1952 United States presidential election

← 1948 November 4, 1952 1956 →

531 members of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout63.3%[1] Increase 10.3 pp
Nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower Adlai Stevenson II
Party Republican Democratic
Home state New York[2][3] Illinois
Running mate Richard Nixon John Sparkman
Electoral vote 442 89
States carried 39 9
Popular vote 34,075,529 27,375,090
Percentage 55.2% 44.3%

1952 United States presidential election in California1952 United States presidential election in Oregon1952 United States presidential election in Washington (state)1952 United States presidential election in Idaho1952 United States presidential election in Nevada1952 United States presidential election in Utah1952 United States presidential election in Arizona1952 United States presidential election in Montana1952 United States presidential election in Wyoming1952 United States presidential election in Colorado1952 United States presidential election in New Mexico1952 United States presidential election in North Dakota1952 United States presidential election in South Dakota1952 United States presidential election in Nebraska1952 United States presidential election in Kansas1952 United States presidential election in Oklahoma1952 United States presidential election in Texas1952 United States presidential election in Minnesota1952 United States presidential election in Iowa1952 United States presidential election in Missouri1952 United States presidential election in Arkansas1952 United States presidential election in Louisiana1952 United States presidential election in Wisconsin1952 United States presidential election in Illinois1952 United States presidential election in Michigan1952 United States presidential election in Indiana1952 United States presidential election in Ohio1952 United States presidential election in Kentucky1952 United States presidential election in Tennessee1952 United States presidential election in Mississippi1952 United States presidential election in Alabama1952 United States presidential election in Georgia1952 United States presidential election in Florida1952 United States presidential election in South Carolina1952 United States presidential election in North Carolina1952 United States presidential election in Virginia1952 United States presidential election in West Virginia1952 United States presidential election in Maryland1952 United States presidential election in Delaware1952 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1952 United States presidential election in New Jersey1952 United States presidential election in New York1952 United States presidential election in Connecticut1952 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1952 United States presidential election in Maryland1952 United States presidential election in Vermont1952 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1952 United States presidential election in Maine1952 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1952 United States presidential election in Maryland1952 United States presidential election in Delaware1952 United States presidential election in New Jersey1952 United States presidential election in Connecticut1952 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1952 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1952 United States presidential election in Vermont1952 United States presidential election in New Hampshire
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Eisenhower/Nixon and blue denotes those won by Stevenson/Sparkman. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Harry S. Truman

Elected President

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The 1952 United States presidential election was the 42nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1952. Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower defeated Democratic Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson II in a landslide victory, becoming the first Republican president in 20 years. This was the first election since 1928 without an incumbent president on the ballot.

The incumbent in 1952, Harry Truman. His second term expired at noon on January 20, 1953.

Stevenson emerged victorious on the third presidential ballot of the 1952 Democratic National Convention by defeating Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, Georgia Senator Richard Russell Jr., and other candidates. The Republican nomination was primarily contested by Eisenhower, a widely-popular general for his leadership in World War II, and the conservative Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft. With the support of Thomas E. Dewey and other party leaders, Eisenhower narrowly prevailed over Taft at the 1952 Republican National Convention. He selected youthful California Senator Richard Nixon as his running mate. In the first televised presidential campaign, Eisenhower was charismatic and very well known, in sharp contrast to Stevenson.[4]

Republicans attacked Truman's handling of the Korean War and the broader Cold War, alleging Soviet spies infiltrated the U.S. government. Democrats faulted Eisenhower for failing to condemn Senators Joseph McCarthy, William E. Jenner, and other reactionary Republicans, who, the Democrats alleged, engaged in reckless and unwarranted attacks. Stevenson tried to separate himself from the unpopular Truman administration. Instead, he campaigned on the popularity of the New Deal and stoked fears of another Great Depression under a Republican administration.

Eisenhower retained his enormous popularity from the war, as was seen in his campaign slogan, "I Like Ike." Eisenhower's public support, coupled with the unpopularity of Truman, allowed him to win comfortably with 55.18% of the popular vote and carry every state outside of the South; he even managed to carry Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, Southern states that voted for Democrats since the end of Reconstruction, with the exception of 1928. Republicans gained among Democrats, especially urban and suburban Southerners, and white ethnic groups in the Northeast and Midwest.


Republican Party

Main article: 1952 Republican Party presidential primaries

Eisenhower/Nixon poster

Further information: 1952 Republican National Convention

Republican Party (United States)
Republican Party (United States)
1952 Republican Party ticket
Dwight D. Eisenhower Richard Nixon
for President for Vice President
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)
U.S. Senator from California
Republican candidates:

The fight for the Republican nomination was between General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who became the candidate of the party's moderate Eastern Establishment; Senator Robert A. Taft from Ohio, the longtime leader of the party's conservative wing; Governor Earl Warren of California, who appealed to Western delegates and independent voters; and former Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota, who still had a base of support in the Midwest.

