The United States presidential election of 1928 was the 36th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 6, 1928. Republican Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover defeated the Democratic nominee, Governor Al Smith of New York. Hoover was the last Republican to win a presidential election until 1952.
After President Calvin Coolidge declined to seek reelection, Hoover emerged as his party's front-runner. As Hoover's intra-party opponents failed to unite around a candidate, Hoover received a large majority of the vote at the 1928 Republican National Convention. The strong state of the economy discouraged some Democrats from running, and Smith was nominated on the first ballot of the 1928 Democratic National Convention. Hoover and Smith had been widely known as potential presidential candidates long before the 1928 campaign, and both were generally regarded as outstanding leaders. Each candidate was a newcomer to the presidential race and presented in his person and record an appeal of unknown potency to the electorate. Each candidate also faced serious discontent within his party membership, and neither had the wholehearted support of his party organization.
In the end, the Republicans were identified with the booming economy of the 1920s, whereas Smith, a Roman Catholic, suffered politically from anti-Catholic prejudice, his anti-prohibitionist stance, and his association with the legacy of corruption of Tammany Hall. Hoover won a third straight Republican landslide and made substantial inroads in the traditionally Democratic Solid South, winning several states that had not voted for a Republican since the end of Reconstruction. Hoover's victory made him the first president born west of the Mississippi River, and he is the most recent sitting member of the Cabinet to win a major party's presidential nomination.
|1928 United States presidential election|
531 electoral votes of the Electoral College
266 electoral votes needed to win
|Turnout||56.9% 8.0 pp|
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Hoover/Curtis, blue denotes those won by Smith/Robinson. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
|Republican Party Ticket, 1928|
|Herbert Hoover||Charles Curtis|
|for President||for Vice President|
U.S. Secretary of Commerce
|U.S. Senator from Kansas |
(1907–1913 & 1915–1929)
With President Coolidge choosing not to enter the race, the race for the nomination was wide open. The leading candidates were Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, former Illinois Governor Frank Orren Lowden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis. A draft-Coolidge movement failed to gain traction with party insiders and failed to persuade Coolidge himself.
In the few primaries that mattered, Hoover did not perform as well as expected, and it was thought that the president or Vice-President Charles G. Dawes might accept a draft in case of a deadlock, but Lowden withdrew just as the convention was about to start, paving the way for a Hoover victory.
The Republican Convention, held in Kansas City, Missouri, from June 12 to 15, nominated Hoover on the first ballot. With Hoover disinclined to interfere in the selection of his running mate, the party leaders were at first partial to giving Dawes a shot at a second term, but when this information leaked, Coolidge sent an angry telegram saying that he would consider a second nomination for Dawes, whom he hated, a "personal affront." To attract votes from farmers concerned about Hoover's pro-business orientation, it was instead offered to Senator Curtis, who accepted. He was nominated overwhelmingly on the first ballot.
In his acceptance speech eight weeks after the convention ended, Secretary Hoover said: "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of this land... We shall soon with the help of God be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this land." The phrase would eventually haunt Hoover during the Great Depression.
|Presidential Ballot||Vice Presidential Ballot|
|Herbert Hoover||837||Charles Curtis||1,052|
|Frank Orren Lowden||74||Herman Ekern||19|
|Charles Curtis||64||Charles G. Dawes||13|
|James Eli Watson||45||Hanford MacNider||2|
|George W. Norris||24|
|Guy D. Goff||18|
|Charles G. Dawes||4|
|Charles Evans Hughes||1|
|Democratic Party Ticket, 1928|
|Al Smith||Joseph T. Robinson|
|for President||for Vice President|
Governor of New York
(1919–1920 & 1923–1928)
|U.S. Senator from Arkansas|
With the memory of the Teapot Dome scandal rapidly fading, and the current state of prosperity making the party's prospects look dim, most of the major Democratic leaders, such as William Gibbs McAdoo, were content to sit this one out. One who did not was New York Governor Al Smith, who had tried twice before to secure the Democratic nomination.
The leadership asked the delegates to nominate Sen. Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas, who was in many ways Smith's political polar opposite, to be his running mate, and he was nominated for vice-president.
