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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  Election What-ifs?
  Past Election What-ifs (US) (Moderators: Babette d'Interlaken, Apocrypha)
  FDR vs. Robert Taft 1940 with no WWII (search mode)
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Author Topic: FDR vs. Robert Taft 1940 with no WWII  (Read 3530 times)
True Federalist
Ernest
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« on: February 13, 2010, 11:49:32 pm »

No WW II means that the economy will be worse than it was in our 1940 because of less war spending by ourselves and the Allies.  It also means that the no third term sentiment will be stronger.  It will be close and whether FDR wins will depend on whether a serious Democratic hopeful makes a big issue out of the "no third term" issue in the run up to the convention in hopes forcing FDR to step aside as was the custom.  Indeed, absent WW II it is far from certain that FDR would have had the gall to try for a third term.
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True Federalist
Ernest
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2010, 12:33:03 am »
« Edited: February 14, 2010, 01:01:43 am by True Federalist »



D: 51.5% PV: 225 EV
R: 48.0% PV: 241 EV
CT, MA, NH & PA: Too close to call: 65 EV

FDR will win the popular vote handily, but winning the solid South by large margins doesn't translate into extra electoral votes.

Edit: On reflection, Connecticut belongs in the tossup category.
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True Federalist
Ernest
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2010, 01:10:07 am »

FDR only won New York by 3.56% in 1940.  Only Wisconsin and Illinois were weaker for him than New York of the States he won.  In anything like a close election, the Empire State would have gone solidly into the Republican column.
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True Federalist
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2010, 01:38:50 am »

The early 1940's were a high point of Republican influence in the Empire State.  LaGuardia was Mayor and Dewey would become Governor in 1942.  Tammany Hall was in disarray.

Plus there's the fact that with political polling in its infancy back then, it's doubtful that FDR would have realized he was in particular trouble in New York State until it was too late.

Plus there is the fact that Taft may well have selected the popular Dewey as his running mate.  Dewey did win the most primaries before the election. (Wilkie couldn't pick Dewey because he too was from New York.)  Indeed, absent the war as an issue, Dewey would have been more likely than Taft to win the nomination in 1940 in my opinion, but Taft certainly would have had a legitimate shot.
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True Federalist
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2010, 12:23:19 pm »

Wilkie was born in Indiana, but lived in New York by 1940 as he had made his mark in business. He wasn't a candidate who attracted home state sympathies, nor did he do well in urban areas. In many respects, Wilkie was the Ross Perot of his day. The main reason the GOP coalesced around that ex-Democrat was because out of the major contenders, he was the only one not tarred by the taint of isolationism.

As for polling, there was not yet the phenomenon of the daily tracking poll, and politicians had not yet come to live and die by their poll numbers.

Actually, the main mark against Dewey was his youth as he was only 38.  He'd built up an impressive record of fighting corruption and organized crime.

In any case, we'll have to disagree about whether New York goes in the Republican column in a close 1940 election.
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True Federalist
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2010, 01:03:11 pm »

I think NY would belong in the toss-up column at best if there is a 3% swing to the Republicans from RL, since FDR won New York by 3.6% in 1940 and 3.6-3=0.6%. So it is still possible FDR would have won New York even if the GOP wouldhave won 48% of the popular vote.

You're counting swing two different ways.  If you're going to count the GOP national swing as 3.2% if they improve from 44.8% to 48.0% nationally then they only need a 1.8% swing to reach a tossup in New York using the same method.  If there was a uniform swing of 3.2% then the GOP would win New York 51.2% to 48.4%.

Note, I don't use uniform swing, but a somewhat different method of figuring out swings for these hypotheticals that assumes that States with large margins are less affected by swing than close States, so for example, I figured that NY swung by 3.6% for my prediction while in Virginia the swing was only 2.4% and in South Carolina it was only 0.3% bringing the GOP from 4.4% in the Iodine State to 4.7% for 1940.

People are selling Taft too high.  He had no charisma, and had no national profile at the time; he'd barely do better than Wilkie.

It's not the change in candidate, but the lack of a war that mainly affects the outcome.
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True Federalist
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 05:35:07 pm »

I think it would have been easy for FDR to tie Taft to Hoover, and considering unemployment was still very high in 1940, it might have very well worked.

Quite the reverse. if the recession of 1937-8 extends into 1940 because of no war, it will hurt the Democrats, and not just because of voters deciding to give the Republicans a second chance.  FDR could also bleed votes to the minor parties of the left as well.
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