1940 United States presidential election in North Carolina

← 1936 November 5, 1940[1] 1944 →

All 13 North Carolina votes to the Electoral College
 
Nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt Wendell Willkie
Party Democratic Republican
Home state New York New York
Running mate Henry A. Wallace Charles L. McNary
Electoral vote 13 0
Popular vote 609,015 213,633
Percentage 74.03% 25.97%

County Results

President before election

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic

Elected President

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Democratic

The 1940 United States presidential election in North Carolina took place on November 5, 1940, as part of the 1940 United States presidential election. North Carolina voters chose 13[2] representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

As a former Confederate state, North Carolina had a history of Jim Crow laws, disfranchisement of its African-American population and dominance of the Democratic Party in state politics. However, unlike the Deep South, the Republican Party had sufficient historic Unionist white support from the mountains and northwestern Piedmont to gain one-third of the statewide vote total in most general elections,[3] where turnout was higher than elsewhere in the former Confederacy due substantially to the state’s early abolition of the poll tax in 1920.[4] Like Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma, the relative strength of Republican opposition meant that North Carolina did not have statewide white primaries, although certain counties did use the white primary.[5]

In 1928, anti-Catholicism in the Outer Banks and growing middle-class urban Republicanism in Piedmont cities turned North Carolina to GOP nominee Herbert Hoover,[6] but this was sharply and severely reversed in the following decade beginning with Hoover’s failed nomination of John Johnston Parker to the Supreme Court.[7] With the South having the highest unemployment in the nation and blaming its fate upon the North and Wall Street,[8] exceptionally heavy support was given to Democratic nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936 everywhere except in a few rock-ribbed Republican mountain bastions.[6] Nevertheless, there was virtually no change to the state’s social structure during the New Deal,[9] and the conservative “Shelby Dynasty” was strong enough to prevent any populist challenge so much as developing.[10] After the 1936 Democratic landslide and Roosevelt’s failed “court-packing” plan, the state’s leading federal officeholders came to increasingly oppose Roosevelt’s policies.[9]

Although the state’s relatively numerous Republicans were highly active in support of nominees Wendell Willkie and Senate Minority Leader Charles L. McNary, early analysts said Roosevelt remained so popular with the state’s voters that there was no chance of the incumbent losing.[11] A poll in mid-October had Roosevelt carrying the state by a three-to-one margin after having given the incumbent 72 percent during the third week of September.[12]

Results

1940 United States presidential election in North Carolina
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt (inc.) 609,015 74.03%
Republican Wendell Willkie 213,633 25.97%
Total votes 822,648 100%

