Unexpected election results are not new. Such occurred in 1948 when the sitting President Harry Truman unexpectedly defeated Gov. Thomas E. Dewey who–early on-most people thought would win handily

Oct. 9, 1948

ABOARD DEWEY VICTORY SPECIAL – Governor Thomas E Dewey returned to Albany Sunday afternoon after 14 days of transcontinental campaigning during which time he traveled 8,862 miles and delivered 60 speeches to approximately half a million persons.

He plans to stay in the capital just long enough “to catch up with official duties and get a little rest,” and on Sunday will hit the vote-getting trail again for St. Paul, Minn,: Pittsburgh and several other cities. From all appearances and other indications, the Governor was well-pleased with his cross-country hop. He did not even seem tired as he shook hands with reporters and friends as they parted.

A poll conducted by the AFRO-AMERICAN in 15 cities and towns reveals that it is generally believed that Dewey will replace Truman in the White House Jan. 20.

However, most colored persons contacted admitted that they were going to cast “sympathy ballots” for Truman or Wallace.

“I do not believe that Truman will be re-elected,” I was told “but if he thought enough of us to stick his neck out on his civil rights program, the least we can do is to show our appreciation by voting for him in November.”


I asked three questions of the 181 persons polled: “Who do you think will win the Presidential Election? For whom do you plan to vote? Why?”

To the first question, 83 percent of the persons answered, “Dewey.” They gave as their reason: “President Truman has divorced himself from many white voters, North and South, because they are afraid that he will put the colored man on equality with them, therefore, Dewey will be put into office by a white-bloc vote.”

47 percent of the voters stated unconditionally that they were casting their ballot for President Truman, giving as their grounds of course, his civil rights program.


Backed mostly by younger voters, Wallace pooled 21 percent of the total, these being convinced that “his recent stand against segregation in the South is enough to wipe out all his unfavorable past.”

They admitted that he could not win, but that he was headed in the right direction and should be encouraged by the colored peoples ballot.

Dewey ran third with 16 percent of the promised ballots. His supporters would vote on his record on racial issues in New York.


Many colored persons admitted a complete ignorance of Dewey’s performance in New York. They felt that if he could promise the people of the West favorable legislation, he should take a stand on the civil rights issue.

A spokesman on Dewey’s staff stated that Dewey would make an address on civil rights later in the campaign.

16 percent of the voters had not made up their minds.


The tour aboard the “Dewey Victory Special” was quite successful with only one incident to mar an otherwise perfect trip.

In Cheyenne, Wyo., Lem Graves, Pittsburgh Courier correspondent, and I were refused service in the dining room of the Hotel Plains, where Dewey and all the party were putting up. We were told by the manager, after waiting for about one hour, that “we would not be served as colored persons had never been served there.”

Otherwise we were permitted free-run of the hotel.