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GOP Faces Tough Task Beating Kennedy in ‘64

Mar. 14, 1963 - One of the problems faced by the GOP high command today is to build up confidence among their own rank and file that the Kennedy-Johnson ticket can be defeated in 1964. Although a number of Republican Party leaders have said they think the President is “beatable,” GOP voters across the nation do not share their optimism. Six out of ten Republicans interviewed by the Gallup Poll concede as of today that Mr. Kennedy will be re-elected in 1964. Although there seems cause currently for Democratic optimism and Republican pessimism, a look at past campaigns suggests that events between now and November 1964 may well play a decisive role in deciding the election’s outcome. One of the most dramatic instances of events changing the political picture came in the case of former Vice President Nixon and his famous “kitchen debate” with Premier Khrushchev in the summer of 1959. Prior to that encounter, then-Senator Kennedy led Mr. Nixon in the Gallup Poll by a 61-39 margin. Following the kitchen debate, however, Mr. Nixon pulled up sharply on Mr. Kennedy. From that point on, the two men waged a nip-and-tuck battle in the polls, culminating in one of the closest elections in modern history.

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