a German declaration of war against the United States. 
Interestingly, 1936 was also the first year the Gallup company conducted its famous presidential polls.  "Editors, Whistle Stops, and Elephants: the Presidential Campaign of 1936 in Indiana." 
Roosevelt`s campaign manager James A. Farley predicted to Roosevelt that in the 1936 election his boss would win every state except Vermont and Maine, which proved correct.  One famous example was the Literary Digest's poll for the 1936 election between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alf Landon.  Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt won the 1936 election with 523 electoral votes, while his opponent Alfred M. Landon received 8.  President Roosevelt won the 1936 election easily, with 63 percent of the vote, and the Literary Digest was out of business the following year.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the 1936 election with nearly 61 percent of the vote, capturing forty-six of the forty- eight states, losing only in Maine and Vermont.  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. 
After being elevated to the presidency by John F. Kenndy's assassination in 1963, Johnson won election in his own right with over 61 percent of the popular vote.  No major-party candidate has won so few electoral votes since this election.  Roosevelt won the highest share of the popular and electoral vote since the largely uncontested 1820 election.  Roosevelt won the election by a huge landslide, securing 60.8% of the popular vote to Landon’s 36.5%. 
There is and always has been a tension between inclusion and efficiency, and there has always been a tendency among those who are included to generalize their interests to that of the "public interest."4 This election is interesting partly because those problems and potential solutions were very much on the minds of those involved in the Roosevelt campaign.  When the election results were in, Democrats had lost six Senate seats and 71 House seats in what former Roosevelt advisor Raymond Moley called "a comeback of astounding proportions."  The most recent was the 44th president Barack Obama, who held the office from 2009 to 2017, in the 115th Congress, following the 2016 elections, Democrats are the opposition party, holding a minority of seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Another interesting fact about this election was that for the first time in the country’s history, a major party had a female on its ticket, as Mondale and the Democrats had decided to select Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate.  The party took on the mission of preserving the Union, and destroying slavery during the American Civil War, in the election of 1864, it united with War Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket.  Dwight Eisenhower (Republican) defeated Adlai Stevenson (Democrat), in a rematch of the 1952 election.  Two sets of election returns existed-one from the Democrats, one from the Republicans. 
His opponent in the election was Republican businessman Wendell Wilkie, who emphasized that Roosevelt's policies hadn't dragged the country out of the Great Depression and that war loomed on the horizon.  The significance of the 1800 election lay in the fact that it entailed the first peaceful transfer of power between parties under the U.S. Constitution: Republican Thomas Jefferson succeeded Federalist John Adams.  The Election of 1944 With World War II still raging, Roosevelt ran again in 1944, campaigning on the strength of America's turning back the tide of the war in both Europe and the Pacific. (After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. had entered the war and fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan.  In the late afternoon on Election Day, throngs of Roosevelt supporters congregated in Times Square to watch as the incoming returns were displayed on The Times Building.  In comparing our ballot this year with that of 1932, we find that in many cities in Pennsylvania our figures showed a much higher trend toward Mr. Roosevelt than was justified by the election figures on Election day in 1932. 
This result threw the election into the House of Representatives, where each state had one vote, to be decided by the majority of its delegation.  With the election of a sectional northern candidate, the Deep South seceded from the Union, followed within a few months by several states of the Upper South.  This election remains the last time a Democratic candidate ever carried Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Douglas County, Nevada, Josephine County, Oregon, Ada County, Idaho, Hughes County, South Dakota and over thirty smaller counties in Nebraska and Kansas.  At that time, Democrats entirely dominated politics in Texas, thus the Democratic primary election was the real election, with the general election being a formality. 
By the time of the election campaign, Truman was deeply unpopular, having clashed with leaders of Congress and failed to live up to many people's expectations, following in the footsteps of the hugely popular FDR. Dewey's campaign was lackluster Truman's was not. 
The election was the first held under the Twelfth Amendment, which separated electoral college balloting for president and vice president.  In this historic election, Barack Obama became the first African-American to become president. 
The Literary Digest, which had correctly predicted the winner of the last 5 elections, announced in its October 31 issue that Landon would be the winner with 370 electoral votes.  This election is notable for The Literary Digest poll, which was based on ten million questionnaires mailed to readers and potential readers 2.3 million were returned. 
RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(20 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)
Why we talk about it
What do we learn from this? An incorrect sample frame can destroy a study, regardless of the sample size. The researchers surveyed over 2 million people (today’s typical political survey asks between 500 & 1000 respondents), yet it missed about as badly as possible.
Also, sample size isn’t everything. Once you reach a certain number of respondents (typically around 500) additional responses begin to deliver diminishing returns.
Answer key questions quickly and easily with research panels - download the panel management ebook
Election of 1936: A Democratic Landslide - History
President Roosevelt was overwhelmingly re-elected in the election of 1936. He carried every state but Maine and Vermont, easily defeating the Republican candidate Governor Alf Landon of Kansas. Democrats won an equally lopsided victory in the congressional races: 331 to 89 seats in the House and 76 to 16 seats in the Senate.
