United States Presidential Election in South Carolina, 1956
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United States Presidential Election in South Carolina, 1956
1956 United States presidential election in South Carolina

← 1952 November 6, 1956[1] 1960 →

All 8 South Carolina votes to the Electoral College
  AdlaiEStevenson1900-1965.jpg No image.svg Dwight David Eisenhower, photo portrait by Bachrach, 1952.jpg
Nominee Adlai Stevenson Unpledged electors Dwight D. Eisenhower
Party Democratic Dixiecrat Republican
Home state Illinois Pennsylvania[a][2]
Running mate Estes Kefauver Richard Nixon
Electoral vote 8 0 0
Popular vote 136,372 88,509 75,700
Percentage 45.4% 29.5% 25.2%

South Carolina Presidential Election Results 1956.svg
County Results

President before election

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican

Elected President

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Republican

The 1956 United States presidential election in South Carolina took place on November 6, 1956, as part of the 1956 United States presidential election. South Carolina voters chose 8[3] representatives, or electors, to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Background

For six decades up to 1950 South Carolina had been a one-party state dominated by the Democratic Party. The Republican Party had been moribund due to the disfranchisement of blacks and the complete absence of other support bases as the Palmetto State completely lacked upland or German refugee whites opposed to secession.[4] Between 1900 and 1948, no Republican presidential candidate ever obtained more than seven percent of the total presidential vote[5] - a vote which in 1924 reached as low as 6.6 percent of the total voting-age population[6] (or approximately 15 percent of the voting-age white population).

This absolute loyalty began to break down during World War II when Vice-Presidents Henry A. Wallace and Harry Truman began to realize that a legacy of discrimination against blacks was a threat to the United States' image abroad and its ability to win the Cold War against the radically egalitarian rhetoric of Communism.[7] In the 1948 presidential election, Truman was backed by only 24 percent of South Carolina's limited electorate - most of that from the relatively few upcountry poor whites able to meet rigorous voting requirements - and state Governor Strom Thurmond won 71 percent, carrying every county except Anderson and Spartanburg. Despite Truman announcing as early as May 1950 that he would not run again for President in 1952,[8] it had already become clear that South Carolina's rulers remained severely disenchanted with the national Democratic Party.[9] Both Thurmond and former Governor James F. Byrnes would endorse national Republican nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower[10] - who ran under an independent label in South Carolina - and Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson II only won narrowly due to two- and three-to-one majorities in the poor white counties that had given substantial opposition to Thurmond in 1948.[11]

During the first Eisenhower term, South Carolina's whites who had supported him became extremely critical because Eisenhower was blamed for Brown v. Board of Education, whose requirement of desegregating the state's schools was intolerable. Consequently, state leaders like Thurmond argued that the GOP could not be a useful tool for opposing civil rights, and most of the state's Democrats endorsed Stevenson for his rematch with Eisenhower.[12] Byrnes, however, obtained 35,000 petitions for an alternative slate of unpledged Democratic electors, which he naturally endorsed when ballot access was obtained for that slate.[13]

Vote

In mid-October, the consensus among pollsters was that the state's vote would be sharply split between the three slates,[14] although polls just before election day suggested that Stevenson was likely to carry the state.[15] Ultimately South Carolina was won by Adlai Stevenson (D-Illinois), running with Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver by a more decisive margin than polls predicted.[16] Stevenson gained 45.37 percent of the popular vote thanks to his continued dominance of the upcountry, whilst Eisenhower and the unpledged slate divided the lowcountry vote, with the unpledged slate finishing second with 29.45 percent and Eisenhower - this time running under the "Republican" banner - with 25.18 percent[17] Wealthier whites left Eisenhower for the unpledged slate in large numbers, but unlike in 1952 when the small number of black voters strongly supported Stevenson, Eisenhower gained substantial, even majority, support from blacks able to vote in Charleston and Columbia.[12]

The 1956 election in South Carolina marks the second of only three times in the 20th century that an incumbent president has finished third in any state.[b] As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Greenville County voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. It is also the last time that Lexington County was not carried by the Republican candidate.[18]

Results

1956 United States presidential election in South Carolina
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Adlai Stevenson 136,372 45.37%
Dixiecrat Unpledged electors 88,509 29.45%
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower (inc.) 75,700 25.18%
Write-in 2 0.00%
Total votes 300,583 100%

