1908 United States presidential election

31st quadrennial U.S. presidential election / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The 1908 United States presidential election was the 31st quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1908. Republican Party nominee William Howard Taft defeated three-time Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan.

Quick facts: 483 members of the Electoral College 242 elec...
1908 United States presidential election
 1904 November 3, 1908 1912 

483 members of the Electoral College
242 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout65.7%[1] Increase 0.2 pp
  William_Howard_Taft%2C_Bain_bw_photo_portrait%2C_1908.jpg Unsuccessful_1908.jpg
Nominee William Howard Taft William Jennings Bryan
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Ohio Nebraska
Running mate James S. Sherman John W. Kern
Electoral vote 321 162
States carried 29 17
Popular vote 7,678,395 6,408,984
Percentage 51.6% 43.1%

Presidential election results map. Red denotes those won by Taft/Sherman, blue denotes states won by Bryan/Kern. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Theodore Roosevelt

Elected President

William Howard Taft


Incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt honored his promise not to seek a third term (for him, a second full term), and persuaded his close friend, Taft, to become his successor. With Roosevelt's support, Taft won the presidential nomination at the 1908 Republican National Convention on the first ballot. The Democratic Party nominated Bryan, who had been defeated twice previously, in 1896 and 1900, by Republican William McKinley.

Bryan, part of the more liberal or progressive wing of the Democratic Party, ran a vigorous campaign against the nation's business elite. But even so, he suffered the worst loss of his three presidential campaigns in his percentage of both the popular and electoral vote. Taft won 51.6% of the popular vote and carried most states outside of the Solid South. Taft's triumph gave Republicans their fourth straight presidential election victory. The Republican Party lost the presidency four years later to the Democrats, due to a party split. Two third-party candidates, Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party and Eugene W. Chafin of the Prohibition Party, each took over 1% of the popular vote.