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Distribution of votes in the 1940 US presidential election

The 1940 United States presidential election was contested between incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party's Wendell Willkie. Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented third term in office, as US involvement in the Second World War drew ever closer. Although Roosevelt promised that the US would not take part in the war in Europe, Willkie claimed that Roosevelt was secretly plotting to deploy US troops, as well as criticizing Roosevelt's New Deal for being too wasteful, and criticizing the President for seeking a third term. In contrast, Willkie's detractors highlighted his association with big corporations and business leaders, whom many people still blamed for the Great Depression.


With 55 percent of the popular vote, and 85 percent of the electoral vote, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first President in US history to be elected for a third term. Although his winning margins were smaller than in the 1932 and 1936 elections, Roosevelt was still able to take 38 of 48 states,winning a third consecutive landslide. Willkie was popular in the Midwest and in rural areas, however Roosevelt' strong support in the Democratic stronghold of the south and his popularity among urban workers made Willkie's task an onerous one. Roosevelt would also go on to win the 1944 election, until his untimely death in 1945.

Share of electoral college* and popular votes** in the 39th US presidential election in 1940

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Release date



United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

*Actual number of electoral votes:
Franklin D. Roosevelt - 449
Wendell L. Willkie - 82

**Actual number of popular votes:
Franklin D. Roosevelt - 27,313,041
Wendell L. Willkie - 22,348,480

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