Smith was the first Roman Catholic to gain a major party's nomination for president, and his religion became an issue during the campaign. Many Protestants feared that Smith would take orders from church leaders in Rome in making decisions affecting the country.
|Presidential Ballot||Vice Presidential Ballot|
|Al Smith||849.17||Joseph Taylor Robinson||1,035.17|
|Cordell Hull||71.84||Alben W. Barkley||77|
|Walter F. George||52.5||Nellie Tayloe Ross||31|
|James A. Reed||52||Henry Tureman Allen||28|
|Atlee Pomerene||47||George L. Berry||17.5|
|Jesse H. Jones||43||Dan Moody||9.33|
|Evans Woollen||32||Duncan U. Fletcher||7|
|Pat Harrison||20||John H. Taylor||6|
|William A. Ayres||20||Lewis Stevenson||4|
|Richard C. Watts||18||Evans Woollen||2|
|Gilbert Hitchcock||16||Joseph Patrick Tumulty||100|
|A. Victor Donahey||5|
|Theodore G. Bilbo||1|
The Prohibition Party Convention was held in Chicago from July 10 through July 12. Smith openly opposed Prohibition. Some members of the Prohibition Party wanted to throw their support to Hoover, thinking that their candidate would not win and that they did not want their candidate to provide the margin by which Smith would win. Nonetheless, William F. Varney was nominated for president over Hoover by a margin of 68–45.
Anti-Catholicism was a significant problem for Smith's campaign. Protestant ministers warned that he would take orders from the pope who, many Americans sincerely believed, would move to the United States to rule the country from a fortress in Washington, D.C., if Smith won. According to a popular joke, after the election he sent a one-word telegram advising Pope Pius XI to "Unpack". Beyond the conspiracy theories, a survey of 8,500 Southern Methodist Church ministers found only four who supported Smith, and the northern Methodists, Southern Baptists, and Disciples of Christ were similar in their opposition. Many voters who sincerely rejected bigotry and the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan—which had declined during the 1920s until the 1928 campaign revived it—justified their opposition to Smith on their belief that the Catholic Church was an "un-American", "alien culture" that opposed freedom and democracy.
An example was a statement issued in September 1928 by the National Lutheran Editors' and Managers' Association that opposed Smith's election. The manifesto, written by Dr. Clarence Reinhold Tappert, warned about "the peculiar relation in which a faithful Catholic stands and the absolute allegiance he owes to a 'foreign sovereign' who does not only 'claim' supremacy also in secular affairs as a matter of principle and theory but who, time and again, has endeavored to put this claim into practical operation." The Catholic Church, the manifesto asserted, was hostile to American principles of separation of church and state and of religious toleration. Groups circulated a million copies of a counterfeit oath claiming that fourth degree Knights of Columbus members swore to exterminate Freemasons and Protestants and commit violence against anyone, if the church so ordered. Smith's opposition to Prohibition, a key reform promoted by Protestants, also lost him votes, as did his association with Tammany Hall. Because many anti-Catholics used these issues as a cover for their religious prejudices, Smith's campaign had difficulty denouncing anti-Catholicism as bigotry without offending others who favored Prohibition or disliked Tammany's corruption.
Due to these issues, Smith lost several states of the Solid South that had been carried by Democrats since Reconstruction. However, in many southern states with sizable African American populations (and where the vast majority of African Americans could not vote at the time), many believed that Hoover supported integration, or at least was not committed to maintaining segregation, which in turn overcame opposition to Smith's campaign. During the campaign, Mississippi Governor Theodore G. Bilbo claimed that Hoover had met with a black member of the Republican National Committee and danced with her. Hoover's campaign quickly denied the "untruthful and ignoble assertion".
Smith's religion helped him with Roman Catholic New England immigrants (especially Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans), which may explain his narrow victories in traditionally Republican Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as his narrow loss in his home state of New York, where previous Democratic presidential candidates lost by double digits, but which Smith only lost by two percent.
The total vote exceeded that of 1924 by nearly eight million. It was nearly twice the vote cast in 1916 and nearly three times that of 1896. Every section in the Union increased its vote, the Mountain, East South Central and West South Central sections least of all. The greatest increases were in the heavily populated (Northeastern) Mid-Atlantic and East North Central sections, where more than 4,250,000 more votes were cast, more than half of the nationwide increase. There was an increase of over a million each in New York and Pennsylvania.
