United States presidential election, 1956

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United States presidential election, 1956
United States
1952 ←
November 6, 1956
→ 1960

All 531 electoral votes of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
 

Eisenhower official.jpg

AdlaiEStevenson1900-1965.jpg

NomineeDwight D. EisenhowerAdlai Stevenson
PartyRepublicanDemocratic
Home statePennsylvaniaIllinois
Running mateRichard NixonEstes Kefauver
Electoral vote45773
States carried417
Popular vote35,579,18026,028,028
Percentage57.4%42.0%

United States presidential election in Alabama, 1956United States presidential election in Arizona, 1956United States presidential election in Arkansas, 1956United States presidential election in California, 1956United States presidential election in Colorado, 1956United States presidential election in Connecticut, 1956United States presidential election in Delaware, 1956United States presidential election in Florida, 1956United States presidential election in Georgia, 1956United States presidential election in Idaho, 1956United States presidential election in Illinois, 1956United States presidential election in Indiana, 1956United States presidential election in Iowa, 1956United States presidential election in Kansas, 1956United States presidential election in Kentucky, 1956United States presidential election in Louisiana, 1956United States presidential election in Maine, 1956United States presidential election in Maryland, 1956United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1956United States presidential election in Michigan, 1956United States presidential election in Minnesota, 1956United States presidential election in Mississippi, 1956United States presidential election in Missouri, 1956United States presidential election in Montana, 1956United States presidential election in Nebraska, 1956United States presidential election in Nevada, 1956United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 1956United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1956United States presidential election in New Mexico, 1956United States presidential election in New York, 1956United States presidential election in North Carolina, 1956United States presidential election in North Dakota, 1956United States presidential election in Ohio, 1956United States presidential election in Oklahoma, 1956United States presidential election in Oregon, 1956United States presidential election in Pennsylvania, 1956United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 1956United States presidential election in South Carolina, 1956United States presidential election in South Dakota, 1956United States presidential election in Tennessee, 1956United States presidential election in Texas, 1956United States presidential election in Utah, 1956United States presidential election in Vermont, 1956United States presidential election in Virginia, 1956United States presidential election in Washington, 1956United States presidential election in West Virginia, 1956United States presidential election in Wisconsin, 1956United States presidential election in Wyoming, 1956United States presidential election in Delaware, 1956United States presidential election in Maryland, 1956United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 1956United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1956United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1956United States presidential election in Connecticut, 1956United States presidential election in West Virginia, 1956United States presidential election in Vermont, 1956United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 1956ElectoralCollege1956.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Eisenhower/Nixon, Blue denotes those won by Stevenson/Kefauver. Orange is the electoral vote for Walter Burgwyn Jones by an Alabama faithless elector. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican

Elected President

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican

 
Jump to: navigation, search
United States presidential election, 1956
United States
1952 ←
November 6, 1956
→ 1960

All 531 electoral votes of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
 

Eisenhower official.jpg

AdlaiEStevenson1900-1965.jpg

NomineeDwight D. EisenhowerAdlai Stevenson
PartyRepublicanDemocratic
Home statePennsylvaniaIllinois
Running mateRichard NixonEstes Kefauver
Electoral vote45773
States carried417
Popular vote35,579,18026,028,028
Percentage57.4%42.0%

United States presidential election in Alabama, 1956United States presidential election in Arizona, 1956United States presidential election in Arkansas, 1956United States presidential election in California, 1956United States presidential election in Colorado, 1956United States presidential election in Connecticut, 1956United States presidential election in Delaware, 1956United States presidential election in Florida, 1956United States presidential election in Georgia, 1956United States presidential election in Idaho, 1956United States presidential election in Illinois, 1956United States presidential election in Indiana, 1956United States presidential election in Iowa, 1956United States presidential election in Kansas, 1956United States presidential election in Kentucky, 1956United States presidential election in Louisiana, 1956United States presidential election in Maine, 1956United States presidential election in Maryland, 1956United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1956United States presidential election in Michigan, 1956United States presidential election in Minnesota, 1956United States presidential election in Mississippi, 1956United States presidential election in Missouri, 1956United States presidential election in Montana, 1956United States presidential election in Nebraska, 1956United States presidential election in Nevada, 1956United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 1956United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1956United States presidential election in New Mexico, 1956United States presidential election in New York, 1956United States presidential election in North Carolina, 1956United States presidential election in North Dakota, 1956United States presidential election in Ohio, 1956United States presidential election in Oklahoma, 1956United States presidential election in Oregon, 1956United States presidential election in Pennsylvania, 1956United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 1956United States presidential election in South Carolina, 1956United States presidential election in South Dakota, 1956United States presidential election in Tennessee, 1956United States presidential election in Texas, 1956United States presidential election in Utah, 1956United States presidential election in Vermont, 1956United States presidential election in Virginia, 1956United States presidential election in Washington, 1956United States presidential election in West Virginia, 1956United States presidential election in Wisconsin, 1956United States presidential election in Wyoming, 1956United States presidential election in Delaware, 1956United States presidential election in Maryland, 1956United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 1956United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1956United States presidential election in Massachusetts, 1956United States presidential election in Connecticut, 1956United States presidential election in West Virginia, 1956United States presidential election in Vermont, 1956United States presidential election in Rhode Island, 1956ElectoralCollege1956.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Eisenhower/Nixon, Blue denotes those won by Stevenson/Kefauver. Orange is the electoral vote for Walter Burgwyn Jones by an Alabama faithless elector. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican

