Newspaper Articles


Martinsburg Journal
May 7, 1960

Local Poll Indicates Kennedy Will Emerge Winner in County

A personal poll of 100 local Democrats indicates that Senator John F. Kennedy, of Massachusetts, will receive 60 per cent of the vote cast next Tuesday in Berkeley County.

This poll is in direct contrast with forecasts coming from other parts of the state which show Kennedy’s rival, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, of Minnesota, having a lead in the preferential voting for the Democratic presidential nomination.

A representative of The Journal personally asked 100 Democrats the following question:

“You, as a Democrat, in the May primary have the choice of voting either for Senator Humphrey or Senator Kennedy for your party’s presidential nomination. Do you care to state whom you favor?”

Of the 100 questioned over a period of the past three weeks, only four refused to give an answer. The remaining 96 divided 58 for Kennedy and 38 for Humphrey.

Somewhat surprisingly there did not seem to be any great interest in the outcome among those polled. At least half of those questioned said they actually do not favor either Kennedy or Humphrey for the nomination but mentioned such names as Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson and Stuart Symington, approximately in that order. Little “Pro” Interest

The so-called “professional politicians,” a term applied to those who work for the party on the precinct level, appear to have even less interest in the outcome because they know the Kennedy-Humphrey fight is nothing more than a popularity contest which has no binding effect on any of the West Virginia delegates to the Democratic National Convention. These “pros” are much more interested in the state gubernatorial contest and in the competition for county nominations.

These 100 interviewed revealed very few who actually are for Humphrey. A good many more are for Kennedy. Most of those who are voting for Humphrey are principally casting a ballot against Kennedy.

The anti-Kennedy feeling is primarily for two reasons – religion and inexperience.

On the other hand, Kennedy’s religion undoubtedly obtained him some votes in the poll, not only from Catholics but from several who feared they would be considered bigoted if they did not vote for him.

Among the so-called labor vote, where Humphrey is supported to be receiving backing, a number indicated they are for Kennedy.

It also seemed obvious that Kennedy’s heavy advertising by newspaper and radio in contrast to practically none by Humphrey is having its effect in swinging support to the Massachusetts man.


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