1952 Republican Party presidential primaries

← 1948 March 11 to June 3, 1952 1956 →

1,206 delegates to the 1952 Republican National Convention
604 (majority) votes needed to win
Candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower Robert A. Taft
Home state Kansas Ohio
Delegate count 595 500
Contests won 5 5
Popular vote 2,050,708 2,794,736
Percentage 26.3% 35.8%

Candidate Earl Warren Harold Stassen
Home state California Minnesota
Delegate count 81 20
Contests won 1 1
Popular vote 1,349,036 881,702
Percentage 17.3% 11.3%

     Eisenhower      Taft
     Stassen      Warren

Previous Republican nominee

Thomas E. Dewey

Republican nominee

Dwight D. Eisenhower

From March 11 to June 3, 1952, delegates were elected to the 1952 Republican National Convention.

The fight for the 1952 Republican nomination was largely between popular General Dwight D. Eisenhower (who succeeded Thomas E. Dewey as the candidate of the party's liberal eastern establishment) and Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, the longtime leader of the conservative wing. Foreign policy during the Cold War was a major point of contention, with Eisenhower taking an interventionist stance and Taft favoring greater caution and avoidance of foreign alliances. Eisenhower tended to accept many of the social welfare aspects of the New Deal, to which Taft was adamantly opposed.

Two other major candidate for the nomination, though never challenging Eisenhower or Taft, were Governor of California and Dewey's 1948 running-mate Earl Warren, and former Governor of Minnesota Harold Stassen, who had contended for the nomination in 1948 as well.

Taft, who was 62 when the campaign began and running his third presidential campaign, freely admitted that this would be his last chance to win the nomination. Taft's weakness, which he was never able to overcome, was the fear of many party bosses that he was too conservative and controversial to win a presidential election.[citation needed] The primaries were ultimately inconclusive, and the nomination was decided by a contest over delegates from Texas and Georgia; led by Dewey and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., the Eisenhower campaign won a vote of the whole convention to award the contested delegates to Eisenhower, who carried the first ballot. The episode was reminiscent of the 1912 Republican National Convention forty years prior, where Taft's father won the nomination over Theodore Roosevelt by similar means.

In the general election on November 4, Eisenhower and his running mate, Senator Richard Nixon of California, defeated the Democratic party's ticket of Governor Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, and Senator John Sparkman of Alabama.


Beginning in 1932, during a period which political historians would later call the "Fifth Party System," United States politics were dominated by the Democratic Party and its New Deal coalition of laborers and labor organizations, racial and religious minorities (especially Jews, Catholics, and African Americans), liberal white Southerners, and intellectuals. delivered consistent victories for the Democratic Party at the presidential and congressional level. Entering the 1952 election campaign, no Republican had been elected president since Herbert Hoover in 1928. Republicans had only won a single national election during the period, in the 1946 elections to the 80th United States Congress.

1948 presidential election

Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey, who was a leading contender in 1940 and the Republican nominee in 1944 and 1948, declined to run again, instead recruiting and endorsing General Dwight D Eisenhower.

Following their victory in 1946, Republicans were hopeful to win back the White House in 1948. With the progressive and Southern wings of the Democratic Party bolting from the presidential ticket and popular Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey leading their ticket for the second consecutive campaign, most expected a Republican victory but were surprised by the re-election of President Harry S. Truman in one of the biggest upsets in the history of presidential elections.

Having lost the presidency three times, Dewey declined to make a fourth run. Instead, the leading candidates were Dewey's main rivals for the 1948 nomination, Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio and former Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota, and his 1948 running mate, Governor of California Earl Warren.

Draft Eisenhower movement

Main article: Draft Eisenhower movement

During the 1948 campaign, James Roosevelt and Americans for Democratic Action attempted to draft popular World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower, then Chief of Staff of the Army, to replace President Truman on the Democratic Party ticket. Eisenhower, who commanded the Allied Expeditionary Force in the invasions of Normandy and Germany, remained broadly popular and admired across the country without regard for political position or region.[1] However, Eisenhower repeatedly declined to seek the Democratic nomination ahead of the 1948 convention and issued a Shermanesque statement removing himself from consideration on July 5, 1948.[2] Repeated efforts to ignore his statement failed when Roosevelt admitted that a draft would not succeed to convince Eisenhower, and the party nominated Truman instead.

