Everybody knew for months that Truman was going to lose to Thomas Dewey, so much so that Dewey took long breaks from campaigning, says Lillian Cunningham on the Washington Post’s Presidential podcast. And by the time Truman left office, he was staggeringly unpopular. But now he’s one of the most-respected and best-loved Presidents in American history.
In the newest episode of the Presidential podcast, biographer David McCullough looks at some of the most difficult calls President Truman made during his time in the White House, including the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, push for civil rights legislation and fire Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Washington Post polling manager Scott Clement also joins the episode to explain the biggest polling failure in presidential history—when Truman won the 1948 election, despite the many polls that seemed to show he didn’t stand a chance.