The moderate Eastern Republicans were led by New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the party's presidential nominee in 1944 and 1948. The moderates tended to be interventionists who felt that the country needed to fight the Cold War overseas and confront the Soviet Union in Eurasia.[5] They were also willing to accept most aspects of the social welfare state created by the New Deal in the 1930s but sought to reform the programs to be more efficient and business-friendly. The moderates were also concerned with ending the Republicans' losing streak in presidential elections and felt that the popular Eisenhower had the best chance of beating the Democrats.[6] For that reason, Dewey declined the notion of a third run for president despite his large amount of support within the party. The Republicans had been out of power for 20 years, and there was a strong sentiment that a proper two-party system needed to be re-established. It was also felt that the party winning the White House would have more incentive to rein in radicals and demagogues such as Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The conservative Republicans, led by Taft, were based in the Midwest and parts of the South. The Midwest was a bastion of conservatism and isolationist sentiment. Dislike of Europeans, in particular the British, was common, and there was a widespread feeling that the British manipulated American foreign policy and were eager to kowtow to the Soviet Union, although such attitudes had begun to change among the younger generation who had fought in World War II. In addition, the conservatives opposed much of the New Deal, regarding these programs as diminishing individual liberty and economic freedom. Taft had unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in the 1940 and 1948 presidential elections but lost both times to moderate candidates from New York: Wilkie and Dewey respectively. At the age of 63, Taft felt that it was his last chance to run for president so his friends and supporters, encompassing many party regulars, worked diligently on his behalf. His feelings were correct, as he died about nine months after the election.

Warren, although highly popular in California, refused to campaign in the presidential primaries, which limited his chances of winning the nomination. He retained the support of the California delegation, and his supporters hoped that in the event of an Eisenhower–Taft deadlock, Warren might emerge as a compromise candidate.

After being persuaded to run, Eisenhower scored a major victory in the New Hampshire primary in which his supporters wrote his name onto the ballot and gave him an upset victory over Taft. However, until the Republican National Convention, the primaries were divided fairly evenly between the two, and when the convention opened, the race for the nomination was still too close to call. Taft won the Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, and South Dakota primaries, and Eisenhower won those in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Oregon. Stassen and Warren won only their home states of Minnesota and California respectively, which effectively ended their chances of earning the nomination. General Douglas MacArthur also won the support of ten delegates from various states (mostly in Oregon) but had made it clear from early in the race that he had no interest in being nominated.

Republican National Convention

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

When the 1952 Republican National Convention opened in Chicago, most political experts rated Taft and Eisenhower as about equal in delegate vote totals. Eisenhower's managers, led by both Dewey and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., accused Taft of "stealing" delegate votes in Southern states such as Texas and Georgia, and claimed that Taft's leaders in those states had unfairly denied delegate spots to Eisenhower supporters, putting Taft delegates in their place. Lodge and Dewey proposed to evict the Taft delegates in those states and replace them with Eisenhower delegates and called the proposal "Fair Play." Although Taft and his supporters angrily denied that charge, the convention voted to support Fair Play 658 to 548, and Taft lost many Southern delegates. Eisenhower's chances were boosted when several uncommitted state delegations, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, decided to support him and also when Stassen released his delegates and asked them to support Eisenhower. The removal of many Southern delegates and the support of the uncommitted states decided the nomination in Eisenhower's favor.

However, the convention was among the most bitter and emotional in American history. When Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois, a Taft supporter, pointed at Dewey on the convention floor during a speech and accused him of leading the Republicans "down the road to defeat," mixed boos and cheers rang out from the delegates, and there were even fistfights between some Taft and Eisenhower delegates.

In the end, Eisenhower narrowly defeated Taft on the first ballot. To heal the wounds caused by the battle, he visited Taft's hotel suite and met with him. Taft issued a brief statement congratulating Eisenhower on his victory, but he was bitter about the accusation that he had stolen delegates and withheld his active support for Eisenhower for several weeks after the convention. In September 1952, Taft and Eisenhower met again at Morningside Heights, in New York City. Taft promised there an active support of Eisenhower in exchange for the fulfillment of a number of requests such as a demand that Eisenhower would offer Taft's followers a fair share of patronage positions if he won the election and that Eisenhower would agree to balance the federal budget and "fight creeping domestic socialism in every field." Eisenhower agreed to the terms, and Taft campaigned assiduously for the Republican ticket.[7] In fact, Eisenhower and Taft agreed on most domestic issues, and their disagreements were primarily on foreign policy.[8]

Though there were initial suggestions that Warren could earn the party's vice-presidential slot for the second successive election if he withdrew and endorsed Eisenhower, he ultimately chose not to do so. Eisenhower wished to award the vice-presidential nod to Stassen, who had endorsed Eisenhower and held generally similar political positions. However, the party bosses wanted to find a running mate who could mollify Taft's supporters, as the schism between the moderate and conservative wings was so severe that it was feared that party's conservatives would run Taft as a third-party candidate.

Eisenhower had apparently given little thought to choosing his running mate. When asked, he replied that he assumed the convention would pick someone. The spot ultimately fell to the young California Senator Richard Nixon, who was viewed as a centrist. Nixon was known as an aggressive campaigner and a fierce anticommunist but as one who shied away from some of the more extreme ideas of the party's right wing, including isolationism and the dismantling of the New Deal. Most historians[who?] now believe that Eisenhower's nomination was the result of his perceived electability against the Democrats. Most of the delegates were conservatives who would probably have supported Taft if they felt that he could win the general election.