Results by county

County Adlai Stevenson II
Democratic
Dwight David Eisenhower
Republican
Unpledged Electors
States' Rights
Margin[c] Total votes cast[19]
# % # % # % # %
Abbeville 2,985 83.36% 339 9.47% 257 7.18% 2,646[d] 73.89% 3,581
Aiken 4,280 34.81% 6,195 50.38% 1,821 14.81% -1,915[d] -15.57% 12,296
Allendale 380 28.85% 262 19.89% 675 51.25% -295 -22.40% 1,317
Anderson 11,344 76.80% 2,186 14.80% 1,241 8.40% 9,158[d] 62.00% 14,771
Bamberg 430 22.95% 326 17.40% 1,118 59.66% -688 -36.71% 1,874
Barnwell 1,914 63.61% 520 17.28% 575 19.11% 1,339 44.50% 3,009
Beaufort 710 25.57% 1,051 37.85% 1,016 36.59% 35[e] 1.26% 2,777
Berkeley 902 24.14% 1,055 28.24% 1,779 47.62% -724[e] -19.38% 3,736
Calhoun 341 28.90% 146 12.37% 693 58.73% -352 -29.83% 1,180
Charleston 4,028 16.07% 7,487 29.86% 13,558 54.07% -6,071[e] -24.21% 25,073
Cherokee 3,687 75.21% 907 18.50% 308 6.28% 2,780[d] 56.71% 4,902
Chester 2,951 62.80% 1,007 21.43% 741 15.77% 1,944[d] 41.37% 4,699
Chesterfield 3,559 71.35% 795 15.94% 634 12.71% 2,764[d] 55.41% 4,988
Clarendon 661 24.74% 224 8.38% 1,787 66.88% -1,126 -42.14% 2,672
Colleton 1,463 36.14% 635 15.69% 1,950 48.17% -487 -12.03% 4,048
Darlington 2,908 40.91% 1,597 22.47% 2,603 36.62% 305 4.29% 7,108
Dillon 1,879 62.97% 313 10.49% 792 26.54% 1,087 36.43% 2,984
Dorchester 862 26.80% 504 15.67% 1,851 57.54% -989 -30.74% 3,217
Edgefield 525 25.71% 516 25.27% 1,001 49.02% -476 -23.31% 2,042
Fairfield 961 36.29% 519 19.60% 1,168 44.11% -207 -7.82% 2,648
Florence 3,463 35.46% 1,855 19.00% 4,447 45.54% -984 -10.08% 9,765
Georgetown 1,020 23.39% 1,057 24.24% 2,284 52.37% -1,227[e] -28.13% 4,361
Greenville 11,819 43.46% 10,752 39.54% 4,622 17.00% 1,067[d] 3.92% 27,193
Greenwood 4,386 64.95% 1,120 16.59% 1,247 18.47% 3,139 46.48% 6,753
Hampton 564 27.43% 359 17.46% 1,133 55.11% -569 -27.68% 2,056
Horry 4,835 59.17% 1,092 13.36% 2,244 27.46% 2,591 31.71% 8,171
Jasper 210 16.52% 403 31.71% 658 51.77% -255[e] -20.06% 1,271
Kershaw 1,875 34.79% 1,518 28.17% 1,996 37.04% -121 -2.25% 5,389
Lancaster 4,398 66.26% 1,610 24.26% 629 9.48% 2,788[d] 42.00% 6,637
Laurens 3,726 56.05% 1,377 20.71% 1,545 23.24% 2,181 32.81% 6,648
Lee 943 38.26% 250 10.14% 1,272 51.60% -329 -13.34% 2,465
Lexington 2,094 36.50% 1,188 20.71% 2,455 42.79% -361 -6.29% 5,737
Marion 1,390 43.99% 417 13.20% 1,353 42.82% 37 1.17% 3,160
Marlboro 1,769 63.22% 507 18.12% 522 18.66% 1,247 44.56% 2,798
McCormick 485 55.81% 102 11.74% 282 32.45% 203 23.36% 869
Newberry 2,671 52.07% 1,061 20.68% 1,398 27.25% 1,273 24.82% 5,130
Oconee 3,510 73.17% 911 18.99% 376 7.84% 2,599[d] 54.18% 4,797
Orangeburg 2,511 36.28% 1,467 21.20% 2,943 42.52% -432 -6.24% 6,921
Pickens 1,847 43.17% 1,747 40.84% 684 15.99% 100[d] 2.33% 4,278
Richland 6,154 27.49% 6,714 29.99% 9,516 42.51% -2,802[e] -12.52% 22,384
Saluda 1,080 47.24% 341 14.92% 865 37.84% 215 9.40% 2,286
Spartanburg 16,637 65.03% 6,822 26.67% 2,124 8.30% 9,815[d] 38.36% 25,583
Sumter 937 15.53% 1,356 22.47% 3,741 62.00% -2,385[e] -39.53% 6,034
Union 3,760 66.10% 1,252 22.01% 676 11.88% 2,508[d] 44.09% 5,688
Williamsburg 683 18.20% 330 8.80% 2,739 73.00% -2,056 -54.80% 3,752
York 6,835 59.25% 3,508 30.41% 1,192 10.33% 3,327[d] 28.84% 11,535
Totals 136,372 45.37% 75,700 25.18% 88,511 29.45% 47,861 15.92% 300,583

