Dewey Defeats Truman!: The Election of 1948

(This post was inspired by  my comment on Koshersalaami's Latest post: My worry about Nate Silver's election prediction )

The Election of 1948

On election night,   earlier press deadline required the first post-election issue of the Tribune to go to press before even the East Coast states had reported many results from the polling places.

The paper relied on its veteran Washington correspondent and political analyst Arthur Sears Henning, who had predicted the winner in four out of five presidential contests in the past 20 years.

Conventional wisdom, supported by polls, was almost unanimous that a Dewey presidency was "inevitable", and that the New York governor would win the election handily. The first (one-star) edition of the Tribune therefore went to press with the banner headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN".

The story, by Tribune  correspondent,  Henning , also reported Republican control of the  House of Representatives and  Senate  that would work with President-elect Dewey. Henning wrote that "Dewey and  Warren  won a sweeping victory in the presidential election yesterday.

The early returns showed the Republican ticket leading Truman and  Barkley pretty consistently in the western and southern states" and added that "indications were that the complete returns would disclose that Dewey won the presidency by an overwhelming majority of the electoral vote".

As returns began to indicate a close race later in the evening, Henning continued to stick to his prediction, and thousands of papers continued to roll off the presses with the banner headline predicting a Dewey victory.

Even after the paper's lead story was rewritten to emphasize local races and to indicate the narrowness of Dewey's lead in the national race, the same banner headline was left on the front page.

Only late in the evening, after press dispatches cast doubt upon the certainty of Dewey's victory, did the Tribune change the headline to "DEMOCRATS MAKE SWEEP OF STATE OFFICES" for the later two-star edition. Some 150,000 copies of the paper had already been printed with the erroneous headline before the gaffe was corrected.

Truman, as it turned out, won the electoral vote by a 303–189–39 majority over Dewey and Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmond, though a swing of less than one percent of the popular vote in Ohio, Illinois, and California would have produced a Dewey victory,

Instead of the predicted Republican sweep of the White House, and retention of both houses of Congress, the  Democrats not only won the Presidency,,  but also took control of the Senate and  the House of Representatives.


Hillary, and her supporters, should take nothing for granted.

There are no guarantees in prime time,  high stakes, electoral politics.

Views: 189

Comment by JMac1949 Today on June 30, 2016 at 6:39am

Truman came before my time but like a lot of Americans I always liked that tough old bird.  One thing's for sure in 2016, Donald Trump is no Harry Truman.   R&L ;-)

Comment by koshersalaami on June 30, 2016 at 6:43am
You're not the first guy to start posts on my threads and you won't be the last. Good post.
I do the same thing, by the way. A lot of my posts start life as comments elsewhere.
Comment by Ron Powell on June 30, 2016 at 7:20am

@JMac; I'm thinking that as bad as Trump is as a candidate, and as inevitable a Clinton victory might seem, take nothing for granted.

Hillary's people underestimated Obama. The rest is history.

Comment by Ron Powell on June 30, 2016 at 7:34am

@Kosh;  I find that it helps to boost readership to "double-post" in this fashion.

Especially when/where  credit is given when/where credit is due. 

Accordinglry, please note revision of post.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on June 30, 2016 at 9:16am

Nah.  Hillary has this all wrapped up.  she has both parties supporting her.  Y'all should just stay home on November 8th and rest up for your victory celebration or some such.

Comment by Ron Powell on June 30, 2016 at 11:11am
@SBA; Is that a concession comment?
Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on June 30, 2016 at 11:37am

@SBA; Is that a concession comment?

Yeah... sure.  Hillary has such a lock on it that everyone might as well stay home in November and take it easy.  She's got this in the bag.  No worries.  y'all can just relax and save yourself a drive and avoid all of them long lines.

Comment by Arthur James on June 30, 2016 at 12:28pm



it fun to say:


some day Nature

Will Find a Voice.

She will Artiuculate 

via a ` Human Tongue.

She do ` Expose at a

Perfect ` Moment....


This inspires me'

to get new tires for

a  1948 Studabaker

Duel-Axle Farm Truck.


A Photo is at?


Pacific Free Press

or Atlantic Free Press.

I ceased commenting.

It a Sister Site - Chris

Floyd - Empire Burlesque.


Somehow? I got stuck @

Open, Old Salon, and

now @ ` Our Salon.


Life sure is a Big aye?

Grand Mystery. I gotta

get Brake Shoes for the

1947 ` Farm Studabaker



I dewey 

hope I

Be very


and Functional.



Comment by koshersalaami on June 30, 2016 at 12:28pm
Now, if you can just persuade 50 million Republicans or so and maybe that many Democrats to stay home, Dr. Dogcatcher might get a miracle. Including coattails. A Green senate.
Comment by koshersalaami on June 30, 2016 at 12:28pm
Make that House. You can't get a Green Senate in one election cycle.
Green House. Has a nice ring to it.


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