Election Day November 4, 1952 (Election 1952)

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United States presidential election, 1952
November 4, 1952
Adlaistevenson RobertATaft
Nominee Adlai Stevenson Robert Taft
Party Democratic Republican Party
Home state Illinois Ohio
Running mate John Sparkman Harold Stassen
Electoral vote 306 225
States carried 26+D.C. 22
Popular vote 32,375,090 30,075,529
Percentage 51.84% 47.9%
1952 map
Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Taft/Stassen, Blue denotes those won by Stevenson/Sparkman. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
President before election
Harry S. Truman
Democratic Party (United States)
Elected President
Adlai E. Stevenson
Democratic Party (United States)

The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional investigations into the issue of Communist spies within the U.S. government. McCarthy's witch hunt, combined with national tension and weariness after two years of bloody stalemate in the Korean War, set the stage for a hotly-fought presidential contest.

General election

The fall campaign

Adlai Stevenson warned voters against a return of the Republican policies of Herbert Hoover

Robert Taft campaigned by attacking what he called the Democrates "closet socialism."

The Republicans blamed the Democrats for the military's failure to be fully prepared to fight in Korea; they accused the Democrats of "harboring" Communist spies within the federal government; and Taft continually spoke against Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" policies.

In return, the Democrats criticized Senator Joseph McCarthy and other GOP conservatives as "fearmongers" who were recklessly trampling on the civil liberties of government employees.

Though many predicted victory for the Republicans and Taft based solely on Truman's unpopluarity, Taft's attacks on the popular "new deal" quickly began to hurt his early lead in the polls. Taft would soon drop the attacks, but the Democrats made it a main part of their campaign.

Stevenson concentrated on giving a series of thoughtful speeches around the nation. Although his style thrilled intellectuals and academics, some political experts wondered if he were speaking "over the heads" of most of his listeners, and they dubbed him an "egghead", based on his baldness and intellectual demeanor.

Both campaigns made use of television ads. Stevenson's showed clips of speeches where Taft talked about wanting to do away with the "New Deal". Taft's played up his being the son of former President Taft.

On election day — November 4, 1952 — Stevenson won a hard fought victory, taking over 51.84% of the popular vote.

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