The Election of 1928

Candidates:

Herbert Hoover (444 Electoral Votes)
Alfred Smith (87 Electoral Votes)

Perhaps no candidate has ever had better credentials for the presidency than the Republican nominee in 1928, Herbert Hoover.  Hoover had earned a fortune as an engineer and businessman, organized relief for World War I victims in Belgium and Russia, and served as an innovative Secretary of Commerce in the Harding and Coolidge administrations.  Democratic candidate Alfred E. Smith faced two handicaps: his Catholicism and his thick New York accent (this was the first election in which radio was a major factor).  It may have been impossible for Smith to overcome the Republican advantage in a period of unprecedented prosperity, but anti-Catholicism definitely hurt his candidacy.  He won only the heavily Catholic states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and six states of the solidly Democratic South.  (Even so, he won fewer electoral votes in the South than any Democratic candidate since the Civil War).  Nevertheless, Smith attracted to the Democratic column voting blocs like Catholics and urban workers that became solid parts of the Roosevelt coalition just four years later.

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