The Press: Battle of the Pollsters

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"Dangerous, Damaging." Last week, however, Pollster Gallup had at least one cause for satisfaction: Poll Taker Alsop's own methods were under fire. A longtime believer in bloc voting, Alsop recently reported on surveys that he had made in New York of the Jewish, Negro and Catholic votes. Catholics, he said, were not committed to Kennedy, but "if Kennedy can just give the impression that he knows how to deal with Fidel Castro, he will solve all his problems." The Democrats "ought to do well with the Negro voters this time, unless our 52-voter sample was seriously misleading." And "it is a good bet that in 1960 New York's Jewish voters will be more heavily Democratic than ever."

The reaction came from Alsop's readers, many of whom resented being lumped in religious and racial blocs. Wrote Philip L. Winter, chairman of the American Council for Judaism, to the New York Herald Tribune: "Joseph Alsop's column entitled 'The Jewish Vote' is dangerous, damaging . . . Mr. Alsop has magnified nine—repeat, nine—voter switchers from the Republican column in 1956 and 20 from the Republicans in 1958 into his conclusion that covers all of 'New York's Jewish voters' in 1960!"

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