Elected President

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican

The United States presidential election of 1956 was the 43rd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 1956. The popular incumbent President, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, successfully ran for re-election. The election was a re-match of 1952, as Eisenhower's opponent in 1956 was former Governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson, whom Eisenhower had defeated four years earlier.

Eisenhower was popular, but had health conditions that became a quiet issue. Stevenson remained popular with a core of liberal Democrats, but held no office and had no real base. He (and Eisenhower) largely ignored the subject of civil rights. Eisenhower had ended the Korean War and the nation was prosperous, so a landslide for the charismatic Eisenhower was never in doubt.

This was the last presidential election before the admissions of Alaska and Hawaii, which would participate for the first time as states in the 1960 presidential election. It was also the last election in which any of the major candidates was born in the 19th century, or were both renominated for a rematch of the previous presidential election.

Nominations[edit]

Republican Party[edit]

Republican candidates

Early in 1956 there was speculation that Eisenhower would not run for a second term because of concerns about his health. In 1955, Eisenhower had suffered a serious heart attack, and in early 1956 he underwent surgery for ileitis. However, he quickly recovered after both incidents, and after being cleared by his doctors, he decided to run for a second term. Given Eisenhower's enormous popularity, he was re-nominated with no opposition at the 1956 Republican National Convention in San Francisco, California.

The only question among Republicans was whether Vice-President Richard Nixon would again be Eisenhower's running mate. There is some evidence that Eisenhower would have preferred a less controversial running mate, such as Governor Christian Herter of Massachusetts, and according to some historians (such as Stephen E. Ambrose), Eisenhower privately offered Nixon another position in his cabinet, such as Secretary of Defense. However, Harold Stassen was the only Republican to publicly oppose Nixon's re-nomination for Vice-President, and Nixon remained highly popular among the Republican rank-and-file voters. Nixon had also reshaped the vice-presidency, using it as a platform to campaign for Republican state and local candidates across the country, and these candidates came to his defense. In the spring of 1956, Eisenhower publicly announced that Nixon would again be his running mate, and Stassen was forced to second Nixon's nomination at the Republican Convention. Unlike 1952, conservative Republicans (who had supported Robert Taft against Eisenhower in 1952) did not attempt to shape the platform. At the convention, one delegate voted for a fictitious "Joe Smith" for Vice-President to prevent a unanimous vote.

Democratic Party[edit]

Democratic candidates

Candidates gallery[edit]

Primaries[edit]

Results of the 1956 Democratic Presidential Primaries.

Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Party's 1952 nominee, fought a tight primary battle with populist Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver for the 1956 nomination. Kefauver won the New Hampshire primary unopposed (though Stevenson won 15% on write-ins). After Kefauver upset Stevenson in the Minnesota primary, Stevenson, realizing that he was in trouble, agreed to debate Kefauver in Florida. Stevenson and Kefauver held the first televised presidential debate on May 21, 1956, before the Florida primary. Stevenson carried Florida by a 52-48% margin. By the time of the California primary in June 1956, Kefauver's campaign had run low on money and could not compete for publicity and advertising with the well-funded Stevenson. Stevenson won the California primary by a 63-37% margin, and Kefauver soon withdrew from the race.

Popular vote results[edit]

Source

Elvis Presley had 5,000 write-in votes

Democratic National Convention[edit]

At the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, New York Governor W. Averell Harriman, who was backed by former President Harry S. Truman, challenged Stevenson for the nomination. However, Stevenson's delegate lead was much too large for Harriman to overcome, and Stevenson won the nomination on the first ballot.