By 1951, with Truman's popularity polling at record lows, both parties attempted to draft Eisenhower once again. However, since the 1948 election, he had been increasingly drawn toward the Republican Party.[3] Dewey and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. of Massachusetts led efforts to convince Eisenhower to run as a Republican and, through a series of organizations financed and led by Charles F. Willis, Stanley M. Rumbough Jr., and Harold E. Talbott, established a draft effort with over 250,000 members nationwide.[4][5][6][7] Personal friends and former military colleagues were also involved in the Republican draft effort.[7] They were motivated at least partly by Eisenhower's broad appeal, which they felt Stassen and Taft lacked, and his support for post-war international organizations like the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which Taft opposed or supported to a more limited extent than Eisenhower. With Taft leading the field in late 1951, Eisenhower's reluctance to run declined, and on January 6, 1952, he permitted Lodge to publicly reveal that he considered himself a Republican.[8]


The following leaders were candidates for the 1952 Republican presidential nomination:

Major candidates

These candidates participated in multiple state primaries or were included in multiple major national polls.

Candidate Most recent position Home state Campaign

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
President of Columbia University
Accepted draft: June 4, 1952[9]
Nominated at convention: July 11, 1952

Robert A. Taft

United States Senator from Ohio

Ohio State Senator
Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives
 Ohio Announced campaign: October 16, 1951[10]
Defeated at convention: July 11, 1952

Earl Warren

Governor of California

California Attorney General
District Attorney of Alameda County
Announced: November 1951

Harold Stassen

President of the University of Pennsylvania

Governor of Minnesota
 Pennsylvania (Campaign)

Douglas MacArthur

General of the Army

Commander of the United Nations Command
and Governor of the Ryukyu Islands
Commander of the Far East Command
 New York

Favorite sons

The following candidates ran only in their home state's primary or caucus for the purpose of controlling its delegate slate at the convention and did not appear to be considered national candidates by the media.

Declined to run

The following persons were listed in two or more major national polls or were the subject of media speculation surrounding their potential candidacy, but declined to actively seek the nomination.


Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
Graph of opinion polls conducted

National polling

Poll source Publication
Thomas Dewey
Dwight Eisenhower
Douglas MacArthur
Harold Stassen
Robert Taft
Earl Warren
Gallup[12][a] July 17, 1949 20% 21% 13% 21% 12% 9% 16%[b] 5%
Gallup[13] Nov. 6, 1949 12% 25% 19% 15% 10% 13%[c] 6%
Gallup[14] Apr. 5, 1950 15% 37% 12% 17% 5% 9%[d] 8%
Gallup[15] Sep. 26, 1950 14% 42% 14% 15% 6% 3%[e] 6%
Gallup[16] Dec. 16, 1950 16% 35% 8% 24% 10% 2% 5%
Gallup[17] Apr. 13, 1951 14% 38% 9% 22% 10% 3%[f] 4%
Gallup May 1951 30% 10% 22% 13%
Gallup[18] Dec. 23, 1951 9% 30% 14% 3% 28% 11% 3% 2%
9% 21% 6% 34% 19% 7% 4%
11% 35% 3% 32% 13% 4% 2%
Gallup[19] Feb. 12, 1952 5% 33% 14% 5% 33% 8% 2%
Gallup[20] Mar. 2, 1952 5% 33% 14% 6% 34% 6% 2%
Gallup[21] Apr. 8, 1952 3% 37% 12% 4% 34% 9% 1%
Gallup[22] May 1, 1952 3% 44% 10% 3% 33% 6% 1%
Gallup[23] June 4, 1952 2% 43% 9% 3% 36% 6% 1%
Gallup[24] June 21, 1952 44% 10% 3% 35% 7% 1%
Gallup[25] July 1, 1952 46% 10% 3% 35% 5% 1%
  1. ^ Respondents were permitted to name more than one candidate
  2. ^ Arthur Vandenberg with 11%, John Bricker with 3%, Joseph Martin 1%, and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. with 1%
  3. ^ Arthur Vandenberg with 6%, Leverett Saltonstall with 3%, John Bricker with 3%, Others with 1%
  4. ^ Arthur Vandenberg with 5%, John Bricker with 3%, and Others with 1%
  5. ^ Alfred Driscoll with 1%, Others with 2%
  6. ^ Combined voted for Wayne Morse, James Duff, Alfred Driscoll, Joseph W. Martin, and Kenneth Wherry

