Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
FMC Home Link PBS Program LinkFMC Book LinkViewer's Voices LinkInteractivity LinkTeacher's Guide
  Timeline LinkTrends Challenge Link

FMC Logo 1
  < Back to Timeline

  Timeline:
 
EVENTS

  Wave of Immigration
  Hollerith Machine
  Chicago World's Fair
  Turner Frontier Essay
  Growth of Cities
  The Melting Pot
  World War I
  Sheppard-Towner Act
  Immigration Laws
  Stock Market Crash
  Great Depression
  1936 Election
  World War II
  Executive Order 8802
  1948 Election
  Civil Rights Act
  Deregulation
  "Goldilocks" Economy
  Census 2000

FMC Logo 2  

spacer
The 1948 Presidential Election

1948 -  Truman runs against Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican nominee in the 1948 presidential election. The scientific pollsters, including George Gallup, all predicted that Dewey would beat Truman. (Gallup had won a dramatic bet by correctly predicting the outcome of the 1936 election.) Newspapers were so sure the pollsters were right that they printed the headline, "Dewey Beats Truman." But they were wrong. 

Truman beat Dewey and the race wasn't even that close (Truman won by 3.5 percentage points). What had gone wrong? The pollsters had stopped polling a week before the election. They thought that people's votes would not change before the election. But in 1948 there were two strong independent candidates whose support eroded away in the last week. By stopping their polling too soon, the pollsters missed this shift away from the third party candidates back to the major parties. Since most of the votes shifted to Truman, he won the election.

Related Links:

Program Segment 7

Interviews:
A. Gallup
G. Gallup
Moore

Book Reference:
Presidential Vote

<< Back to Timeline

spacer  
 
spacer

PBS Program | Trends of the Century | Viewer's Voices | Interactivity | Teacher's Guide

  spacer