President Truman was elected with a comfortable margin of 49.6 percent of the popular vote to Dewey’s 45.1 percent. His record helped in his election to governor of New York in 1942. Calculated averages are not comparable to those for the Biden vs. Trump polls. What went wrong? Outside of the quota constraints, each interviewer was free to pick his subjects any way that he pleased. As usual, a number of polling agencies conducted polls of voters in order to predict which candidate was more likely to win the election. Democrat Harry Truman, of course, defeated Republican Thomas Dewey, and Truman has been the patron saint of candidates trailing in the polls ever since. The resulting “Dewey Defeats Truman!” headline has become the iconic example of polling malpractice. Truman died the following year at age 88. He holds a copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman." Advertisement. While perhaps the most famous blunder in presidential election polling is the consensus that Dewey would defeat Truman in 1948 (which we will get to), a great one for our purposes is the Literary Digest's prediction that Republican would defect incumbent Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Brands, New York Times bestselling author … But, as a now-famous photograph would show, everyoneincluding the editors of the Chicago Tribunegot it wrong. The president was on his way back to Washington from Missouri when his train stopped in St. Louis. “I would never rule that out, that you have some changes, and especially with a candidate like Trump, who is trying to establish himself, and often sort of shoots himself in the foot, and then he suffers at the polls. By ANDREW GLASS. He was down by a little over 10 points to Republican Thomas Dewey. Heading into Election Day on November 2, 1948, it seemed like Thomas Dewey had the U.S. presidency in the bag. And the Tribune would be the first to report it. Meanwhile, Truman launched an aggressive, populist-style campaign. Even the “ Dewey Defeats Truman ” debacle in 1948, in which news organizations incorrectly called the presidential election for Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman based on polling data, was only about a 5-point polling miss. The surprise victory of the plain-spoken Democratic nominee, Harry S Truman, would become one of the biggest upsets in U.S. presidential history—and it would forever be memorialized, thanks to an embarrassing newspaper gaffe. Dewey Defeats Truman¶. In the 1948 election season, Thomas Dewey faced off against incumbent Harry Truman for the presidency, running on the Republican and Democratic ticket, respectively. On January 20, 1949, in America’s first nationally televised inauguration, Truman was sworn in to his first full term as America’s 33rd president. and Secretary of Agriculture. Thurmond, the Dixiecrat, earned 39 electoral votes and 2.4 percent of the popular vote. A ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ Lesson for the Digital Age. The polls and the pundits left no room for doubt: Dewey was going to defeat President Harry S. Truman. Meanwhile, Dewey served as governor of New York through 1954 then he returned to practicing law. A now-famous photograph taken two days after the president’s come-from-behind triumph. On September 9, 1948, Elmo Roper was so confident of a Dewey win that he announced there would be no further Roper Polls on this election. With victory looking like a foregone conclusion for Dewey, the New York governor ran an uninspiring, risk-averse campaign. (1) Dewey’s top foreign policy adviser was John Foster Dulles, along with brother Allen and Nelson Rockefeller. Truman would win by a little less than 5 points. By Eric W. Schoen. Throughout the 19th century, newspapers conducted straw polls from their readers to predict presidential elections. On Election Day, the newspaper had been required to go to press earlier than usual due to a printers’ strike. Dewey made his name throughout the 1930s by prosecuting dozens of big-name mobsters, including Lucky Luciano and Waxey Gordon. His civil rights initiatives had alienated the conservative, Southern wing of the organization. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America's Soul. Kaltenborn, informed his listeners that even though Truman was ahead, Dewey ultimately would wind up on top.). Facebook. Give 'Em Hell Harry vs. the Polls . David Moore questions the exit polls as they compare to the vote count, and highlights how this is different from 1948. ... and candidates showing up at the polls with boxed cookies or cake. Heading into Election Day on November 2, 1948, it seemed like Thomas Dewey had the U.S. presidency in the bag. One newspaper contended his four major speeches could be reduced to four sentences: “Agriculture is important. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. (The Tribune wasn’t the only one to mistakenly call the election for the New York governor; in covering the returns, a leading radio announcer, H.V. The only really good example for Trump is Democrat Harry Truman in 1948. My Halloween treat for one and all is 72 years old, dating back to just before Biden’s sixth birthday. In 1948, the Republicans again chose Dewey as their presidential nominee, with Governor Earl Warren of California as his running mate. “Give ‘em hell, Harry” became a popular slogan among his supporters. 