Results by county

1940 United States presidential election in North Carolina by county[13]
County Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Democratic
Wendell Lewis Willkie
Republican
Margin
% # % # % #
Martin 97.76% 4,628 2.24% 106 95.52% 4,522
Northampton 97.33% 3,826 2.67% 105 94.66% 3,721
Bertie 97.10% 3,287 2.90% 98 94.21% 3,189
Greene 96.64% 2,990 3.36% 104 93.28% 2,886
Pitt 96.46% 10,067 3.54% 369 92.93% 9,698
Hertford 96.40% 2,464 3.60% 92 92.80% 2,372
Edgecombe 95.97% 7,516 4.03% 316 91.93% 7,200
Halifax 95.67% 7,982 4.33% 361 91.35% 7,621
Franklin 95.42% 4,724 4.58% 227 90.83% 4,497
Granville 94.85% 3,924 5.15% 213 89.70% 3,711
Chowan 94.68% 1,547 5.32% 87 89.35% 1,460
Hoke 94.21% 1,904 5.79% 117 88.42% 1,787
Currituck 93.76% 1,532 6.24% 102 87.52% 1,430
Lenoir 93.42% 6,247 6.58% 440 86.84% 5,807
Nash 93.24% 8,456 6.76% 613 86.48% 7,843
Wilson 93.13% 7,912 6.87% 584 86.25% 7,328
Gates 92.78% 1,388 7.22% 108 85.56% 1,280
Anson 92.46% 4,552 7.54% 371 84.93% 4,181
Scotland 92.26% 2,981 7.74% 250 84.52% 2,731
Union 91.89% 7,179 8.11% 634 83.77% 6,545
Vance 91.80% 4,252 8.20% 380 83.59% 3,872
Warren 91.55% 2,676 8.45% 247 83.10% 2,429
Robeson 90.86% 9,251 9.14% 931 81.71% 8,320
Onslow 89.79% 2,383 10.21% 271 79.58% 2,112
Richmond 89.34% 6,530 10.66% 779 78.68% 5,751
Craven 88.70% 4,916 11.30% 626 77.41% 4,290
Person 88.23% 3,239 11.77% 432 76.46% 2,807
Pender 88.06% 2,249 11.94% 305 76.12% 1,944
Camden 87.76% 961 12.24% 134 75.53% 827
Lee 87.48% 3,682 12.52% 527 74.96% 3,155
Wake 87.16% 18,083 12.84% 2,665 74.31% 15,418
Caswell 86.93% 2,335 13.07% 351 73.86% 1,984
Pasquotank 86.75% 3,314 13.25% 506 73.51% 2,808
Columbus 86.33% 5,900 13.67% 934 72.67% 4,966
Durham 85.60% 14,810 14.40% 2,491 71.20% 12,319
Beaufort 85.52% 5,528 14.48% 936 71.04% 4,592
Jones 85.47% 1,371 14.53% 233 70.95% 1,138
Cumberland 84.40% 6,050 15.60% 1,118 68.81% 4,932
Bladen 84.34% 2,925 15.66% 543 68.69% 2,382
New Hanover 84.03% 8,600 15.97% 1,635 68.05% 6,965
Perquimans 83.76% 1,176 16.24% 228 67.52% 948
Washington 82.65% 1,724 17.35% 362 65.29% 1,362
Cleveland 82.59% 9,346 17.41% 1,970 65.18% 7,376
Rockingham 82.51% 11,315 17.49% 2,398 65.03% 8,917
Cabarrus 82.03% 11,776 17.97% 2,579 64.07% 9,197
Wayne 81.41% 7,222 18.59% 1,649 62.82% 5,573
Duplin 81.06% 5,394 18.94% 1,260 62.13% 4,134
Mecklenburg 80.40% 28,768 19.60% 7,013 60.80% 21,755
Gaston 80.08% 17,262 19.92% 4,294 60.16% 12,968
Hyde 79.55% 1,202 20.45% 309 59.10% 893
Dare 79.40% 1,214 20.60% 315 58.80% 899
Haywood 78.55% 8,631 21.45% 2,357 57.10% 6,274
Alamance 77.17% 11,429 22.83% 3,382 54.33% 8,047
Orange 76.95% 3,673 23.05% 1,100 53.91% 2,573
Rowan 76.24% 13,023 23.76% 4,059 52.48% 8,964
Forsyth 74.36% 20,664 25.64% 7,125 48.72% 13,539
Harnett 74.33% 6,602 25.67% 2,280 48.66% 4,322
Buncombe 74.04% 24,878 25.96% 8,723 48.08% 16,155
Tyrrell 73.31% 1,140 26.69% 415 46.62% 725
Guilford 73.11% 26,565 26.89% 9,770 46.22% 16,795
Iredell 73.00% 10,328 27.00% 3,820 46.00% 6,508
McDowell 70.48% 5,290 29.52% 2,216 40.95% 3,074
Johnston 70.41% 9,976 29.59% 4,192 40.82% 5,784
Chatham 68.76% 4,025 31.24% 1,829 37.51% 2,196
Carteret 68.53% 3,896 31.47% 1,789 37.06% 2,107
Surry 67.98% 8,871 32.02% 4,178 35.96% 4,693
Rutherford 67.84% 8,869 32.16% 4,204 35.68% 4,665
Caldwell 67.82% 6,334 32.18% 3,005 35.65% 3,329
Catawba 66.51% 11,233 33.49% 5,656 33.02% 5,577
Pamlico 66.48% 1,448 33.52% 730 32.97% 718
Jackson 65.44% 4,563 34.56% 2,410 30.88% 2,153
Brunswick 64.10% 2,717 35.90% 1,522 28.19% 1,195
Henderson 63.06% 6,336 36.94% 3,712 26.11% 2,624
Swain 62.96% 2,422 37.04% 1,425 25.92% 997
Montgomery 62.70% 3,007 37.30% 1,789 25.40% 1,218
Moore 62.60% 4,330 37.40% 2,587 25.20% 1,743
Transylvania 62.13% 3,312 37.87% 2,019 24.25% 1,293
Polk 61.63% 2,454 38.37% 1,528 23.25% 926
Alleghany 61.60% 1,952 38.40% 1,217 23.19% 735
Davidson 61.37% 11,084 38.63% 6,978 22.73% 4,106
Lincoln 61.26% 4,901 38.74% 3,099 22.53% 1,802
Stokes 61.18% 4,274 38.82% 2,712 22.36% 1,562
Burke 59.70% 7,242 40.30% 4,889 19.40% 2,353
Yancey 58.10% 3,489 41.90% 2,516 16.20% 973
Stanly 58.04% 6,321 41.96% 4,569 16.09% 1,752
Graham 56.32% 1,404 43.68% 1,089 12.64% 315
Macon 55.99% 2,941 44.01% 2,312 11.97% 629
Alexander 55.27% 2,739 44.73% 2,217 10.53% 522
Randolph 54.51% 8,455 45.49% 7,056 9.02% 1,399
Cherokee 54.32% 3,180 45.68% 2,674 8.64% 506
Clay 53.43% 1,349 46.57% 1,176 6.85% 173
Davie 53.35% 2,896 46.65% 2,532 6.71% 364
Ashe 53.04% 4,716 46.96% 4,175 6.08% 541
Watauga 49.16% 3,615 50.84% 3,739 -1.69% -124
Yadkin 47.31% 3,660 52.69% 4,077 -5.39% -417
Sampson 46.96% 5,107 53.04% 5,769 -6.09% -662
Wilkes 46.36% 7,299 53.64% 8,446 -7.28% -1,147
Madison 40.72% 3,171 59.28% 4,617 -18.57% -1,446
Mitchell 30.59% 1,450 69.41% 3,290 -38.82% -1,840
Avery 28.85% 1,194 71.15% 2,944 -42.29% -1,750