The roll call, as reported in Richard C. Bain and Judith H. Parris, Convention Decisions and Voting Records, pp. 294–298:

Presidential Balloting, DNC 1956
ContenderVote
Adlai Stevenson905.5
W. Averell Harriman210
Lyndon B. Johnson80
Stuart Symington45.5
Happy Chandler36.5
James C. Davis33
John S. Battle32.5
George Bell Timmerman, Jr.23.5
Frank Lausche5.5
Vice-Presidential Nomination[edit]

Democratic candidates:

Candidates gallery[edit]

The highlight of the 1956 Democratic Convention came when Stevenson, to create excitement for the ticket, made the surprise announcement that the convention's delegates would choose his running mate. This set off a desperate scramble among several candidates to win the nomination. Potential vice-presidential candidates had only one hectic day to campaign among the delegates before the voting began. The two leading contenders were Senator Kefauver, who retained the support of his primary delegates, and young Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was relatively unknown at that point. Although Stevenson privately preferred Senator Kennedy to be his running mate, he did not attempt to influence the balloting for Kennedy in any way. Kennedy surprised the experts by surging into the lead on the second ballot; at one point, he was only 15 votes shy of winning. However, a number of states then left their "favorite son" candidates and switched to Kefauver, giving him the victory. Kennedy then gave a gracious concession speech. The defeat was a boost for Kennedy's long-term presidential chances: as a serious contender, he gained favorable national publicity, yet by losing to Kefauver he avoided blame for Stevenson's loss to Eisenhower in November. The vote totals in the vice-presidential balloting are recorded in the following table, which also comes from Bain & Parris.

Vice Presidential Balloting, DNC 1956
Ballot12 before shifts2 after shifts
Estes Kefauver466.5551.5755.5
John F. Kennedy294.5618589
Albert Gore, Sr.178110.513.5
Robert F. Wagner, Jr.162.59.56
Hubert Humphrey13474.52
Luther H. Hodges400.50
P.T. Maner3300
LeRoy Collins2900
Clinton Presba Anderson1600
Frank G. Clement1400
Pat Brown100
Lyndon B. Johnson100
Stuart Symington100

General election[edit]

Campaign[edit]

Stevenson campaigned hard against Eisenhower, with television ads for the first time being the dominant medium for both sides. Because Eisenhower's 1952 election victory was due, in large part, to winning the female vote, there was a plethora of "housewife" focused ads. Some commentators at the time also argued that television's new prominence was a major factor in Eisenhower's decision to run for a second term at age 66, considering his weak health after the heart attack in 1955. Television allowed Eisenhower to reach people across the country without enduring the strain of repeated coast-to-coast travel, making a national campaign more feasible.[2]

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of red are for Eisenhower (Republican), shades of blue are for Stevenson (Democratic), and shades of green are for Unpledged Electors/Andrews (Independent/States' Rights).

Stevenson proposed significant increases in government spending for social programs and treaties with the Soviet Union to lower military spending and end nuclear testing on both sides. He also proposed to end the military draft and switch to an "all-volunteer" military. Eisenhower publicly opposed these ideas, even though in private he was working on a proposal to ban atmospheric nuclear testing. Eisenhower had retained the enormous personal and political popularity he had earned during World War II, and he maintained a comfortable lead in the polls throughout the campaign.

Eisenhower was also helped by his handling of two developing foreign-policy crises that occurred in the weeks before the election. In the Soviet-occupied People's Republic of Hungary, many citizens had risen in revolt in the Revolution of 1956 against Soviet domination, but the Soviets responding by invading the country on October 26. Three days later, a combined force of Israeli, British, and French troops invaded Egypt to topple Gamal Abdel Nasser and seize the recently nationalized Suez Canal. The resolution of the latter crisis rapidly moved to the United Nations,[3] and the Hungarian revolt was brutally crushed within a few days by re-deployed Soviet troops. Eisenhower condemned both actions, but was unable to help Hungary; he did, however, forcefully pressure the western forces to withdraw from Egypt.

While these two events led many Americans to rally in support of the president and swelled his expected margin of victory, the campaign was seen differently by some foreign governments.[4] The Eisenhower administration had also supported the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954; this ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court ended legal segregation in public schools. As a result, Eisenhower won the support of nearly 40% of black voters; he was the last Republican presidential candidate to receive such a level of support from black voters.