Primary campaign

March 11: New Hampshire primary

In late 1951, Eisenhower supporters increased their efforts to draft the general by establishing a campaign organization in New Hampshire, the first state to hold a popular election for delegates. Governor Sherman Adams endorsed the effort and became the New Hampshire campaign manager for the Draft Eisenhower campaign.[26] On January 6, at the same press conference revealing Eisenhower was a Republican, Senator Lodge formally submitted the general's name in the New Hampshire primary. The draft movement soon gained the endorsement of twenty-four newspapers, led by The New York Times.[27] A Draft Eisenhower rally at Madison Square Garden on February 8 drew a crowd far larger than the arena's capacity; shortly after, Eisenhower privately affirmed that he would contest the presidency, if nominated by the Republicans.[28][29]

On March 11, Eisenhower won the New Hampshire primary over Taft by a margin of 12 percent, sweeping all fourteen delegates.

However, from there until the Republican Convention the primaries were divided fairly evenly between the two men, and by the time the convention opened the race for the nomination was still too close to call.

Statewide contests by winner

Statewide contest won by candidates[30]

Date Pledged delegates Contest Robert A. Taft Dwight Eisenhower Harold Stassen Earl Warren Douglas MacArthur Other/Uncommitted
March 11 14 New Hampshire primary[31][32]


March 18 28 Minnesota 8.22% 4
1.83% 0.47% 8.18%
April 1 Nebraska 36.33% 30.15% 24.29% 0.85% 3.41% 4.97%
30 Wisconsin 24
- 3.75%
April 8 0 Illinois 73.56% 11.59% 12.19% 0.22% 0.59% 1.85%
April 15 0 New Jersey 35.54% 60.64% 3.66% 0.07% 0.10% -
April 22 Pennsylvania 15.23% 73.62% 10.25% 0.27% 0.51% 0.12%
April 29 Massachusetts 29.69% 68.68% 0.29% 0.41% 0.61% 0.32%
May 6 56 Ohio 56
- - -
May 13 West Virginia 78.52% - 21.48% - - -
May 16 Oregon 6.74% 64.55% 2.47% 16.48% 6.96% 3.80%[a]
June 3 California 33.61%[b] - - 66.39% - -
South Dakota 50.32% 49.68%[c] - - - -

Italics indicate a write-in candidacy.

Total popular vote results

Primaries total popular vote results:[33]

Republican National Convention

Eisenhower presidential campaign in Baltimore, Maryland, September 1952.

When the 1952 Republican National Convention opened in Chicago, most political experts rated Taft and Eisenhower as neck-and-neck in the delegate vote totals. Eisenhower's managers, led by Governor Dewey and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., accused Taft of "stealing" delegate votes in Southern states such as Texas and Georgia. They claimed that Taft's leaders in these states had illegally refused to give delegate spots to Eisenhower supporters and put Taft delegates in their place. Lodge and Dewey proposed to evict the pro-Taft delegates in these states and replace them with pro-Eisenhower delegates; they called this proposal "Fair Play". Although Taft and his supporters angrily denied this charge, the convention voted to support Fair Play 658–548, and Taft lost many Southern delegates; this decided the nomination in Eisenhower's favor. However, the mood at the convention was one of the most bitter and emotional in American history; in one speech Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, a Taft supporter, pointed at Governor Dewey on the convention floor and accused him of leading the Republicans "down the road to defeat", and mixed boos and cheers rang out from the delegates. In the end Eisenhower took the nomination on the first ballot; to heal the wounds caused by the battle he went to Taft's hotel suite and met with him. The Convention then chose young Senator Richard Nixon of California as Eisenhower's running mate; it was felt that Nixon's credentials as a slashing campaigner and anti-Communist would be valuable. Most historians now believe that Eisenhower's nomination was primarily due to the feeling that he was a "sure winner" against the Democrats; most of the delegates were conservatives who would probably have supported Taft if they felt he could have won the general election. The balloting at the Republican Convention went: (Richard C. Bain and Judith H. Parris, Convention Decisions and Voting Records, pp. 280–286):

Presidential Balloting, RNC 1952
Contender: Ballot 1st Before Shifts 1st After Shifts
General Dwight D. Eisenhower 595 845
Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft 500 280
Governor Earl Warren of California 81 77
Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen 20 0
General Douglas MacArthur 10 4

Freshman California Senator Richard Nixon was nominated for Vice President, also with notable Dewey's support. Republican politicians thought that his political experience, aggressive style (he was known as strongly anti-communist) and political base on the West would help political newcomer Eisenhower.[34]


List of Robert A. Taft endorsements

See also


  1. ^ Senator Wayne Morse received 2.66%.
  2. ^ Taft supporter Thomas H. Werdel ran as a surrogate in California.
  3. ^ Eisenhower supporter George T. Mickelson ran as a surrogate in South Dakota.


