Posts tagged ‘New Deal Politics’

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: State House Seats by Party

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When looking at this graph, it’s important to keep in mind that the national trend of urban areas, like Portland, going Democratic began in the 1930s.  However, this graph follows the same general pattern observable in all the earlier posts.

 

This graph shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election. Insted of being a constant trend in favor of the Democrats, the pattern really is more of a Democratic surge followed by a Republican recovery.

 

Prior to 1972, state legislative districts tended to follow county lines and could have a single member or have multiple members. One House District was split between Clackamas and Multnomah Counties during this period. The number of house districts allocated to Multnomah County changed from 14 to 13 due to the 1930 redistricting.


Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

 

 

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: State Senate Seats by Party

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This graph shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election.

 

Prior to 1972, state legislative districts tended to follow county lines and could have a single member or have multiple members. One House District was split between Clackamas and Multnomah Counties during this period. The number of senate districts allocated to Multnomah County was six throughout this period.


Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Vote Numbers for Congress by Party

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This graph shows how Republicans won the district. The Democratic vote dropped significantly between 1932 and 1934 and the Republican vote stayed level. Hence, the Republican won. The Democratic vote total shot up again in 1936 and the Democratic nominee won.

 

This graph also shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election that persisted through the 1940s. The victories came from an increasing vote total.

The 1938 Republican winner was Homer Angell who remained in office until defeated by Tom McCall in the 1954 Republican Primary. McCall, in turn, lost to Democrat Edith Green in the 1954 General Election.

 

 

During the period 1930 through 1940, Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District boundary followed the Multnomah County boundary.

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Vote Pct. for Congress

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This graph shows an interesting feature of Oregon politics during the 1930s. The Republican nominee narrowly won the district in 1934, 1938, and 1940.

This graph also shows the Republican recovery in Oregon starting with the 1938 election that persisted through the 1940s.

 

During the period 1930 through 1940, Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District boundary followed the Multnomah County boundary.

 

 

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Voter Registration Compared to Oregon Statewide

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Source: Oregon Secretary of State

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Voter Registration Number by Party

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The voter registration numbers look a lot like the Presidential voting numbers. There is a sharp increase in Democratic registration as Republican registration remains roughly constant.

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Voter Registration Pct. by Party

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This graphic shows two things.

First, the sharp increase in Democratic registration percentage during the Great Depression. The Democrats moved from being outnumbered roughly three to one to rough parity between 1930 and 1936.

Second, sharp though the Democratic registration increase was during the Great Depression, the Democratic registration percentage  never got anywhere near their current advantage.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Vote Numbers for President

 

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The trend in Oregon looks a lot like the national trend: http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=1290. This is the same surge we saw in the national numbers.

 

This graphic shows the numbers of votes for the major party candidates for President. Multnomah County follows the national pattern. The Republican totals for 1920, 1924, 1932, and 1936 were roughly equal. The Republican totals for 1928 and 1940 were roughly equal.

 

Note that LaFollette, the Progressive nominee for President in 1924, actually received more votes in Oregon and in Multnomah County than Cox, the Democratic nominee. However, their combined vote did not match Coolidge’s vote.

 

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Multnomah Co. Great Depression Politics: Comparison of Democratic Vote Pct. for President

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This graphic shows the percentage of two-party vote for the Democratic nominee for President in Multnomah County (Portland) and in Oregon as a whole. It included the three “Great Depression” elections, 1932, 1936, and 1940, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the Democratic nominee, and 2008, the most recent Presidential election where Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee.

The main point is that Multnomah County’s vote for President closely tracked the rest of Oregon throughout the Great Depression. It was only after World War II that Multnomah County began to be much more strongly Democratic compared to the rest of the state.

It is also interesting that Obama’s Democratic percentage in Multnomah County exceeded the percentage Roosevelt received in either of his great landslide wins, 1932 and 1936. This is a good gauge of the magnitude of Multnomah County’s move towards the Democrats.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State

National Vote for President, 1920-1940

This chart takes a different approach to the vote for President from 1920 through 1940. Most often historians and political scientists look at the vote in percentage terms. Here, we’ll look at it in actual numbers.

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Two basic patterns stand out: First, the Republican vote totals in 1920, 1924, 1932, and 1936 were roughly the same. Only the 1928 and 1940 elections, which were themselves roughly the same, stood out above these levels. Second, the Democratic vote total began a steep rise in 1928 that coninued until 1936 where it hit a plateau.

This chart shows that the Roosevelt landslides of 1932 and 1936 were built, at least in part, by substantial numbers of new voters who voted Democratic for President.

This post will begin a series on various aspects of Great Depression and New Deal politics that will be presented in coming weeks.

During the next few weeks, Friday posts will look at the trends for Multnomah County. In particular, the analysis will go deeper than just the numbers for President. It will examine how the Great Depression and related New Deal politics affected voter registration and the contests for Congress and state legislature. Multnomah County is a good case study because, at this time, the old 3rd Congressional District, state senate and state house district lines followed county boundaries.

This chart follows an approach taken by Andersen (Kristi Andersen, The Creation of a Democratic Majority 1928-1936, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1979.).

Source of data: Yanek Mieczkowski, The Routledge Historical Atlas of Presidential Elections, Mark C. Carnes, ser. ed., Routledge, New York, 2001.