2016. Further diminishing Truman’s prospects were divisions within his own political party. So they reported that he had done just that. The plain-spoken Truman, a U.S. senator from Missouri before his brief vice-presidency, went on to lead the United States through the end of World War II and the transition to a peacetime economy. After the election, analysts attributed the polls' failure largely to completing their surveys too early, thus missing a late … The Chicago Tribune felt so confident in the polls that the night of the election, the paper went ahead and printed the following morning's edition with a banner headline that Dewey had defeated Truman. As polling with third parties has been very limited, the polls included in the average are often different. One of the most famous failures of political polling occurred in the 1948 presidential election between Harry Truman (the democratic incumbent) and Thomas Dewey (the republican challenger). Biden. 2020. His onetime secretary of commerce (as well as Roosevelt’s vice president from 1941-45), Henry Wallace, who had a following among liberals, decided to run against his former boss as the Progressive Party’s candidate for the Oval Office. Video. One of the most famous failures of political polling occurred in the 1948 presidential election between Harry Truman (the democratic incumbent) and Thomas Dewey (the republican challenger). Numerous polls and pundits predicted a win for the Michigan native, New York governor and prominent gang-busting attorney. Journalists at the Chicago Tribune were so convinced that Dewey would win that they prematurely printed the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman… But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! In the Electoral College, Truman won 303–189. Twitter. Defying these predictions, Truman won the election with 303 electoral votes to Dewey's 189. On Election Day, thanks to a coalition of voters that included organized labor, farmers, African Americans and Jews, Truman and his running mate, Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky, pulled off their shocking victory. And few have found abler historians than A. J. Baime, who recounts this crucial moment with compelling verve and subtle insight.” —H.W. Truman's underdog ticket racked up 303 electoral votes and 49.6 percent of the popular vote to Dewey’s 189 electoral votes and 45.1 percent of the popular vote. McCain is down about 9 points. “Few elections have been more dramatic and decisive than Truman vs. Dewey in 1948. transcript. Four years later, he left the White House (he had been eligible to seek another term but announced in 1952 he would not do so) and retired to his hometown of Independence, Missouri. Election Winner. On election night, this earlier press deadline required the first post-election issue of the Tribune to go to press before states had reported most of the results from the polling places. Truman also won 49.6% of the popular vote compared to Dewey's 45.1%, while the third party candidacies of Thurmond and Wallace each won less than 3% of the popular vote, … Thomas E. Dewey had led Truman, the incumbent president, in many polls leading up to the 1948 election, and the Tribune carried a decidedly anti-Truman bias. biggest upsets in U.S. presidential history. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. Despite several polls predicting a landslide victory for Dewey, Truman won the election in one of the biggest and most well-known political upsets in U.S. history. Dewey, also a Wall Street Lawyer was the eastern establishment’s favorite while Truman had faced a challenge from Henry Wallace, FDR’s former V.P. And the Tribune would be the first to report it. Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America's Soul - Kindle edition by Baime, A. J.. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Each individual in the sample was inteviewed in person by a professional interviewer to minimize nonresponse bias, and each interviewer was given a very detailed set of quotas to meet. The future lies ahead.”. I would always tell the candidate I worked for to put a sticker on the box that said, ‘Thank You Poll Workers for A Great Job! Thomas D. Mcavoy/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. President-elect Harry S. Truman laughs heartily as he holds an early edition of the Chicago Tribune for November 4, 1948, with the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.” It was in the station where Truman picked up a two-day-old copy of the Tribune. "The early returns showed the Republican ticket leading Truman and Barkley pretty consistently in northern and western states. Description. In the 1948 US Presidential election, New York Governor Thomas Dewey ran against the incumbent Harry Truman. Dewey Defeats Truman! Truman. In 1944, he won the Republican nomination for the White House but lost the general election to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Harry Truman … The results of the polls and the actual election results (in percentages) are given in the following table: The Crossley, Gallup, and Roper organizations all used quota sampling. Moreover, the interviewer was required to interview specified numbers of subjects in various categories, based on residential area, sex, age, race, economic