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Dale Banham

Student Question: JFK and 1964 Election

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My Year 10 (aged 14-15) are now starting on a piece of coursework: 'Why is JFK remembered so positively?'. I have attached the questions they came up with in groups. Answers and different views from experts would be great for when we start back in September or for pupils to look at over the Summer.

Question: Would JFK have been re-elected? If so, by what kind of margin?

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My Year 10 (aged 14-15) are now starting on a piece of coursework: 'Why is JFK remembered so positively?'. I have attached the questions they came up with in groups. Answers and different views from experts would be great for when we start back in September or for pupils to look at over the Summer.

Question: Would JFK have been re-elected? If so, by what kind of margin?

While JFK's popularity at the time of his death was not significant compared to many other President's before and after, the fact is that the country was incredibly divided at the time and no other candidate was nearly as popular. The Republican party was thoroughly split between the liberal Rockefeller and arch-conservative Goldwater wings, and was drifting towards Goldwater. As a result, I believe that JFK, had he lived to take part in the 1964 election, would have beat Goldwater by a similar margin as LBJ, which was the largest victory in U.S. history. JFK's victory would most likely have been a bit smaller, due to LBJ's receiving a number of "sympathy" votes, in addition to votes from southerners who could never vote for a "yankee.'

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My Year 10 (aged 14-15) are now starting on a piece of coursework: 'Why is JFK remembered so positively?'. I have attached the questions they came up with in groups. Answers and different views from experts would be great for when we start back in September or for pupils to look at over the Summer.

Question: Would JFK have been re-elected? If so, by what kind of margin?

With a year to go before the election, and many factors having effects on an election, this is really impossible to say. What we do know is that JFK and Barry Goldwater liked each other personally, and were looking forward to an issue-based campaign. My own guess would be that, all things being equal, Kennedy might have done better in 1964 than he did in 1960.

Martin Shackelford

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JFK was looking forward to running against Barry Goldwater, and without a doubt would have defeated him. The only question is by how much.

Goldwater was correctly viewed as a Conservative extremist and a Hawk in 1964, at a time when the public was warming to JFK's peace initiatives and more positive view of the world.

I suspect that JFK would have beaten Goldwater by a comfortable margin in the popular vote, and by an electoral college landslide. LBJ, without JFK's personality and wit, did so in 1964, simply by stoking fears of Goldwater's warmongering. With his positive view of the world and lively personality, JFK would have done even better.

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Would he have been re-elected? I think so by a substantial majority. He had won worldwide stature and was admired at home as a strong leader who also believed in world peace.

The Republican Party was badly split. Yet there was a great deal of opposition, and, yes, hatred, of the young President. This vanished like mist after his assassination. I recall we heard the first radio reports driving to the Boca Raton public school to pick up our twins. As I opened the car door, I heard the anouncement that the President is dead and a second or two later a voice from another car, "well, somebody had the gumption to do

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