CHAPTER 12
Full-Time Candidate

Until the early part of September, Landon had been beset by illness and fatigue; he had lacked luster and decisiveness--had been, in effect, a part-time candidate. The Gallup polls, however, had recorded little change in the relative attractiveness of Roosevelt and Landon: in June, the sample showed 55.8 per cent in favor of the President, 52.5 per cent in August, and 52.6 per cent in September. During the late summer of 1936 the Literary Digest poll, which had been highly accurate in past elections, showed that Landon had a two-to-one lead, but private polls--made for the Republicans by the Nielsen Corporation-- showed that Landon was running well behind Roosevelt.1 Criticism of the campaign effort streamed in. Frank Altschul wrote that, despite Landon's appealing personality, forcefulness, and honesty, he was not "coming across" on the radio; he suggested better editing of Landon's radio speeches and the avoidance of certain sounds in his delivery. Landon answered:"What is one man's dish is another man's poison" --convinced that Roosevelt could be beaten only by an opponent with an antithetical personality. William Allen White wrote, "Boy, how I do want to help you," and he feared that "the stuff that is coming out of headquarters is picturing you as too dark and dour a

____________________
1
Topeka State Journal, September 14, 1936; Hill Blackett to Landon, August 27, 1936, Alfred M. Landon Papers, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.

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