Hoover won the election by a wide margin on pledges to continue the economic boom of the Coolidge years. He received more votes than any candidate of the Republican Party previously had in every state except five: Rhode Island, Iowa, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Hoover vote was greater than the Coolidge vote in 2,932 counties; it was less in 143 of the comparable counties. The 21,400,000 votes cast for Hoover also touched the high-water mark for all votes for a presidential candidate up to that time and were an increase of more than 5,500,000 over the Coolidge vote four years earlier. The Republican ticket made substantial inroads in the South: the heaviest Democratic losses were in the three Southern sections (South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central). These losses included 215 counties that had never before supported a Republican presidential candidate, distributed as follows: Alabama (14), Arkansas (5), Florida (22), Georgia (4), Kentucky (28), Maryland (3), Mississippi (1), Missouri (10), North Carolina (16), Tennessee (3), Texas (64), Virginia (26), West Virginia (4). In Georgia, eight counties recorded more votes cast for "anti-Smith" electors than either of the two-party candidates, while one county in Wyoming had no recorded votes.
The electoral votes of North Carolina and Virginia had not been awarded to a Republican since 1872, while Florida had not been carried by a Republican since the heavily disputed election of 1876. Texas was carried by a Republican for the first time in its history, leaving Georgia as the only remaining state never carried by a Republican presidential candidate. Georgia was eventually won by Barry Goldwater in 1964. In all, Smith carried only six of the eleven states of the former Confederacy, the lowest number carried by a Democratic candidate since the end of Reconstruction.
Smith polled more votes than any previous Democratic candidate in thirty of the 48 states, all but Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. In only four of these (Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico) did Smith receive fewer votes than Davis had in 1924.
Smith received nearly as many votes as Coolidge had in 1924, and his vote exceeded Davis's by more than six and half million. The Democratic vote was greater than in 1924 in 2,080 counties; it fell off in 997 counties. In only one section did the Democratic vote drop below 38%, and that was the Pacific section, the only one in which the Republican percentage exceeded 60%. But the Democrats made gains in five sections. Of these counties, fourteen had never been Democratic and seven had been Democratic only once. The size and the nature of the distribution of the Democratic vote illustrates Smith's strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. Despite evidence of an increased Democratic vote, Smith's overwhelming defeat in the electoral college and the retention of so few Democratic counties reflected Hoover's greater appeal. Smith won the electoral votes of only the Deep Southern States of the Democratic Solid South (plus Robinson's home state of Arkansas) and the New England states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which had a large proportion of Catholic voters. His 87 electoral votes were the fewest a Democratic candidate had won since the 80 votes earned by Horatio Seymour in 1868 (not counting Horace Greeley in 1872, who was endorsed by the Democratic Party, but ran as a Liberal Republican). Hoover even triumphed by a narrow margin in Smith's home state of New York. Smith carried 914 counties, the fewest in the Fourth Party System. The Republican total leaped to 2,174 counties, a greater number than in the great overturn of 1920.
Third-party support sank almost to the vanishing point, as the election of 1928 proved to be a two-party contest to a greater extent than any other in the Fourth Party System. Until the major split before the 1948 election in the Democratic Party between Southern Democrats and the more liberal Northern faction, no further significant third-party candidacies as seen in 1912 and 1924 were to occur. All "other" votes totaled only 1.08 percent of the national popular vote. The Socialist vote sank to 267,478, and in seven states there were no Socialist votes.
This was the last election in which the Republicans won North Carolina until 1968, the last when they won Kentucky and West Virginia until 1956, the last when they won Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington until 1952, the last when they won Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon until 1948, the last when they won Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming until 1944, and the last when they won Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota until 1940. As of 2016 it remains the last election when the Republican candidate carried the three contiguous counties of Saint Louis County, Minnesota, Carlton County, Minnesota and Douglas County, Wisconsin, and the last until Donald Trump in 2016 when the Republicans carried neighboring Itasca County, Minnesota, Columbia County, Oregon or Grays Harbor County, Washington. It is also the last occasion when Wayne County, Michigan supported a Republican candidate and the only occasion since 1908 when Republicans have carried Orange County, North Carolina.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote||Electoral
|Count||Percentage||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Electoral vote|
|Herbert Hoover||Republican||California||21,427,123||58.21%||444||Charles Curtis||Kansas||444|
|Al Smith||Democratic||New York||15,015,464||40.80%||87||Joseph Taylor Robinson||Arkansas||87|
|Norman Thomas||Socialist||New York||267,478||0.73%||0||James H. Maurer||Pennsylvania||0|
|William Z. Foster||Communist||Massachusetts||48,551||0.13%||0||Benjamin Gitlow||New York||0|
|Verne L. Reynolds||Socialist Labor||Michigan||21,590||0.06%||0||Jeremiah D. Crowley||New York||0|
|William F. Varney||Prohibition||New York||20,095||0.05%||0||James Edgerton||Virginia||0|
|Frank Webb||Farmer-Labor||California||6,390||0.02%||0||LeRoy R. Tillman||Georgia||0|
|Needed to win||266||266|
Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1928 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved July 28, 2005.