  1. ^ Ambrose 1983, pp. 275–276.
  2. ^ "Eisenhower Says He Couldn't Accept Nomination for Any Public Office". The New York Times. 6 July 1948. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  3. ^ Pickett 2000, p. 76.
  4. ^ Smith 1990, p. 584.
  5. ^ Mason 2013, p. 519.
  6. ^ Smith 1990, p. 587.
  7. ^ a b Mason 2013, p. 520.
  8. ^ Immerman 1999, pp. 38–46.
  9. ^ Patterson 1972, p. 536.
  10. ^ Patterson 1972, p. 506.
  11. ^ Conklin, William (18 Mar 1952). "DRISCOLL ENTERS EISENHOWER CAMP; JERSEY SWING SEEN: Governor Leads Most of the State's Organized G. O. P. Into Fight for General COUNTY CHIEFS HAIL MOVE Head of Party Feels Results of 'Popularity Race' April 15 Should Have Moral Hold DRISCOLL ENTERS EISENHOWER CAMP". The New York Times. p. 1.
  12. ^ Gallup, George (17 July 1949). "General Ike, Stassen Hold GOP Voters". The Washington Post. p. B5.
  13. ^ Gallup, George (6 Nov 1949). "EISENHOWER LEADS IN GOP POPULARITY: Republicans and Independents in Poll Place Harold Stassen Second for 1952 Nomination". Los Angeles Times. p. 16.
  14. ^ Gallup, George (5 Apr 1950). "GOP Voters Give Eisenhower First Choice for Presidency". The Washington Post. p. 15.
  15. ^ Gallup, George (27 Sep 1950). "Eisenhower Popularity Booms Among GOP Voters in Survey". The Washington Post. p. 14.
  16. ^ Gallup, George (17 Dec 1950). "Sen. Taft Found Choice Now Of 24% of Republican Voters: GOP Shift To Taft Noted". The Washington Post. p. M1.
  17. ^ Gallup, George (13 Apr 1951). "Gen. Eisenhower Voted First Choice Of GOP for Presidency in 1952". The Washington Post. p. 18.
  18. ^ Gallup, George (23 Dec 1951). "Taft's Popularity Rising, Gallup Finds: Senator Still Trails Eisenhower in Poll of GOP and Independents". Los Angeles Times. p. 4.
  19. ^ Gallup, George (13 Feb 1952). "Taft, Eisenhower Tied for GOP Vote". The Washington Post. p. 1.
  20. ^ Gallup, George (2 Mar 1952). "GOP Poll Puts Taft Over Eisenhower: But General Holds Lead With Independents, Gallup Discovers". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  21. ^ Gallup, George (9 Apr 1952). "GOP Race is Tossup, Gallup Poll Discloses: Eisenhower Running Slightly Ahead of Taft; Interviewers Find Gov. Warren Is Gaining". Los Angeles Times. p. B12.
  22. ^ Gallup, George (2 May 1952). "GOP, Independent Voters Favor Eisenhower Over Taft". The Washington Post. p. 1.
  23. ^ Gallup, George (4 June 1952). "EISENHOWER LEAD REDUCED IN POLL: Taft Registers Gains Since Last Month in Gallup Republican, Independent Count". Los Angeles Times. p. C5.
  24. ^ Gallup, George (22 June 1952). "Ike Gains New Popularity As Campaign Hits Stride". The Atlanta Journal. p. 1F.
  25. ^ Gallup, George (2 July 1952). "TAFT, EISENHOWER CLOSE IN SURVEY: Gallup Finds Party Chairmen Favor Senator While Republican Voters Lean to General". Los Angeles Times. p. 11.
  26. ^ Birkner 2003, p. 8.
  27. ^ Pusey 1956, p. 11.
  28. ^ Ambrose 1983, p. 523.
  29. ^ Smith 1990, p. 590.
  30. ^ Primaries, caucuses and conventions: Classic races for the presidential nomination
  31. ^ SAGE Publications 2010, p. 399.
  32. ^ Pickett 2000, p. 178.
  33. ^ a b c "US President - R Primaries - Feb 01, 1952". Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  34. ^ Longin Pastusiak, Prezydenci, volume 3
  35. ^ Kauffman, Bill (September 1, 2020). "My Old (And Peaceful) Kentucky Home". Retrieved 5 February 2023.