Notes

  1. ^ Although he was born in Texas and grew up in Kansas before his military career, at the time of the 1952 election Eisenhower was president of Columbia University and was, officially, a resident of New York. During his first term as president, he moved his private residence to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and officially changed his residency to Pennsylvania.
  2. ^ The other cases are William Howard Taft, who finished third overall in 1912, and George H. W. Bush, who finished third in Maine in 1992. Harry S. Truman in 1948 and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, however, were not even on the ballot in Alabama due to intractable opposition to those presidents' civil rights policies by Alabama's ruling politicians.
  3. ^ Because the unpledged elector slate finished ahead of Eisenhower in South Carolina as a whole, unless noted otherwise margin given is Stevenson vote minus unpledged vote and percentage margin Stevenson percent minus unpledged slate percentage.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m In this county where Eisenhower did run ahead of the unpledged slate, margin given is Stevenson vote minus Eisenhower vote and percentage margin Stevenson percenage minus Eisenhower percentage.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g In this county where Stevenson ran third behind both Eisenhower and the unpledged slate, margin given is Eisenhower vote minus unpledged vote and percentage margin Eisenhower percentage minus unpledged slate percentage.

References

  1. ^ "United States Presidential election of 1956 - Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "The Presidents". David Leip. Retrieved 2017. Eisenhower's home state for the 1956 Election was Pennsylvania
  3. ^ "1956 Election for the Forty-Fourth Term (1961-65)". Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Phillips, Kevin P.; The Emerging Republican Majority, pp. 208, 210 ISBN 9780691163246
  5. ^ Mickey, Robert; Paths Out of Dixie: The Democratization of Authoritarian Enclaves in America's Deep South, 1944-1972, p. 440 ISBN 0691149631
  6. ^ Mickey; Paths Out of Dixie, p. 27
  7. ^ Fredericksen, Karl A.; The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, p. 52 ISBN 0807849103
  8. ^ Truman, Harry S.; President Harry S. Truman's Office Files, 1945-1953, p. 30 ISBN 1556551533
  9. ^ Bedingfield, Sid, 'Beating Down the Fear: The Civil Sphere and Political Change in South Carolina, 1940-1962', University of South Carolina Dissertations, 2014, p. 139
  10. ^ Mayer, Michael S.; The Eisenhower Years, p. 767 ISBN 1438119089
  11. ^ Strong, Donald S.; 'The Presidential Election in the South, 1952,' The Journal of Politics, vol. 17, no. 3 (August 1955), pp. 343-389.
  12. ^ a b Mickey; Paths Out of Dixie, p. 233
  13. ^ 'South Carolina Democratic Party Split'; The Decatur Daily Review, September 12, 1956, p. 6
  14. ^ See 'Association with Youth Can Furnish New Confidence in future fo America'; Florence Morning News, October 17, 1956, p. 4
  15. ^ 'Southern Negroes Seen Casting Heaviest Vote Since Reconstruction Days'; Tampa Tribune, November 6, 1956, p. 9
  16. ^ "The American Presidency Project - Election of 1956". Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "1956 Presidential General Election Results - South Carolina". Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; 'How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century'; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  19. ^ Scammon, Richard M. (compiler); America at the Polls: A Handbook of Presidential Election Statistics 1920-1964; p. 397 ISBN 0405077114

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