Eisenhower led all opinion polls by large margins throughout the campaign. On Election Day Eisenhower took over 57% of the popular vote and won 41 of the 48 states. Stevenson won only six Southern states and the border state of Missouri, becoming the first losing candidate since William Jennings Bryan in 1900 to carry Missouri. Eisenhower carried Louisiana, making him the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since Rutherford Hayes had done so in 1876 during Reconstruction.

Results[edit]

Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
vote
Running mate
CountPctVice-presidential candidateHome stateElect. vote
Dwight D. EisenhowerRepublicanPennsylvania35,579,18057.37%457Richard NixonCalifornia457
Adlai StevensonDemocraticIllinois26,028,02841.97%73Estes KefauverTennessee73
(Unpledged electors)(n/a)(n/a)196,1450.32%0(n/a)(n/a)0
T. Coleman AndrewsStates' RightsVirginia107,9290.17%0Thomas WerdelCalifornia0
Eric HassSocialist LaborNew York44,3000.07%0Georgia CozziniWisconsin0
Enoch A. HoltwickProhibitionIllinois41,9370.07%0Edwin M. CooperCalifornia0
Walter Burgwyn JonesDemocraticAlabama(a)(a)1Herman TalmadgeGeorgia1
Other23,8090.04%Other
Total62,021,328100%531531
Needed to win266266

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1956 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (August 1, 2005).Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (August 1, 2005).

Popular vote
Eisenhower
  
57.37%
Stevenson
  
41.97%
Unpledged
  
0.32%
Others
  
0.34%
Electoral vote
Eisenhower
  
86.06%
Stevenson
  
13.75%
Jones
  
0.19%

Results by state[edit]

[5]

States won by Eisenhower/Nixon
States won by Stevenson/Kefauver
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican
Adlai Stevenson
Democratic
T. Coleman Andrews/
Unpledged Electors
States' Rights
Eric Hass
Socialist Labor
MarginState Total
Stateelectoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %electoral
votes
# %#
Alabama11195,69439.40-280,84456.541020,1504.06-----85,150-17.14496,698AL
Arizona4176,99060.994112,88038.90-3030.10----64,11022.09290,173AZ
Arkansas8186,28745.82-213,27752.4687,0081.72-----26,990-6.64406,572AR
California323,027,66855.39322,420,13544.27-6,0870.11-3000.01-607,53311.115,466,355CA
Colorado6394,47959.496263,99739.81-7590.11-3,3080.50-130,48219.68663,074CO
Connecticut8711,83763.728405,07936.26-------306,75827.461,117,121CT
Delaware398,05755.09379,42144.62----1100.06-18,63610.47177,988DE
Florida10643,84957.2710480,37142.73-------163,47814.541,124,220FL
Georgia12216,65232.65-441,09466.4812-------224,442-33.83663,480GA
Idaho4166,97961.174105,86838.78-------61,11122.39272,989ID
Illinois272,623,32759.52271,775,68240.29----8,3420.19-847,64519.234,407,407IL
Indiana131,182,81159.9013783,90839.70----1,3340.07-398,90320.201,974,607IN
Iowa10729,18759.0610501,85840.65-3,2020.26-1250.01-227,32918.411,234,564IA
Kansas8566,87865.448296,31734.21-------270,56131.23866,243KS
Kentucky10572,19254.3010476,45345.21-2,6570.25-3580.03-95,7399.091,053,805KY
Louisiana10329,04753.2810243,97739.51-44,5207.21----85,07013.78617,544LA
Maine5249,23870.875102,46829.13-------146,77041.73351,706ME
Maryland9559,73860.049372,61339.96-------187,12520.07932,351MD
Massachusetts161,393,19759.3216948,19040.37----5,5730.24-445,00718.952,348,506MA
Michigan201,713,64755.63201,359,89844.15-------353,74911.483,080,468MI
Minnesota11719,30253.6811617,52546.08----2,0800.16-101,7777.601,340,005MN
Mississippi860,68524.46-144,49858.23842,96617.31-----83,813-33.78248,149MS
Missouri13914,28949.89-918,27350.1113-------3,984-0.221,832,562MO
Montana4154,93357.134116,23842.87-------38,69514.27271,171MT
Nebraska6378,10865.516199,02934.49-------179,07931.03577,137NE
Nevada356,04957.97340,64042.03-------15,40915.9496,689NV
New Hampshire4176,51966.11490,36433.84-1110.04----86,15532.27266,994NH
New Jersey161,606,94264.6816850,33734.23-5,3170.21-6,7360.27-756,60530.462,484,312NJ
New Mexico4146,78857.814106,09841.78-3640.14-690.03-40,69016.02253,926NM
New York454,340,34061.19452,750,76938.78-------1,589,57122.417,092,860NY
North Carolina14575,06249.34-590,53050.6614-------15,468-1.331,165,592NC
North Dakota4156,76661.72496,74238.09-4830.19----60,02423.63253,991ND
Ohio252,262,61061.11251,439,65538.89-------822,95522.233,702,265OH
Oklahoma8473,76955.138385,58144.87-------88,18810.26859,350OK
Oregon6406,39355.256329,20444.75-------77,18910.49735,597OR
Pennsylvania322,585,25256.49321,981,76943.30----7,4470.16-603,48313.194,576,503PA
Rhode Island4225,81958.264161,79041.74-------64,02916.52387,609RI
South Carolina875,70025.18-136,37245.37888,51129.45-----47,863-15.92300,583SC
South Dakota4171,56958.394122,28841.61-------49,28116.77293,857SD
Tennessee11462,28849.2111456,50748.60-19,8202.11----5,7810.62939,404TN
Texas241,080,61955.2624859,95843.98-14,5910.75----220,66111.281,955,545TX
Utah4215,63164.564118,36435.44-------97,26729.12333,995UT
Vermont3110,39072.16342,54927.81-------67,84144.35152,978VT
Virginia12386,45955.3712267,76038.36-42,9646.16-3510.05-118,69917.01697,978VA
Washington9620,43053.919523,00245.44----7,4570.65-97,4288.471,150,889WA
West Virginia8449,29754.088381,53445.92-------67,7638.16830,831WV
Wisconsin12954,84461.5812586,76837.84-6,9180.45-7100.05-368,07623.741,550,558WI
Wyoming374,57360.08349,55439.92-------25,01920.16124,127WY
TOTALS:53135,579,18057.3745726,028,02841.9773304,0740.49-44,3000.07-9,551,15215.4062,021,328US