Despite not earning the presidential or the vice-presidential nomination, Warren would be appointed as Chief Justice of the United States in October 1953, and Stassen would hold various positions within Eisenhower's administration.

The balloting at the Republican convention went as follows:[9]

Presidential Balloting, RNC 1952
Ballot 1st Before Shifts 1st After Shifts
Dwight D. Eisenhower 595 845
Robert A. Taft 500 280
Earl Warren 81 77
Harold Stassen 20 0
Douglas MacArthur 10 4

Democratic Party

Main article: 1952 Democratic Party presidential primaries

Democratic Party (United States)
Democratic Party (United States)
1952 Democratic Party ticket
Adlai Stevenson John Sparkman
for President for Vice President
Governor of Illinois
U.S. Senator from Alabama
Democratic candidates:

The expected candidate for the Democratic nomination was the incumbent President Harry S. Truman. Since the newly passed 22nd Amendment did not apply to whoever was president at the time of its passage, he was eligible to run again. However, Truman entered 1952 with his popularity plummeting, according to polls. The bloody and indecisive Korean War was dragging into its third year, Senator Joseph McCarthy's anticommunist crusade was stirring public fears of an encroaching "Red Menace", and the disclosure of widespread corruption among federal employees (including some high-level members of the Truman administration) left Truman at a low political ebb. Polls showed that he had a 66% disapproval rating, a record that would be matched only decades later by Richard Nixon and surpassed by George W. Bush.[10]

Kefauver won all but three primaries but failed to win the nomination.

Truman's main opponent was the populist Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, who had chaired a nationally televised investigation of organized crime in 1951 and was known as a crusader against crime and corruption. The Gallup poll of February 15 showed Truman's weakness. Nationally, Truman was the choice of only 36% of Democrats, compared with 21% for Kefauver. Among independent voters, however, Truman had only 18%, and Kefauver led with 36%. In the New Hampshire primary, Kefauver upset Truman by winning 19,800 votes to Truman's 15,927 and capturing all eight delegates. Kefauver graciously said that he did not consider his victory "a repudiation of Administration policies, but a desire... for new ideas and personalities." Stung by that setback, however, Truman announced March 29 that he would not seek re-election. Truman insisted in his memoirs, however, that he had decided not to run for re-election well before his defeat to Kefauver.

With Truman's withdrawal, Kefauver became the frontrunner for the nomination, and he won most of the primaries. Other primary winners were Senator Hubert Humphrey, who won his home state of Minnesota; Senator Richard Russell Jr. from Georgia, who won the Florida primary, and the diplomat W. Averell Harriman, who won West Virginia. However, most states still chose their delegates to the Democratic Convention by state conventions, which meant that the party bosses, especially the mayors and governors of large Northern and Midwestern states and cities, were able to choose the Democratic nominee. The bosses, including Truman himself, strongly disliked Kefauver since his investigations of organized crime had revealed connections between American Mafia figures and many of the big-city Democratic political organizations.[11] The party bosses thus viewed Kefauver as a maverick who could not be trusted and so refused to support him for the nomination.[11]

Instead, with Truman taking the initiative, they began to search for other more acceptable candidates. However, most of the other candidates had a major weakness. Russell had much Southern support, but his support of racial segregation and his opposition to civil rights for blacks led many liberal Northern and Midwestern delegates, pressed by their many black voters, to reject him.[11] Truman favored Harriman of New York, but the latter had never held an elective office and was inexperienced in politics. Truman next turned to Vice President Alben W. Barkley but at 74, he was rejected as being too old by leaders of labor unions, and he had little Northern support because he was another Southern segregationist. Other minor or favorite son candidates included Oklahoma Senator Robert S. Kerr, Massachusetts Governor Paul A. Dever, Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey, and Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.

One candidate soon emerged who seemingly had few political weaknesses, Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. The grandson of former Vice President Adlai E. Stevenson, he came from a distinguished family in Illinois and was well known as a gifted orator, intellectual, and political moderate. In the spring of 1952, Truman attempted to convince Stevenson to take the presidential nomination, but Stevenson stated that he wanted to run for re-election as Governor of Illinois. However, Stevenson never completely took himself out of the race, and as the convention approached, many party bosses and normally-apolitical citizens hoped that he could be "drafted" to run.

Democratic Convention

The 1952 Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago in the same Coliseum that the Republicans had gathered in several weeks earlier. Since the convention was being held in his home state, Governor Stevenson, who still proclaimed that he was not a presidential candidate, was asked to give the welcoming address to the delegates. He proceeded to give a witty and stirring address that led his supporters to begin a renewed round of efforts to nominate him despite his protests. After meeting with Jacob Arvey, the boss of the Illinois delegation, Stevenson finally agreed to enter his name as a candidate for the nomination. The party bosses from other large Northern and Midwestern states quickly joined in support. Kefauver led on the first ballot, but he had far fewer votes than necessary to win. Stevenson gradually gained strength until he was nominated on the third ballot.

After the delegates nominated Stevenson, the convention then turned to selecting a vice-presidential nominee. After narrowing it down to Senators John Sparkman, and A. S. Mike Monroney, President Truman and a small group of political insiders chose Sparkman, a conservative segregationist from Alabama, for the nomination. The convention largely complied and nominated Sparkman as Stevenson's running mate. He was chosen because of his Southern identity and conservative record, which party leaders hoped would create a balanced ticket.

