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LBJ High in Popularity Polls

May 22, 1964 - As President Johnson completed his sixth month in office today, he stood high in all the popularity polls, dominated the national political outlook, and was heavily favored to win the election next Nov. 3. He was firmly in command of the Administration.

Only half a year after the assassination of President Kennedy elevated Johnson from the Vice-Presidency to the White House, he has a substantial record of achievement at home and has not been heavily challenged or set back in affairs abroad.

Both at home and abroad, however, the President is still confronted with the two major problems that disturbed the last year of President Kennedy’s life.

In the U.S., evidence is mounting that the civil rights crisis threatens not only social but political stability, and that its effects have reached into almost every state and section. Both Negro and white moderates — like Johnson — seem to have only a delicate command of the situation, and in Congress there is no resolution of the bitter Senate debate on the Kennedy-Johnson civil rights bill.

In South Vietnam, most signs point to a deteriorating situation in the guerrilla warfare between the Communist Viet Cong and the Government troops with the U.S. advisers and support. The President asked this week for an increased U.S. commitment of military aid and economic assistance to South Vietnam, and there appears to be no immediate threat of a debacle such as the French suffered a decade ago at Dienbienphu.

Neither, however, does there appear to be hope of immediate or even reasonably quick success in ridding South Vietnam of the Communist threat. In neighboring Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia also, Communist influence is advancing by varying degrees, rounding out a picture of a hard-pressed U.S. position in Southeast Asia.

These two problems — civil rights and South Vietnam — appear to many of Johnson’s supporters and opponents to be the most likely — perhaps the only — areas in which he might suffer sizable setbacks between now and the Presidential election. Without such setbacks, few opponents and virtually no supporters believe that he can be defeated in November.

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