Analysis

Large portions of the interior of the United States – heavily populated by German Americans – opposed increasing "tension" with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and would switch support to Willkie.[14] North Carolina, however, was historically one of the least isolationist states, and its almost entirely English and Scotch-Irish descended electorate strongly favoured as much aid to Britain’s World War II effort as possible.[15] Thus, North Carolina’s electorate did not merely resist the GOP shift in the heartland – in many Appalachian counties with normally substantial Republican support, FDR gained on what he had achieved in his 1932 and 1936 national landslides.[13]

North Carolina was thus won in a landslide by incumbent President Roosevelt and running mate Agriculture Secretary Henry A. Wallace, with 74.03 percent of the popular vote, against Willkie’s 25.97 percent.[16][17]

As of the 2020 presidential election, this is the last election in which Davie County and Randolph County voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.[18] This is also the best Democratic performance in the state since Andrew Jackson in 1832.[19]

References

  1. ^ "United States Presidential election of 1940 — Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  2. ^ "1940 Election for the Thirty-ninth Term (1941-45)". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Phillips, Kevin P. The Emerging Republican Majority. pp. 210, 242. ISBN 978-0-691-16324-6.
  4. ^ Key, Valdimer Orlando (1949). Southern Politics in State and Nation. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 502.
  5. ^ Klarman, Michael J. (2001). "The White Primary Rulings: A Case Study in the Consequences of Supreme Court Decision-Making". Florida State University Law Review. 29: 55–107.
  6. ^ a b Phillips. The Emerging Republican Majority, pp. 212-215
  7. ^ Topping, Simon (2008). Lincoln's lost legacy: the Republican Party and the African American vote, 1928-1952. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. p. 22. ISBN 0813032288.
  8. ^ Ritchie, Donald A. (2007). Electing FDR: the New Deal campaign of 1932. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. p. 143. ISBN 070061687X.
  9. ^ a b See Abrams, Douglas Carl (1992). Conservative constraints: North Carolina and the New Deal. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9780878055593.
  10. ^ Christensen, Rob (2010). The paradox of Tar Heel politics: the personalities, elections, and events that shaped modern North Carolina. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 62–68. ISBN 9780807899632.
  11. ^ "Willkie Is Shown Favor in South: Strong Feeling for Him by Thinking Voters". The South Bend Tribune. September 1, 1940. pp. 1, 7.
  12. ^ "North Carolina Leaning to F.D.R. in Poll". Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. October 6, 1940. p. 19.
  13. ^ a b "NC US President Race, November 05, 1940". Our Campaigns.
  14. ^ Dunn, Susan. 1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—The Election Amid the Storm. p. 107. ISBN 0300190867.
  15. ^ See Menendez, Albert J. (2005). The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004. p. 68. ISBN 0786422173.
  16. ^ "1940 Presidential General Election Results – North Carolina". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  17. ^ "The American Presidency Project – Election of 1940". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Robert David (June 29, 2016). "How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century". The National Catholic Review (America Magazine ed.).
  19. ^ "Presidential General Election Results Comparison – North Carolina".