In his second inaugural address in early 1937, Franklin Roosevelt promised to press for new social legislation. "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished," he told the country. Yet instead of pursuing new reforms, he allowed his second term to bog-down in political squabbles. He wasted his energies on an ill-conceived battle with the Supreme Court and an abortive effort to purge the Democratic Party.
On "Black Monday," May 27, 1935, the Supreme Court struck down a basic part of Roosevelt's program of recovery and reform. A kosher chicken dealer sued the government, charging that the NRA was unconstitutional. In its famous "dead chicken" decision, Schechter v. the U.S. , the court agreed. The case affirmed that Congress had delegated excessive authority to the president and had improperly involved the federal government in regulating interstate commerce. Complained Roosevelt, "We have been relegated to the horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce."
In June 1936, the court ruled the Agricultural Adjustment Act--another of the measures enacted during the first 100 days--unconstitutional. Then six months later, the high court declared a New York state minimum wage law invalid. Roosevelt was aghast. The court, he feared, had established a "'no-man's land' where no government, state or federal, can function."
Roosevelt feared that every New Deal reform, such as the prohibition on child labor or regulation of wages and hours, was at risk. In 1936, his supporters in Congress responded by introducing over a hundred bills to curb the judiciary's power. After his landslide re-election in 1936, the president proposed a controversial "court-packing scheme." The plan proposed to reorganize the Supreme Court. Roosevelt sought to make his opponents on the Supreme Court resign so that he could replace them with justices more sympathetic to his policies. To accomplish this, he announced a plan to add one new member to the Supreme Court for every judge who had reached the age of 70 without retiring (six justices were over 70). To offer a carrot with the stick, Roosevelt also outlined a generous new pension program for retiring federal judges.
The court-packing scheme was a political disaster. Conservatives and liberals alike denounced Roosevelt for attacking the separation of powers, and critics accused him of trying to become a dictator. Fortunately, the Court itself ended the crisis by shifting ground. In two separate cases, the Court upheld the Wagner Act and approved a Washington state minimum wage law, furnishing proof that it had softened its opposition to the New Deal.
Yet Roosevelt remained too obsessed with the battle to realize he had won the war. He lobbied for the court-packing bill for several months, squandering his strength on a struggle that had long since become a political embarrassment. In the end, the only part of the president's plan to gain congressional approval was the pension program. Once it passed, Justice Willis Van Devanter, the most obstinate New Deal opponent on the Court, resigned. By 1941 Roosevelt had named five justices to the Supreme Court. Few legacies of the president's leadership proved more important. The new "Roosevelt Court" significantly expanded the government's role in the economy and in civil liberties.
The 1936 presidential election proved a decisive battle, not only in shaping the nation’s political future but for the future of opinion polling. The Literary Digest, the venerable magazine founded in 1890, had correctly predicted the outcomes of the 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, and 1932 elections by conducting polls. These polls were a lucrative venture for the magazine: readers liked them newspapers played them up and each “ballot” included a subscription blank. The 1936 postal card poll claimed to have asked one fourth of the nation’s voters which candidate they intended to vote for. In Literary Digest's October 31 issue, based on more than 2,000,000 returned post cards, it issued its prediction: Republican presidential candidate Alfred Landon would win 57 percent of the popular vote and 370 electoral votes.
Landon, 1,293,669 Roosevelt, 972,897
Final Returns in the Digest’s Poll of Ten Million Voters
Well, the great battle of the ballots in the poll of 10 million voters, scattered throughout the forty-eight states of the Union, is now finished, and in the table below we record the figures received up to the hour of going to press.
These figures are exactly as received from more than one in every five voters polled in our country—they are neither weighted, adjusted, nor interpreted.
Never before in an experience covering more than a quarter of a century in taking polls have we received so many different varieties of criticism—praise from many and condemnation from many others—and yet it has been just of the same type that has come to us every time a Poll has been taken in all these years.
A telegram from a newspaper in California asks: "Is it true that Mr. Hearst has purchased The Literary Digest?“ A telephone message only the day before these lines were written: ”Has the Republican National Committee purchased The Literary Digest?“ And all types and varieties, including: ”Have the Jews purchased The Literary Digest?" "ls the Pope of Rome a stockholder of The Literary Digest?" And so it goes—all equally absurd and amusing. We could add more to this list, and yet all of these questions in recent days are but repetitions of what we have been experiencing all own the years from the very first Poll.
Problem—Now, are the figures in this poll correct? In answer to this question we will simply refer to a telegram we sent to a young man in Massachusetts the other day answer to his challenge to us to wager 100,000 on the accuracy of our Poll. We wired him as follows:
For nearly a quarter century, we have been taking Polls of the voters in the forty-eight States, and especially in Presidential years, and we have always merely mailed the ballots, counted and recorded those returned and let the people of the Nation draw their conclusions as to our accuracy. So far, we have been right in every Poll. Will we be right in the current Poll? That, as Mrs. Roosevelt said concerning the President’s reelection, is in the “lap of the gods.”