Sparkman remained in the Senate until his retirement in 1978.

General election

CBS News' coverage of the 1952 United States presidential election

Campaign issues

The Eisenhower campaign was one of the first presidential campaigns to make a major and concerted effort to win the female vote. Many of his radio and television commercials discussed topics such as education, inflation, ending the Korean War, and other issues that were thought to appeal to women. The Eisenhower campaign made extensive use of female campaign workers, who made phone calls to likely Eisenhower voters, distributed "Ike" buttons and leaflets, and threw parties to build support for the Republican ticket in their neighborhoods. On election day, Eisenhower won a solid majority of the female vote.[12]

Eisenhower campaigned by attacking "Korea, Communism, and Corruption," issues that the Republicans regarded as the failures of the outgoing Truman administration to solve.[13] The Eisenhower campaign accused the administration of "neglecting Latin America" and thus "leading them into the arms of wily Communist agents waiting to exploit local misery and capitalize on any opening to communize the Americas."[14] Charges that Soviet spies had infiltrated the government plagued the Truman administration and became a "major campaign issue" for Eisenhower.[15] The Republicans blamed the Democrats for the military's failure to be fully prepared to fight in Korea, accused the Democrats of harboring communist spies within the federal government, and criticized the Truman administration for the many officials who had been accused of various crimes.

Stevenson hoped to exploit the rift between the conservative Taft Republicans and the moderate Eisenhower Republicans.[16] In a speech in Baltimore, Stevenson said, "The GOP elephant has two heads nowadays, and I can't tell from day to day who's driving the poor beast, Senator Taft or the General. I doubt that America will entrust its future, its hopes, to the master of a house divided against itself."[16] Stevenson, Truman, and other Democrats campaigning that fall also criticized Senators Joseph McCarthy, William E. Jenner, and other right-wing Republicans for what they believed were reckless and unwarranted attacks and congressional investigations into leading government officials and public servants.[17] In a Salt Lake City speech Stevenson stated that right-wing Republicans were "quick with accusations, with defamatory hints and whispering campaigns when they see a chance to scare or silence those with whom they disagree. Rudely, carelessly, they invade the field of thought, of conscience, which belongs to God, and not to Senators.... McCarthy and men like him can say almost anything, and if my opponent's conscience permits, he can try to help all of them get reelected."[17] Stevenson said that right-wing attacks on government officials such as General George Marshall, who had served Truman as US Secretary of State and US Secretary of Defense, reflected a "middle of the gutter approach" to politics.[18] Truman repeatedly criticized Senator McCarthy's character and temperament and called on Eisenhower to repudiate him.[19] Stevenson ridiculed right-wing Republicans "who hunt Communists in the Bureau of Wildlife and Fisheries while hesitating to aid the gallant men and women who are resisting the real thing in the front lines of Europe and Asia.... They are finally the men who seemingly believe that we can confound the Kremlin by frightening ourselves to death."[20] In return, McCarthy often jokingly confused the names Adlai and Alger, the first name of the convicted Soviet spy Alger Hiss, by stating "Alger, I mean Adlai" in his speeches.[21] McCarthy exploited the fact that Stevenson had defended Hiss as innocent despite all of the evidence otherwise. McCarthy, in response to Stevenson's criticisms, also stated during the campaign that he would like to get on the Stevenson campaign trail "with a club and make a good and loyal American" out of Stevenson.[18]

Adlai Stevenson warns against a return of the Republican policies of President Herbert Hoover.

Neither Stevenson nor Sparkman had been a part of the Truman administration, and both largely ignored its record, preferred to hark back to the Roosevelt's New Deal achievements, and warned against a repetition of the Great Depression under President Herbert Hoover if Eisenhower was elected. The historian Herbert Parmet stated that, "although Stevenson tried to separate his campaign from Truman's record, his efforts failed to dispel the widespread recognition that, for a divided America, torn by paranoia and unable to understand what had disrupted the anticipated tranquility of the postwar world, the time for change had really arrived. Neither Stevenson nor anyone else could have dissuaded the electorate from its desire to repudiate 'Trumanism.'"[22]


Eisenhower presidential campaign in Baltimore, Maryland, September 1952

Eisenhower's goal to unite the Republican Party for the fall campaign led him to campaign with and endorse several Republicans with whom he was uncomfortable. In particular, he resented having to endorse Senator William Jenner's reelection campaign when campaigning in Indianapolis, due to Jenner's accusations against George Marshall as being "a living lie" who was "joining hands once more with this criminal crowd of traitors and Communist appeasers ... under the direction of Mr. Truman and Mr. Acheson."[23] Many Democrats were particularly upset when Eisenhower, on a scheduled campaign swing through Wisconsin, decided not to give a speech he had written criticizing McCarthy's methods without naming him and later allowed himself to be photographed shaking hands with McCarthy as if he had supported McCarthy. Truman, who had once been friends with Eisenhower, never forgot what he saw as a betrayal. He had previously thought Eisenhower would make a good president but said that "he has betrayed almost everything I thought he stood for."[24]

Eisenhower retained his enormous personal popularity from his leading role in World War II, and huge crowds turned out to see him around the nation. His campaign slogan, "I Like Ike", was one of the most popular in American history. Stevenson attracted the support of the young emerging postwar intellectual class, but Eisenhower was seen as more appealing to Main Street. Stevenson was ridiculed in some quarters as too effeminate to be president, which was sometimes used as a euphemism for a male homosexual. The staunchly-conservative New York Daily News called him "Adelaide" Stevenson even though he had a reputation as a ladies' man, divorced in 1949, and remained single throughout 1952.