|States won by Hoover/Curtis|
|States won by Smith/Robinson|
|Alfred E. Smith
Margin of victory less than 1% (5 electoral votes):
Margin of victory less than 5% (95 electoral votes):
Margin of victory between 5% and 10% (60 electoral votes):
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Republican)
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Democratic)
Counties with Highest Percent of Vote (Other)
The 1928 United States presidential election in Arizona took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election. Arizona voters chose three representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Arizona was won by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (R–California), running with U.S. Senator from Kansas Charles Curtis, with 57.57% of the popular vote, against Governor of New York Al Smith (D–New York), running with U.S. Senator from Arkansas Joseph Taylor Robinson, with 42.23% of the popular vote.1928 United States presidential election in California
In the 1928 United States presidential election, California voted for the Republican nominee, former Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, in a landslide over the Democratic nominee, New York Governor Al Smith.1928 United States presidential election in Connecticut
The 1928 United States presidential election in Connecticut took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election which was held throughout all contemporary forty-eight states. Voters chose seven representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Connecticut voted for the Republican nominee, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California, over the Democratic nominee, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. Hoover’s running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas, while Smith ran with Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas.
Hoover won Connecticut by a narrow margin of 8.06 percent.1928 United States presidential election in Georgia
The 1928 United States presidential election in Georgia took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the wider United States Presidential election. Voters chose fourteen representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.1928 United States presidential election in Maine
The 1928 United States presidential election in Maine took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election which was held throughout all contemporary forty-eight states. Voters chose six representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Maine voted for the Republican nominee, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California, over the Democratic nominee, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. Hoover’s running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas, while Smith ran with Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas.
Hoover won Maine by a margin of 37.67 percent, making Maine his third-strongest state after Kansas and Michigan.1928 United States presidential election in Michigan
The 1928 United States presidential election in Michigan took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election. Michigan voters chose fifteen representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Michigan voted for Republican nominees Herbert Hoover of California and his running mate Charles Curtis in a landslide. The ticket received slightly over 70% of the popular vote compared to the Democrat's Al Smith of New York and Joseph T. Robinson's 28.92%.With 70.36% of the popular vote, Michigan would prove to be Hoover's second strongest victory in the nation after Kansas.As of 2018, this remains the last time the Republican candidate carried Wayne County, home of Michigan's most populated city, Detroit.1928 United States presidential election in Minnesota
The 1928 United States presidential election in Minnesota took place on November 6, 1928, in Minnesota as part of the 1928 United States presidential election.
The Republican candidate, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover won the state over New York governor Al Smith by a margin of 164,526 votes, or 16.94 percent. Nationally, Hoover won the election, with 444 electoral votes and a landslide 17.41 percent lead over Smith in the popular vote. This was the last presidential election held in Minnesota before the elimination of the 10th congressional district, and hence the last presidential election in which Minnesota had 12 electoral votes. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Carlton County and St. Louis County voted for a Republican Presidential candidate.1928 United States presidential election in Montana
The 1928 United States presidential election in Montana took place on November 6, 1928. Voters chose four representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Montana strongly voted for the Republican nominee, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, over the Democratic nominee, New York Governor Al Smith. Hoover won Montana by a landslide margin of 17.89 percent. The Republicans at this time were associated with the booming economy of the 1920s while Smith was associated with the corruption of Tammany Hall.1928 United States presidential election in New Hampshire
The 1928 United States presidential election in New Hampshire took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election which was held throughout all contemporary forty-eight states. Voters chose four representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
New Hampshire voted for the Republican nominee, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California, over the Democratic nominee, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. Hoover’s running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas, while Smith ran with Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas.
