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U.S. Presidential Election 1936

The presidential election of 1936 was a race between incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Republican opponent, Governor Alf Landon. Though the incumbent had the advantage,
Landon was predicted to win. The election resulted in Roosevelt's reelection with the largest win in terms of electoral votes in U.S. history. The Democratic Party had an easy choice with incumbent President Roosevelt, whose New Deal policies had generally been well received by the public. Henry Skillman Breckinridge, who opposed Roosevelt's fiscal policies and New Deal, took him on in a few primaries, but could not compete. The Democratic National Convention chose Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner unanimously to run for reelection.

The Republican frontrunners were Governor of Kansas Alf Landon, William Borah who served in the Senate for Idaho, and publisher Frank Knox. While the progressive candidate, Borah, did well in the primaries, when Landon asked Knox to be his running mate, Landon was chosen easily to be the Republican nominee.

A popular and typically accurate poll was released declaring Landon the election winner by a wide margin. The results of the poll, which came from a publication called The Literary Digest, were based on voluntary response.


Without a random sample, the results were skewed in favor of the Republican candidate, and not representative of public opinion.This failure demonstrated the flaws in the voluntary response method of polling, and changed the way polls were run in the future.

Despite these poll results, Roosevelt won the 1936 election by the widest margin in U.S. history since the formation of the two-party system, losing just eight electoral votes from two states. Franklin D. Roosevelt continued as President of the United States for his second term.



Presidential CandidateHome StatePartyElectoral VotesRunning Mate
Franklin D. RooseveltNew YorkDemocratic523John N. Garner
Alfred M. LandonKansasRepublican8Frank Knox
William LemkeNorth DakotaUnion0Thomas C. O'Brien
Norman ThomasNew YorkSocialist0George A. Nelson
Earl BrowderKansasCommunist0James W. Ford
Total531