Nixon scandal and "Checkers speech"

A notable event of the 1952 campaign concerned a scandal that emerged when Richard Nixon, Eisenhower's running mate, was accused by several newspapers of receiving $18,000 in undeclared "gifts" from wealthy donors. In reality, contributions were by design only from early supporters and limited to $1,000, with full accountability. Nixon, who had been accusing the Democrats of hiding corruption, suddenly found himself on the defensive. Eisenhower and his aides even considered dropping Nixon from the ticket and picking Senator William Knowland as a replacement running mate.

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage for the winning candidate. Shades of red are for Eisenhower (Republican), and shades of blue are for Stevenson (Democratic).
Results by congressional district. Shades of red are for Eisenhower (Republican), and shades of blue are for Stevenson (Democratic).

Eisenhower, who barely knew Nixon, waffled and refused to comment on the incident. Nixon saved his political career, however, with a dramatic half-hour speech, the "Checkers speech," on live television. In this speech, Nixon denied the charges against him, gave a detailed account of his modest financial assets, and offered a glowing assessment of Eisenhower's candidacy. The highlight of the speech came when Nixon stated that a supporter had given his daughters a gift, a dog named "Checkers," and that he would not return it because his daughters loved it. The "Checkers speech" led hundreds of thousands of citizens nationwide to wire the Republican National Committee to urge the Republican Party to keep Nixon on the ticket, and Eisenhower stayed with him.

Despite the red-baiting of the Republicans' right wing, the campaign on the whole was conducted with a considerable degree of dignity, and Stevenson was seen as reinvigorating a Democratic Party that had become exhausted after 20 years in power and as refreshing its appeal with younger voters. He accused Eisenhower of silently tolerating McCarthy's excesses. Stevenson went before the American Legion, a bastion of hardline conservatism, and boldly declared that there was nothing patriotic or American about what McCarthy was doing.

Even with the dignified nature of the campaign, the dislike between the two candidates was visible. Stevenson criticized Eisenhower's noncondemnation of McCarthy and his use of television spots, and Eisenhower, who had initially respected Stevenson, came in time to view him as simply another career politician, which he strongly disliked.


The 1952 election campaign was the first one to make use of the new medium of television, partly by the efforts of Rosser Reeves, the head of Ted Bates, Inc., a leading advertising firm. Reeves had initially proposed a series of radio spots to Dewey in the 1948 campaign, but Dewey considered them undignified. Reeves later maintained that Dewey might have won the election if he had been slightly more open-minded.

Studying Douglas MacArthur's keynote speech at the Republican Convention in July, Reeves believed that the general's words were "powerful" but "unfocused" and "all over the map." Eisenhower's public speeches were even worse since he was unable to make his point to the voting public in a clear intelligible manner. Reeves felt that Eisenhower needed to condense his message down to a few simple easily-digestible slogans.

Eisenhower at first also fared poorly on television and had a difficult time appearing relaxed and at ease on camera. The television lighting was not flattering and made him look old and unattractive. In particular, his forehead tended to glisten under the lights. Eisenhower became upset when the CBS correspondent Dave Schoenbrun pointed that out and suggested him to try to alter his poses to make his forehead less noticeable and to apply makeup so that it would not shine from the lighting. Eventually, he gave in and agreed to those modifications. Reeves also wanted Eisenhower to not wear his eyeglasses on camera to look younger, but since he could not read the prompter board without them, Reeves devised a large handwritten signboard.

Reeves's television work, although pioneering, was the subject of considerable criticism on the grounds that he was attempting to sell a presidential candidate to the public in the same manner that one might sell a car or a brand of toothpaste. The liberal journalist Marya Mannes mocked the approach with this ditty: "Eisenhower hits the spot/One full general, that's a lot/Feeling sluggish, feeling sick?/Take a dose of Ike and Dick!/Philip Morris, Lucky Strike/Alka Seltzer, I like Ike!"[25] For his part, Stevenson would have nothing to do with television at all and condemned Eisenhower's use of the medium by calling it "selling the presidency like cereal." He made a point of the fact that he did not watch or even own a television, and the same for went many members of his inner circle.

Both campaigns made use of television ads. A notable ad for Eisenhower was an issue-free feel-good animated cartoon with a soundtrack song by Irving Berlin called "I Like Ike." For the first time, a presidential candidate's personal medical history was released publicly, as were partial versions of his financial histories, because of the issues that had been raised in Nixon's speech.[26] Near the end of the campaign, Eisenhower, in a major speech, announced that if he won the election he would go to Korea to see if he could end the war. His great military prestige, combined with the public's weariness with the conflict, gave Eisenhower the final boost he needed to win.

