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Rocky Picked to Win California Primary

May 31, 1964 - The long and strange Republican Presidential primary election campaign is now virtually finished.

The polls say New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller is going to win the last of the state primaries in California Tuesday, but the professional politicians swear that, even if the polls prove to be true, they are not going to nominate him for the Presidency at San Francisco in July.

Accordingly, the bitter Rockefeller-Goldwater fight that started in New Hampshire in March now looks like it could be a double knockout, and the hunt for a compromise is now centering on former Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, and Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania.

Everybody has been surprised so often in these last four months, including the pollsters, that anything can still happen on Tuesday. The polling was still going on this afternoon and was running 49% for Rockefeller, 40% for Goldwater, and 11% uncommitted.

Goldwater’s support, however, is ardently personal and dependable, whereas Rockefeller’s is largely a tactical anti-Goldwater vote.

One of the many oddities of this year’s primary season is that the longer Rockefeller and Goldwater have campaigned, the more the voters seemed to favor somebody else.

The latest popularity polls, for example, show 40% of the Republican voters favoring the election of President Johnson over both of them.

Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge comes out of this unpopularity contest better than any other Republican. Only 22% of the Republican voters favor Johnson over him, while 26% of them favor Johnson over Nixon.

Nixon is the intriguing figure in all this. He has been very discreet. The feeling is that he has alienated nobody and disturbed everybody.

He has disturbed Rockefeller because he has not joined in the fight against the extreme supporters of Goldwater.

At the same time, he has disturbed Goldwater because he seems to be neutral or even sympathetic to Goldwater without backing him.

This ambiguity, which seems to plague Nixon wherever he goes, is apparently why Lodge and Scranton, the last known, are now talked about the most.

Goldwater will go into the convention with more delegates than anyone else, regardless of what happens to him in California on Tuesday. There is no doubt that if he wins by a substantial margin in California, he will be nominated. Short of that, the trend seems to be running towards Scranton.

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