Hoover won New Hampshire by a margin of 17.63 percent, almost exactly the same as his national figure, though a decline upon Calvin Coolidge’s 1924 margin.1928 United States presidential election in New Jersey
The 1928 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place on November 6, 1928. All contemporary 48 states were part of the 1928 United States presidential election. New Jersey voters chose 14 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.
New Jersey was won by the Republican nominees, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California and his running mate Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas. Hoover and Curtis defeated the Democratic nominees, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York and his running mate Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas.
Hoover carried New Jersey with 59.77% of the vote to Smith's 39.79%, a victory margin of 19.98%.Finishing in a distant third was the Socialist Party candidate Norman Thomas, with only 0.32%.
New Jersey in this era was a staunchly Republican state, having not given a majority of the vote to a Democratic presidential candidate since 1892. (In 1912, Woodrow Wilson, then the sitting Governor of New Jersey, won the state's electoral votes, but with a plurality of only 41% in a 3-way race against a split Republican field, with former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt running as a third party candidate against incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft. Wilson lost the state to the GOP by a decisive 12-point margin in a head-to-head match-up in 1916.)
As Herbert Hoover was winning a third consecutive nationwide Republican landslide amidst the economic boom and social good feelings of the Roaring Twenties under popular Republican leadership, New Jersey easily remained in the Republican column.
However Smith for his part did make dramatic gains for the Democratic Party in New Jersey, laying the groundwork for ultimately turning the state Democratic just four years later in 1932. In 1920, Republican Warren G. Harding had carried the state over Democrat James M. Cox by a massive 68-28 margin. In 1924, southern Democrat John W. Davis had received only 27% of the vote in the state to Republican Calvin Coolidge's 62%. Even as Hoover won a third nationwide Republican landslide, New Jersey swung 15-20 points toward the Democrats over the previous 1920s GOP performances in the state, with Smith taking nearly 40% of the statewide vote.
On the county level map, reflecting the decisiveness of his victory, Hoover won 20 of the state's 21 counties.
Despite losing ground overall at the state level, Hoover made gains in rural parts of the state; his strongest county win by far was in rural Salem County at the southernmost tip of South Jersey by the Delaware border, where he broke 80% of the vote, a dramatic improvement over the 60% vote shares won in the county by Republicans in 1920 and 1924.
However Al Smith, a New York City native, and Roman Catholic of Irish, Italian and German immigrant heritage, appealed greatly to urban areas populated by ethnic immigrant communities, laying the groundwork for a new urban Democratic coalition. Urban parts of New Jersey, particularly in North Jersey which shared close ties with New York City, swung in Smith's favor. Essex County, home to Newark, swung Democratic, as did Middlesex County, Passaic County, Union County, Bergen County, and Mercer County.
But by far the greatest Democratic swing occurred in heavily populated Hudson County, part of the New York City metro area, and populated by many urban ethnic Catholic immigrant communities. Despite losing every other county in the state, Al Smith won Hudson County with a commanding majority of more than 60% of the vote. This mirrored the results in the nearby 5 boroughs of New York City right across the Hudson River, all of which swung from voting Republican in 1920 and 1924 to voting decisively Democratic in 1928.
While New Jersey remained Republican in 1928, its overall trend was Democratic, going from being 13% more Republican than the nation in 1920 to 10% more Republican the nation in 1924 to only 2.56% more Republican than the nation in 1928, foreshadowing New Jersey's political future as being a closely divided swing state with only a slight Republican lean for much of the 20th century until New Jersey ultimately became a solid Democratic state in the 1990s.1928 United States presidential election in New Mexico
The 1928 United States presidential election in New Mexico took place on November 6, 1928. All contemporary forty-eight states were part of the United States presidential election. New Mexico voters chose three electors to represent them in the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.1928 United States presidential election in New York
The 1928 United States presidential election in New York took place on November 6, 1928. All contemporary 48 states were part of the 1928 United States presidential election. New York voters chose 45 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the president and vice president.
New York was won by Republican Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California, who was running against Democratic Governor of New York Alfred E. Smith. Hoover's running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas, while Smith's running mate was Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas.
Hoover won with a plurality of 49.79% of the vote to Smith's 47.44%, a margin of 2.35%. Socialist candidate Norman Thomas finished a distant third, with 2.44%.
