Right Or Wrong
With Larry Holliday
April 14, 1960
Right Or Wrong
With Larry Holliday
The country has seen many polls devoted to the coming battle for the Presidency, and it will see a great many more before November rolls around.
The standard polls commonly pit potential candidates against each other and ask whom you’d vote for. Though we have little faith in such polls, the Herald and the Fayette Tribune at Oak Hill this past fall took one.
At that time it is interesting to note that people in this area appeared to favor Senator John F. Kennedy for the Presidency. However, at that time, no other candidate openly had made known his intentions to seek the office.
In the forthcoming West Virginia primary, Senator Kennedy will be pitted against Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in the Presidential primary.
With the likable Senator Humphrey’s visit to Montgomery and other Fayette communities last week, it looks as if a very close and hard fought race is about [to] begin.
As the Herald pointed out two weeks ago, West Virginia could play a very important part in determining who the next Democratic nominee may be.
Just what qualities do we most want in a President?
In a recent issue of Life Magazine, an article was presented which was based on an unusual and extremely interesting poll. In addition to qualities, the poll also assessed the leading candidates in the light of what voters regard as their strength and weaknesses.
To begin with, the interviewers found that the voters’ rating of desired Presidential qualities runs in order of importance as follows: principle combined with ability to conciliate, experience in foreign affairs, non-partisanship, decisiveness, and the “common touch.”
On the other side of the ledger, excessive personal ambition was listed as the least desirable of possible Presidential attributes. Other undesirable qualities mentioned were partisanship, opportunism, immaturity, insincerity, weakness of character, and the like.
The poll went on to describe what the voters think of the seven most likely candidates.
Vice President Nixon comes closer than the others to the generally held Presidential image. As of now, he is the first choice of one of every three voters. But he is also the last choice of one of every four voters. People, it is clear, feel strongly about him, pro or con.
Senator Kennedy inspires an “extraordinarily warm and friendly personal feeling among voters. He is not a man who arouses hostility. But, the article adds, “he rates lowest of all the candidates in experience, particularly in foreign affairs.”
Senator Humphrey has backers who see him as a fighting liberal, and opponents who think him too radical.
Adlai Stevenson, of course, is extremely well known and is highly regarded for his experience and maturity. However, numbers of voters think him too much the scholar rather than the leader. Many also feel that he lacks forcefulness. Yet, he is more respected than the other candidates.
The remaining possible candidates touched on the poll, Governor Rockefeller and Senators Johnson and Symington, all have one failing in common – they don’t present clear-cut images. Many voters see them only fuzzily.
For instance, Senator Johnson is praised for his principles and his abilities as a conciliator, and criticized for being too politically minded.
Senator Symington is neither liked nor disliked with any pronounced degree of intensity, and he is known least of all to the masses of voters.
Governor Rockefeller is well liked but his wealth is both a liability and an asset. Some say it would make him more immune than the rest to political pressures. Others say the fact that he is so rich would influence him unduly in favor of business. The article says he has enormous potential as his appeal cuts across party lines.
All of the candidates, obviously, have traits and characteristics that help with some voters, hurt with others. The article concludes by saying if the Democrats nominate a personality whose national image closely coincides with the voters’ image of an ideal President then he has a good chance.
If Kennedy carries West Virginia, he may well be the next Democratic Presidential nominee. Humphrey has more of an uphill battle. But if he wins, it certainly will bolster his chances and attract the attention of the party bigwigs.
We’ll just have to wait and see what our fellow Mountaineers do at the polls this coming May!
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