We never make any claims before election but we respectfully refer you to the opinion of one of the most quoted citizens today, the Hon. James A. Farley, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. This is what Mr. Farley said October 14, 1932:
"Any sane person cannot escape the implication of such a gigantic sampling of popular opinion as is embraced in The Literary Digest straw vote. I consider this conclusive evidence as to the desire of the people of this country for a change in the National Government. The Literary Digest poll is an achievement of no little magnitude. It is a Poll fairly and correctly conducted."
In studying the table of the voters from of the States printed below, please remember that we make no claims at this time for their absolute accuracy. On a similar occasion we felt it important to say:
In a wild year like this, however, many sagacious observers will refuse to bank upon appearances, however convincing. As for The Digest, it draws no conclusions from the results of its vast distribution of twenty million ballots. True to its historic non-partizan policy—or “omni-partizan,” as some editor described it in 1928—we supply our readers with the facts to the best of our ability, and leave them to draw their own conclusions.
We make no claim to infallibility. We did not coin the phrase “uncanny accuracy” which has been so freely-applied to our Polls. We know only too well the limitations of every straw vote, however enormous the sample gathered, however scientific the method. It would be a miracle if every State of the forty-eight behaved on Election day exactly as forecast by the Poll.
We say now about Rhode Island and Massachusetts that our figures indicate in our own judgment too large a percentage for Mr. Landon and too small a percentage for Mr. Roosevelt, and although in 1932 the figures in these two States indicated Mr. Hoover’s carrying both, we announced:
“A study of the returns convinces us that in those States our ballots have somehow failed to come back in adequate quantity from large bodies of Democratic voters.”
Our own opinion was that they would be found in the Roosevelt column, and they were. We will not do the same this year we feel that both States will be found in the Landon column, and we are reaching this conclusion by the same process that lead to the reverse conclusion in 1932.
Pennsylvania is another State which requires special mention. Four years ago, our figures gave the State to Mr. Roosevelt, and Mr. Hoover carried it on Election day. In comparing our ballot this year with that of 1932, we find that in many cities in Pennsylvania our figures showed a much higher trend toward Mr. Roosevelt than was justified by the election figures on Election day in 1932. In examining the very same cities now we discover the reverse trend, and in cities that in 1932 indicated an approximately 60 percent relationship between Roosevelt and Hoover, we now find 60 percent for Landon and 40 percent for Roosevelt.
That’s the plain language of it. Many people wonder at these great changes in a State like Pennsylvania, and we confess to wonderment ourselves.
On the Pacific Coast, we find California, Oregon, and Washington all vote for Mr. Landon in our Poll, and yet we are told that the Pacific Coast is “aflame” for Mr. Roosevelt.
A State like California is always a difficult State to get an accurate opinion from by the polling method, and we may be far astray, yet every one should remember that in the Gubernatorial campaign a few years ago, we took a Poll of California when it was believed by most of California citizens that Mr. Upton Sinclair would be elected Governor, and the result of our Poll showed that Mr. Sinclair would not be elected Governor and the Poll was correct.
The State of Washington seems to be more favorable to Mr. Landon than either Oregon or California. We cannot in our Poll detect anything that would indicate a reason for this difference.
Seattle—Right here we wish to say that in 1932 our Poll in Seattle gave Mr. Roosevelt 65.43 percent of the vote, and he carried that city by 61.58 percent of the vote. In the current Poll, 1936, Seattle gives Mr. Landon 58.52 percent and Mr. Roosevelt 40.46 percent. Our readers will notice we overestimated Mr. Roosevelt in 1932—are we overestimating Mr. Landon now? We see no reason for supposing so. And the three Pacific Coast States which now show for Mr. Landon and which millions believe will vote for Mr. Roosevelt (they may be right) in 1924, 1928, and 1932 were correctly forecast in The Literary Digest Polls.
In the great Empire State, New York the figures for so large a State are what might be called very close. After looking at the figures for New York in the column at the left, remember that in 1932 we gave Mr. Roosevelt 46.1 percent and Mr. Hoover 43.9 percent, even closer than it is to day. And yet we correctly forecast that Mr. Roosevelt would carry the State.
And so we might go on with many States that are very close, and some not so close, but in which local conditions have much to do with results, not in polls such as our Poll but on Election day.
The Poll represents the most extensive straw ballot in the field—the most experienced in view of its twenty-five years of perfecting—the most unbiased in view of its prestige—a Poll that has always previously been correct.
Even its critics admit its value as an index of popular sentiment. As one of these critics, the Nation, observes:
“Because it indicates both the 1932 and 1936 vote, it offers the raw material for as careful a prognostication as it is possible to make at this time.”