Throughout the entire campaign, Eisenhower led in all opinion polls and by wide margins in most of them.

Citizens for Eisenhower

To circumvent the local Republican Party organizations, which were mostly controlled by Taft supporters, the Eisenhower forces created a nationwide network of grassroots clubs, "Citizens for Eisenhower." Independents and Democrats were welcome, as the group specialized in canvassing neighborhoods and holding small-group meetings. Citizens for Eisenhower hoped to revitalize the party by expanding its activist ranks and by supporting moderate and internationalist policies. It did not endorse candidates other than Eisenhower, but he paid it little attention after he had won, and it failed to maintain its impressive starting momentum. Instead, it energized the conservative Republicans, which led finally to the Barry Goldwater campaign of 1964. Longtime Republican activists viewed the newcomers with suspicion and hostility. More significantly, activism in support of Eisenhower did not translate into enthusiasm for the party's cause.[27]


On election day, Eisenhower won a decisive victory by winning over 55% of the popular vote and carrying 39 of the 48 states. Stevenson did not win a single state north of the Mason–Dixon line or west of Arkansas; he did succeed in winning back the four states which Strom Thurmond had won at the previous election, but lost all but five of the states that Truman had won that year. Eisenhower took three Southern states that the Republicans had won only once since Reconstruction: Virginia, Florida, and Texas. Despite the Republican win in Florida, that year was the last time that a Democrat has won Collier County before southwestern Florida was turned into a growing Sun Belt Republican stronghold, and it was also the last time that a Democrat has won Aiken County, South Carolina, before the "Solid South" would collapse in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement.[28] That year was also, however, the last time a Republican won Yolo County, California or the Native American Rolette County, North Dakota and Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota, and the last until Donald Trump in 2016 that the Republicans won Pacific County, Washington, or Swift County, Minnesota.[28] It was the last time the Republicans won Missouri until 1968 and the last time that a Republican won the election without Kentucky. Stevenson's 700-vote win was the smallest percentage margin in any state since Woodrow Wilson had won New Hampshire by 56 votes in 1916.

Of the 3,099 counties/independent cities making returns, Eisenhower won the most popular votes in 2,104 (67.89%) while Stevenson carried 995 (32.11%). Eisenhower won in 21 of the 39 cities with a population above 250,000. He won in six of the eight largest Southern cities.[29]

The election was the first in which a computer, the UNIVAC I (and Monrobot III[30]), was used to predict the results; it came within 3.5% of Eisenhower's popular vote tally and four votes of his electoral vote total.[31]

Electoral results
Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote
Dwight D. Eisenhower Republican New York 34,075,529 55.18% 442 Richard Nixon California 442
Adlai Stevenson II Democratic Illinois 27,375,090 44.33% 89 John Sparkman Alabama 89
Vincent Hallinan Progressive California 140,746 0.23% 0 Charlotta Bass New York 0
Stuart Hamblen Prohibition Texas 73,412 0.12% 0 Enoch A. Holtwick Illinois 0
Eric Hass Socialist Labor New York 30,406 0.05% 0 Stephen Emery New York 0
Darlington Hoopes Socialist Pennsylvania 20,203 0.03% 0 Samuel H. Friedman New York 0
Douglas MacArthur Constitution Arkansas 17,205 0.03% 0 Harry F. Byrd Virginia 0
Farrell Dobbs Socialist Workers Minnesota 10,312 0.02% 0 Myra Tanner Weiss California 0
Other 9,039 0.02% Other
Total 61,751,942 100% 531 531
Needed to win 266 266

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1952 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved September 16, 2012.Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved August 1, 2005.