Close states (margin of victory less than 5%, totaling 38 electoral votes)[edit]

  1. Missouri, 0.22%
  2. Tennessee, 0.62%
  3. North Carolina, 1.33%

Close states (margin of victory more than 5%, but less than 10%, totaling 46 electoral votes)[edit]

  1. Arkansas, 6.64%
  2. Minnesota, 7.60%
  3. West Virginia, 8.16%
  4. Washington, 8.47%
  5. Kentucky, 9.09%

(a) Alabama faithless elector W. F. Turner, who was pledged to Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver, instead cast his votes for Walter Burgwyn Jones, who was a circuit court judge in Turner's home town, and Herman Talmadge, governor of the neighboring state of Georgia.

Because of the admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states in 1959, the 1956 presidential election was the last in which there were 531 electoral votes.

Electoral eccentricities[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ There is some confusion about Eisenhower's home state in this election. Both [Leip] and the National Archives give Eisenhower's home state as New York, his state of residence when he was first elected in 1952. There are strong reasons to believe that these two sources are erroneous for 1956: The National Archives cites the Senate Manual as a source, and the Senate Manual has home state as New York. The brief description for the book Republican Party National Convention (26th : 1956 : San Francisco) in the Library of Congress's online catalog refers to "Dwight D. Eisenhower of Pennsylvania". Finally, the Maryland Manual has Eisenhower residing in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  2. ^ Emmet John Hughes, "52,000,000 TV Sets-How Many Votes?" The New York Times, September 25, 1960, SM23
  3. ^ Borhi, László (1999). "Containment, Rollback, Liberation or Inaction? The United States and Hungary in the 1950s" (PDF). Journal of Cold War Studies 1 (3): 67–108. doi:10.1162/152039799316976814. Retrieved June 29, 2009.  As Vice President Richard Nixon later explained: "We couldn't on one hand, complain about the Soviets intervening in Hungary and, on the other hand, approve of the British and the French picking that particular time to intervene against [Gamel Abdel] Nasser".
  4. ^ "How Britain France and Israel Got Together". Time. November 12, 1956. "State Department officials are sure that the British and French callously deceived or misled them from this date onward. On October 23 Pineau dashed over to London, reportedly to tell Eden that Israel was all ready to launch preventive war on Nasser. Ben-Gurion's moment was well chosen because, it was reasoned, 1) the U.S. would not dare move decisively against Israel on the verge of a presidential election, and 2) the Hungarian rebellion, then at its height, would keep Russia's hands tied." 
  5. ^ "1956 Presidential General Election Data - National". Retrieved March 18, 2013. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]