status, and other variables. The labor vote was energized as … Prior to the election, Natalie Jackson, Senior Polling… HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. President Harry Truman, with wife Bess and daughter Margaret, waving from train during whistle-stop at Pocatello, Idaho in 1948. At the time, evidently, republicans were slightly easier to find and interview than democrats. The president embarked on a “whistle-stop” tour, traveling across America by train and giving speeches in which he spoke out against the “do-nothing” Republican-controlled 80th Congress. Trump. Numerous polls and pundits predicted a win for the Michigan native, New York governor and prominent gang-busting attorney. The Gallup, Roper, and Crossley polls all predicted that Dewey would defeat Truman by a significant margin, but in fact, just the opposite happened. This had spurred the formation of the States’ Rights Democratic Party (or Dixiecrats) and the selection of Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina as their presidential nominee. The Democratic nominee, Truman, had ascended to the presidency following Franklin Roosevelt’s sudden death on April 12, 1945, just three months after he’d been sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term. He died in 1971 at age 68. Bush. ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Heading into Election Day 72 years ago, the Chicago Tribune announced arguably the most famous media blunder “Dewey Defeats Truman”. 1948. 2.1. November 7, 2020. Back. It is now generally accepted that this freedom of choice created selection bias in favor of Dewey. McCain is at a worse situation than Truman was at the same time, but not much. You cannot have freedom without liberty. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. 11/02/2018 12:00 AM EDT. The Chicago Daily Tribune, a Republican-leaning paper at the time, ran a poll forecasting the outcome of the election, with a decisive win for Dewey on November 6th. ... Dewey. When the headlines showed "Dewey defeats Truman," the pollsters had it wrong in 1948. For the 1948 election between Thomas Dewey and Harry Truman, Gallup conducted a poll with a sample size of about 3250. But in the 1948 elections, Truman faced significant political head winds. The surprise victory of the plain-spoken Democratic nominee, Harry S. Truman, … There were also a couple of third party candidates. The Social Science Research Council in 1949 determined four reasons that Gallup and others failed to predict the results. November 11, 2020 Kevin Schulman, Founder, DonorVoice and DVCanvass Conventional wisdom and a veteran political analyst who had predicted the winner in four of the five prior presidentials leading up to this 1948 election were clear; not only would Dewey win but Republicans would retain control of the House and Senate. Well, no. All Rights Reserved. Wikipedia This became one … FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. 0:00/2:01-0:00. Truman defeats Dewey , Nov. 2, 1948. Truman's 4.4 percentage point election margin contrasted with the pre-election polls predicting a Dewey victory ranging between 5 to 15 percentage points. Second, you COULD compare it, yes. It is a newspaper front page, dated Nov. 3, 1948, and it carries the immortal headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” Like Biden, Thomas E. Dewey was the clear Establishment pick from the start. I think Truman was down 5 at this time that year and that was about when the last poll was taken. There were also a couple of third party candidates. First, polls were much sparser at that time. Republican New York Gov. Our rivers are full of fish. Dewey Defeats Truman. The intent of quota sampling is to ensure that the sample represents the population in all essential respects. But, as a now-famous photograph would show, everyone—including the editors of the Chicago Tribune—got it wrong. Truman was even facing competition from within his own cabinet. The polls, reporters, political writers—they all believed Dewey was going to win by a landslide. Holding the paper, which blared the erroneous banner headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman," Truman flashes a triumphant smile. The polls predicted a Dewey victory of between 5 to 15 percentage points, but Truman won by 4.4 percentage points. You barely had a poll a week or so. Even though not all the votes had been tallied at the time of the Tribune’s deadline, editors were confident in the multiple polls widely favoring Dewey to win. Harry S. Truman’s unexpected election victory over Thomas Dewey was forever imprinted in history, thanks in part to a famous photo. In 1948, the Gallup Poll was one of three major polls which incorrectly predicted Dewey would defeat Truman ( The Oxford Math Center ). Gallup is best known for that one half-century-old blunder. But when polls began to close in the Midwest and plains states, the worm turned: Truman won five states that Dewey had won against FDR. Each interviewer was assigned a specified number of subjects to interview. The indications were that the complete returns would disclose that Dewey won the Presidency by an overwhelming majority of electoral votes." You see Harry Truman, smiling and victorious after the 1948 presidential election. 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