Popular vote
Electoral vote

Results by state


States/districts won by Stevenson/Sparkman
States/districts won by Eisenhower/Nixon
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Adlai Stevenson
Vincent Hallinan
Stuart Hamblen
Eric Hass
Socialist Labor
Margin State Total
State electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % #
Alabama 11 149,231 35.02 275,075 64.55 11 1,814 0.43 -125,844 -29.53 426,120 AL
Arizona 4 152,042 58.35 4 108,528 41.65 43,514 16.70 260,570 AZ
Arkansas 8 177,155 43.76 226,300 55.90 8 886 0.22 1 0.00 -49,145 -12.14 404,800 AR
California 32 3,035,587 56.83 32 2,257,646 42.27 24,692 0.46 16,117 0.30 273 0.01 777,941 14.56 5,341,603 CA
Colorado 6 379,782 60.27 6 245,504 38.96 1,919 0.30 352 0.06 134,278 21.31 630,103 CO
Connecticut 8 611,012 55.70 8 481,649 43.91 1,466 0.13 535 0.05 129,363 11.79 1,096,911 CT
Delaware 3 90,059 51.75 3 83,315 47.88 155 0.09 234 0.13 242 0.14 6,744 3.88 174,025 DE
Florida 10 544,036 54.99 10 444,950 44.97 99,086 10.02 989,337 FL
Georgia 12 198,979 30.34 456,823 69.66 12 -257,844 -39.32 655,803 GA
Idaho 4 180,707 65.42 4 95,081 34.42 443 0.16 85,626 31.00 276,231 ID
Illinois 27 2,457,327 54.84 27 2,013,920 44.94 9,363 0.21 443,407 9.90 4,481,058 IL
Indiana 13 1,136,259 58.11 13 801,530 40.99 1,222 0.06 15,335 0.78 979 0.05 334,729 17.12 1,955,325 IN
Iowa 10 808,906 63.75 10 451,513 35.59 5,085 0.40 2,882 0.23 139 0.01 357,393 28.17 1,268,773 IA
Kansas 8 616,302 68.77 8 273,296 30.50 6,038 0.67 343,006 38.27 896,166 KS
Kentucky 10 495,029 49.84 495,729 49.91 10 336 0.03 1,161 0.12 893 0.09 -700 -0.07 993,148 KY
Louisiana 10 306,925 47.08 345,027 52.92 10 -38,102 -5.84 651,952 LA
Maine 5 232,353 66.05 5 118,806 33.77 332 0.09 156 0.04 113,547 32.28 351,786 ME
Maryland 9 499,424 55.36 9 395,337 43.83 7,313 0.81 104,087 11.54 902,074 MD
Massachusetts 16 1,292,325 54.22 16 1,083,525 45.46 4,636 0.19 886 0.04 1,957 0.08 208,800 8.76 2,383,398 MA
Michigan 20 1,551,529 55.44 20 1,230,657 43.97 3,922 0.14 10,331 0.37 1,495 0.05 320,872 11.47 2,798,592 MI
Minnesota 11 763,211 55.33 11 608,458 44.11 2,666 0.19 2,147 0.16 2,383 0.17 154,753 11.22 1,379,483 MN
Mississippi 8 112,966 39.56 172,566 60.44 8 -59,600 -20.87 285,532 MS
Missouri 13 959,429 50.71 13 929,830 49.14 987 0.05 885 0.05 169 0.01 29,599 1.56 1,892,062 MO
Montana 4 157,394 59.39 4 106,213 40.07 723 0.27 548 0.21 51,181 19.31 265,037 MT
Nebraska 6 421,603 69.15 6 188,057 30.85 233,546 38.31 609,660 NE
Nevada 3 50,502 61.45 3 31,688 38.55 18,814 22.89 82,190 NV
New Hampshire 4 166,287 60.92 4 106,663 39.08 59,624 21.84 272,950 NH
New Jersey 16 1,374,613 56.81 16 1,015,902 41.99 5,589 0.23 989 0.04 5,815 0.24 358,711 14.83 2,419,554 NJ
New Mexico 4 132,170 55.39 4 105,661 44.28 225 0.09 297 0.12 35 0.01 26,509 11.11 238,608 NM
New York 45 3,952,815 55.45 45 3,104,601 43.55 64,211 0.90 1,560 0.02 848,214 11.90 7,128,241 NY
North Carolina 14 558,107 46.09 652,803 53.91 14 -94,696 -7.82 1,210,910 NC
North Dakota 4 191,712 70.97 4 76,694 28.39 344 0.13 302 0.11 115,018 42.58 270,127 ND
Ohio 25 2,100,391 56.76 25 1,600,367 43.24 500,024 13.51 3,700,758 OH
Oklahoma 8 518,045 54.59 8 430,939 45.41 87,106 9.18 948,984 OK
Oregon 6 420,815 60.54 6 270,579 38.93 3,665 0.53 150,236 21.61 695,059 OR
Pennsylvania 32 2,415,789 52.74 32 2,146,269 46.85 4,222 0.09 8,951 0.20 1,377 0.03 269,520 5.88 4,580,969 PA
Rhode Island 4 210,935 50.89 4 203,293 49.05 187 0.05 83 0.02 7,642 1.84 414,498 RI
South Carolina 8 168,082 49.28 173,004 50.72 8 -4,922 -1.44 341,086 SC
South Dakota 4 203,857 69.27 4 90,426 30.73 113,431 38.54 294,283 SD
Tennessee 11 446,147 49.99 11 443,710 49.71 885 0.10 1,432 0.16 2,437 0.27 892,553 TN
Texas 24 1,102,878 53.13 24 969,228 46.69 294 0.01 1,983 0.10 133,650 6.44 2,075,946 TX
Utah 4 194,190 58.93 4 135,364 41.07 58,826 17.85 329,554 UT
Vermont 3 109,717 71.45 3 43,355 28.23 282 0.18 66,362 43.22 153,557 VT
Virginia 12 349,037 56.32 12 268,677 43.36 311 0.05 1,160 0.19 80,360 12.97 619,689 VA
Washington 9 599,107 54.33 9 492,845 44.69 2,460 0.22 633 0.06 106,262 9.64 1,102,708 WA
West Virginia 8 419,970 48.08 453,578 51.92 8 -33,608 -3.85 873,548 WV
Wisconsin 12 979,744 60.95 12 622,175 38.71 2,174 0.14 770 0.05 357,569 22.25 1,607,370 WI
Wyoming 3 81,047 62.71 3 47,934 37.09 194 0.15 36 0.03 33,113 25.62 129,251 WY
TOTALS: 531 34,075,529 55.18 442 27,375,090 44.33 89 140,746 0.23 73,412 0.12 30,406 0.05 6,700,439 10.85 61,751,942 US