Although New York was Al Smith's home state and he had been elected governor there, the 1920s were a fiercely Republican decade in American politics, and New York in that era was a fiercely Republican state in presidential elections. In 1928, Herbert Hoover was winning the third consecutive nationwide Republican landslide, and the economic boom and social good feelings of the Roaring Twenties under popular Republican leadership proved too much for Smith to overcome both nationally and in his home state.
However Smith's performance in New York was still impressive in the context of the 1920s, and highly significant in shaping the state's political development. In the elections preceding 1928, New York had been more Republican than the nation as a whole, even in the nationwide Republican landslides of 1920 and 1924. Smith's narrow 2-point defeat in the midst of the nationwide Republican landslide of 1928 made New York State a whopping 15% more Democratic than the national average.
Smith's 47.44% was also the highest vote share percentage a Democratic presidential candidate had received in New York State since former New York Governor Grover Cleveland won the state in 1892.
Smith dramatically improved upon how Democrats before him had done, and laid the groundwork for turning the state Democratic in 1932 and beyond. In 1920 and 1924, Republicans had swept every county in New York State and Democrats had received less than 30% of the vote. In 1928, Smith came within 2 points of winning the state by sweeping all 5 boroughs of heavily populated New York City, winning the state capital of Albany and Albany County along with neighboring Rensselaer County, and winning two counties in northern New York along the Saint Lawrence River, Clinton County and Franklin County.
Key to Smith's strength in New York State was his sweep of the massively populated 5 boroughs of New York City. A New York City native, Smith took over 60% of the vote in Manhattan and the Bronx, and also won majorities in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Up to this point, 1928 was the strongest victory ever for a Democrat in NYC. Smith, a Roman Catholic of Irish, Italian, and German immigrant heritage, held special appeal to Catholic and ethnic immigrant communities that populated cities like New York and Boston. The first Catholic to be nominated on a major-party ticket, Smith's Catholicism would severely weaken his candidacy in many rural parts of the country, especially in the South, but would prove an asset in appealing to voters in New York.
The urban, ethnic coalition that delivered New York City to Al Smith would prove to be a harbinger of long-term realignment of both the city and the state toward the Democratic Party. 1928 began a Democratic winning streak in New York City that has never been broken since, as New York would be solidified as one of the most Democratic cities in the United States, and a major obstacle to overcome for any Republican seeking to compete in New York State. 1928 also turned the state capital of Albany, which had previously been a Republican city, into a Democratic bastion in upstate New York.
Hoover for his part was able to hold on to New York State's electoral votes in 1928 by sweeping much of traditionally staunchly Republican upstate New York and Long Island. In addition, the turnout and margins were not yet there in New York City to overcome Republican dominance in the rest of the state. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt would build on Smith's coalition to flip New York State into the Democratic column, winning the state with virtually the same county map as Smith, but with stronger margins and turnout.1928 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania
The 1928 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania took place on November 6, 1928 as part of the 1928 United States presidential election. Voters chose 38 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Pennsylvania overwhelmingly voted for the Republican nominee, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, over the Democratic nominee, New York Governor Al Smith. Hoover won Pennsylvania by a landslide margin of 31.35 percentage points. The Republicans at this time were associated with the booming economy of the 1920s while Smith was associated with the corruption of Tammany Hall.
Despite losing the state, Smith flipped three majority-Catholic counties that voted for Calvin Coolidge in 1924 and had been consistently Republican during the "System of 1896" into the Democratic column: Elk, Lackawanna, and Luzerne. This came with losing the four counties – all dominated by profoundly anti-Catholic Appalachian Protestants – that voted for John W. Davis to Hoover: Columbia, Fulton, Greene, and Monroe.1928 United States presidential election in Rhode Island
The 1928 United States presidential election in Rhode Island took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election which was held throughout all contemporary forty-eight states. Voters chose five representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Rhode Island voted for the Democratic nominee, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York, over the Republican nominee, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California. Smith's running mate was Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas, while Hoover’s running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas.
Smith won Rhode Island by a very narrow margin of 0.61 percent, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate since Woodrow Wilson in 1912 to carry the state, and the first to win an absolute majority of the vote since Franklin Pierce in 1852 (Wilson won the state in 1912, but only with a 39.04% plurality). Although Hoover won more counties compares to Smith, key to Smith's victory were his appeal to Roman Catholic voters in Providence County and Bristol County.
