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  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, Senator ON Progressive)
  Why did Michigan go Willkie in 40 but Roosevelt in 44
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Author Topic: Why did Michigan go Willkie in 40 but Roosevelt in 44  (Read 952 times)
morgankingsley
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« on: August 26, 2019, 07:46:43 pm »

If my visual map is correct in my memory it is the only state in the entire country to have Roosevelt win it, the republican win it, and then Roosevelt win it again in a following election. So why did this strange anomaly occur
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Dr. RI
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2019, 08:00:32 pm »

FDR increased his margin of victory by ~50k votes in Wayne County. I would guess this was related to the city being a big manufacturing hub for the war effort.
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tinman64
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2019, 03:02:10 pm »

I think in part it was due to migration of southern African-Americans to the industrial states for jobs for the war effort. This site has more information:

https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/great-migration-1915-1960/
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Cory Booker
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2019, 10:46:00 pm »

GoP was a Taft party, not the Goldwater Southern strategy party. Many northern states still had allegiance to the GOP party.

Due to its prohibitive sales on alcohol and help from Salvation Army started by Hoover.
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2019, 02:25:40 pm »

The Michiganders' voting behavior is strange in so many aspects, anyway.
Not only is Michigan a strong anti-bellwether state when it comes to primaries, its inhabitants also voted for George Wallace in 1972 and for Jesse Jackson in 1988.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2019, 01:40:39 pm »
« Edited: August 31, 2019, 01:45:27 pm by Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee »

Michigan is part of the Yankee belt as I like to call it and had an enormous influx of White Protestant settlers in the mid 19th century, who had moved there from New England.

During the 1920's it was one of the most Republican states.

In the course of the Depression though, the growth of unions and increased voting among Ethnics, not to mention the shift of black voters in 1934/1936 made Michigan a fairly evenly divided state. One could compare it to NC today where Democrats win it (twice in Michigan's case and allowing for FDR's much larger margin nationwide than Obama), but it remains a rather closely divided state with a GOP PVI lean of a few points for several cycles based on residual GOP strength in the rural non unionized areas, among Yankees and in the suburbs, while Democrats dominate Detroit, the manufacturing centers and mining regions on the upper Peninsula.

The other ironic thing is that Dewey had ties to Michigan. I think the impact of the war industries was the decisive factor in 1944. Dewey won it by 2% in 1948.
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mianfei
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2019, 10:11:10 pm »

Actually, the swing to FDR was in the Upper Peninsula, and indeed occurred in quite a few frost-belt areas in that election. So,  it does seem that:

  • the impact of the war industries on that mineral-rich region
  • lessening opposition to FDRs war policies from Scandinavian Americans

may have been decisive for FDR in 1944
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morgankingsley
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2019, 09:57:20 pm »

FDR increased his margin of victory by ~50k votes in Wayne County. I would guess this was related to the city being a big manufacturing hub for the war effort.

That's a good point
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tara gilesbie
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2019, 06:40:57 pm »

I'm more curious about the reverse result in Wisconsin and Ohio: voted for FDR in 1940 but Dewey in 1944. One would have thought that German backlash would have been enough to flip these states to Willkie in 1940 - especially in Wisconsin.

Looking at Ohio's counties, I would assume the controversial coal strikes during the war hurt FDR with miners (seems to have also been the case in Wyoming). But I can't explain Wisconsin at all.
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morgankingsley
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2019, 06:49:29 pm »

I'm more curious about the reverse result in Wisconsin and Ohio: voted for FDR in 1940 but Dewey in 1944. One would have thought that German backlash would have been enough to flip these states to Willkie in 1940 - especially in Wisconsin.

Looking at Ohio's counties, I would assume the controversial coal strikes during the war hurt FDR with miners (seems to have also been the case in Wyoming). But I can't explain Wisconsin at all.

I guess maybe Wisconsin was just comparatively conservative to the rest of the rust belt / midwest states
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North Fulton Swing
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 07:51:07 am »

Much of Wisconsin's progressivism prior to WWII had largely dissipated by the late 1930s and early 1940s.  This was probably aided by the isolationist tendencies of that region, and this crystallized in 1944 for a Dewey win.  The progressive decline extended into 1946 where Robert LaFollette Jr lost his Senate seat to Joseph McCarthy.

For Ohio, it should be added that John Bricker (who was Ohio's governor) was Dewey's running mate on the ticket for 1944.  Along with everything that's been mentioned, this may have moved a few votes to give Dewey the 10,000 vote victory in Ohio (and Robert Taft barely won his Senate re-election as well).
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President Johnson
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2019, 02:47:22 pm »

Wasn't Michigan a base for isolationists for quite some time? During World War II, a big junk of people moved away from isolationism, including then Michigan resident Gerald Ford. The state was very close in 1940, so it was in play for FDR in 1944. He barely lost support from 1940 overall. Actually it surprises me he didn't do better than in 1940 nationally.
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