States that flipped from Democratic to Republican

States that flipped from Dixiecrat to Democratic

Close states

Election results in these states were within one percentage point (21 electoral votes):

  1. Kentucky, 0.07% (700 votes)
  2. Tennessee, 0.27% (2,437 votes)

Election results in these states were within five percentage points (36 electoral votes):

  1. South Carolina, 1.44% (4,922 votes)
  2. Missouri, 1.56% (29,599 votes)
  3. Rhode Island, 1.84% (7,642 votes)
  4. West Virginia, 3.85% (33,608 votes)
  5. Delaware, 3.88% (6,744 votes)

Election results in these states were between five and ten percentage points (140 electoral votes):

  1. Louisiana, 5.84% (38,102 votes)
  2. Pennsylvania, 5.88% (269,520 votes)
  3. Texas, 6.44% (133,650 votes)
  4. North Carolina, 7.82% (94,696 votes)
  5. Massachusetts, 8.76% (208,800 votes)
  6. Oklahoma, 9.18% (87,106 votes)
  7. Washington, 9.64% (106,262 votes)
  8. Illinois, 9.90% (443,407 votes)

Tipping point state:

  1. Michigan, 11.47% (320,872 votes)



Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)

  1. Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana 92.97%
  2. Gillespie County, Texas 92.29%
  3. McIntosh County, North Dakota 90.89%
  4. Campbell County, South Dakota 90.14%
  5. Kenedy County, Texas 88.52%

Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)

  1. Greene County, North Carolina 94.12%
  2. Hart County, Georgia 94.08%
  3. Treutlen County, Georgia 93.34%
  4. Martin County, North Carolina 92.98%
  5. Walton County, Georgia 91.89%

See also


  1. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ Sabato, Larry; Ernst, Howard (2006). "Presidential Election 1952". Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. Facts on File. p. 354. ISBN 9781438109947. Retrieved November 16, 2016. Eisenhower, born in Texas, considered a resident of New York, and headquartered at the time in Paris, finally decided to run for the Republican nomination....
  3. ^ "The Presidents". uselectionatlas.org. David Leip. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  4. ^ James C. Davies, "Charisma in the 1952 Campaign." American Political Science Review 48#4 (1954): 1083-102. online.
  5. ^ Kabaservice 2012, pp. 21–22.
  6. ^ Kabaservice 2012, pp. 10–11.
  7. ^ (Patterson, pp. 575-578)
  8. ^ (Patterson, pp. 591-592)
  9. ^ (Richard C. Bain and Judith H. Parris, Convention Decisions and Voting Records, pp. 280-286)
  10. ^ Page, Susan (April 22, 2008). "Disapproval of Bush breaks record". USA Today. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c (McKeever, p. 186)
  12. ^ "1952: The Election of a Military Hero". The Press and the Presidency. Kennesaw State University, Department of Political Science & International Affairs. August 31, 2001. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
  13. ^ Robert North Roberts; Scott John Hammond; Valerie A. Sulfaro (2012). Presidential Campaigns, Slogans, Issues, and Platforms. ABC-CLIO. p. 255. ISBN 9780313380921.
  14. ^ Smith, Peter H. (2007) [1996]. Talons of the Eagle: Dynamics of U.S. – Latin American Relations (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. p. 392.
  15. ^ Time: "The Corruption Issue: A Pandora's Box," September 24, 1956, accessed November 18, 2010
  16. ^ a b (Abels, p. 192)
  17. ^ a b (Halberstam, p. 234)
  18. ^ a b (Halberstam, p. 235)
  19. ^ (McCullough, p. 911)
  20. ^ (Halberstam, p. 236)
  21. ^ (McKeever, p. 237)
  22. ^ Quoted in Chester J. Pach, ed. (2017). A Companion to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Wiley. p. 136. ISBN 9781119027331.
  23. ^ Ed Cray, Ed Cray, General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman (1990: Cooper Square Press ed. 2000), pp. 686.
  24. ^ Gibbs, Nancy (November 10, 2008). "When New President Meets Old, It's Not Always Pretty". Time. Archived from the original on November 11, 2008.
  25. ^ "Executives – Are you afraid to say 'I don't know?'".
  26. ^ TIME: "National Affairs: Public Accounting," October 27, 1952, accessed November 18, 2010
  27. ^ Mason, Robert (2013). "Citizens for Eisenhower and the Republican Party, 1951–1965" (PDF). The Historical Journal. 56 (2): 513–536. doi:10.1017/S0018246X12000593. S2CID 54894636.
  28. ^ a b Sullivan, Robert David; 'How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century'; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  29. ^ Murphy, Paul (1974). Political Parties In American History, Volume 3, 1890-present. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
  30. ^ Murphy, Eugene F.; Berkeley, Edmund C. (January 1, 1953). "Automatic Computers on Election Night". The Computing Machinery Field 1953-01: Vol 2 Iss 1. Internet Archive. Berkeley Enterprises. pp. 27–28.
  31. ^ UNIVAC: the troubled life of America's first computer arstechnica.com. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  32. ^ a b "1952 Presidential General Election Data – National". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved March 18, 2013.

Further reading

Primary sources