1928 would mark the beginning of Rhode Island's transition from a strongly Yankee Republican state into a Democratic-leaning state. Since then, Republicans have only carried the state four times.
Rhode Island would not vote for another Republican presidential candidate until Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952.1928 United States presidential election in South Carolina
The 1928 United States presidential election in South Carolina took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States Presidential Election which was held throughout all contemporary forty-eight states. Voters chose nine representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
South Carolina voted for the Democratic nominee, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York, over the Republican nominee, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California. Smith ran with Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas, while Hoover’s running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas.
Smith won South Carolina by a margin of 82.85 percent.1928 United States presidential election in Vermont
The 1928 United States presidential election in Vermont took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States Presidential Election which was held throughout all contemporary 48 states. Voters chose 4 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Vermont voted for the Republican nominee, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover of California, over the Democratic nominee, Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York. Hoover's running mate was Senate Majority Leader Charles Curtis of Kansas, while Smith ran with Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas.
Hoover took 66.87 percent of the vote, to Smith’s 32.87 percent, a margin of 34.00 percent.
Vermont historically was a bastion of liberal Northeastern Republicanism, and by 1928 the Green Mountain State had gone Republican in every presidential election since the founding of the Republican Party. From 1856 to 1924, Vermont had had the longest streak of voting Republican of any state, having never voted Democratic before, and this tradition continued amidst a third consecutive nationwide Republican landslide in 1928.
While Hoover won the state in a decisive landslide, Smith's performance nevertheless represented a dramatic Democratic improvement in the state. In 1924, Vermont had been the most Republican state in the union, with Republican Calvin Coolidge winning 78.22 percent to only 15.67 percent for Democrat John W. Davis, a massive margin of 62.55 percentage points. Vermont, like New England and the Northeast as a whole, swung strongly toward the Democrats in 1928, even as Hoover won another decisive Republican victory nationally. Thus in the 1928 election, Vermont fell to being only the fifth most Republican state in the nation after Kansas, Michigan, Maine and Washington, about 16 percentage points more Republican than the national average.Hoover carried thirteen of the state’s fourteen counties, many by large margins. However, the three northwestern counties of Vermont would by 1932 become staunch Democratic enclaves in an otherwise Republican state, and in 1928 movement toward the Democratic Party in this region would first manifest itself, as Smith won over the votes of urban and ethnic Catholic working class voters. In 1928, Smith became the first Democrat to win Chittenden County, the state’s most populous county, home to the state's largest city, Burlington. Just four years earlier, in 1924, Republican Calvin Coolidge had received over seventy percent of the vote in the county. The county would remain under control of the Democrats in presidential elections until Dwight D. Eisenhower won it in 1952.1928 United States presidential election in Virginia
The 1928 United States presidential election in Virginia took place on November 6, 1928. Voters chose 12 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Virginia voted for the Republican nominee, former United States Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, over the Democratic nominee, New York Governor Al Smith. Hoover ultimately won the national election with 53.91% of the vote. This was only the second election that Virginia had voted for a Republican candidate. The first was in 1872 during the Reconstruction era.1928 United States presidential election in Wisconsin
The 1928 United States presidential election in Wisconsin was held on November 6, 1928. Wisconsin voters chose thirteen electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Republican Party candidate Herbert Hoover won the state with 54% of the popular vote, winning Wisconsin's thirteen electoral votes. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Douglas County voted for the Republican candidate.1928 United States presidential election in Wyoming
The 1928 United States presidential election in Wyoming took place on November 6, 1928, as part of the 1928 United States presidential election. Wyoming voters chose three representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Wyoming was won by United States Secretary of Commerce and mining engineer Herbert Hoover (R–Iowa), running with Senator Charles Curtis, with 63.68 percent of the popular vote, against the 42nd Governor of New York Al Smith (D–New York), running with Arkansas Senator and former Governor Joseph Robinson, with 35.37 percent. Hoover won all but one of the state’s twenty-three counties, but Smith’s victory in Sweetwater County – which had defied the 1924 GOP landslide by voting for Robert La Follette– would with the aid of extensive unionization create a run of Democratic wins in that county extending to 1968.
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State results of the 1928 U.S. presidential election
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