President Johnson and Bill Moyers, November 3, 1964 (Election Night), 5.11pm Central Standard Time
Bill Moyers: Hello?
President Johnson: What do you know?
Moyers: Well, things are going pretty well, I think, from the standpoint of just isolated returns. It’s too early to have anything definite, but I’ll give you these: Jack’s [Valenti] probably given you the report from Ollie Quayle—
President Johnson: No.
Moyers: —saying that it looks like we’ll carry Kansas with 52 percent of the vote.
Number one, there’s a Republican precinct in New Jersey. The absentee ballots have gone for us 344 to 250. One precinct here in Washington, D.C., a Negro precinct, it looks like it’s going for us 85 to 1. John Bailey told me a few minutes ago we probably will carry, on the basis of his early returns, we’ll probably carry Connecticut by half a million.
[Richard] Scanlon says that the Kansas situation will probably be the best sign that you’ll get, that he’s got his eyes on two states—New Hampshire and Kansas. If we lose New Hampshire, we’re in trouble, but if we carry it by even one vote, we’re in very good shape. Kansas is a bellwether in this election because of the rural conservative makeup out there.
There’s a precinct in Norfolk [Virginia] that went for us 17 to nothing. And a Republican precinct in upper Michigan that went 12 to nothing for Nixon in 1960 has gone 7 to 5 for Goldwater, which means that we’re picking up five of that vote.
Those are basically all that we have right now. Just isolated instances, but all of them are encouraging.
Heavy turnout in our precincts in New York. I’ve talked to Mr. [Edwin] Weisl; I’ve talked to Bobby Kennedy. He feels now he’ll probably win by at least 400,000 and you’ll win by two million. I talked to Governor [Pat] Brown. It’s too early out there, but the voting’s very heavy, and very heavy in Democratic precincts. Also heavy in Republican precincts, particularly in Orange County, as we expected.
Republican voting was very heavy this morning in Memphis—not very heavy in our precincts. Abe Fortas got that report, and I got a hold of Cliff [Carter] and he’s on top of that. Our people traditionally vote, I’m told, in the afternoons in Memphis.
I’ve got no report from Georgia yet. Carl Sanders is going to call me at 6:45 our time and let me know what it looks like.
But those are it.
President Johnson: What does Sanders think about Georgia? Close?
Moyers: Fifty thousand. Our side.
President Johnson: Out of how many—a million?
Moyers: A little over a million. Heavy, heavy Negro turnout all throughout the South. Unusually large turnout in Virginia, on both sides, Republican and Democrat. Took me 15 minutes to vote this morning, at 7:30. Precincts in Bethesda and Silver Spring [Maryland] a mile long. There’s one Republican precinct in San Antonio—have you got that report yet?
President Johnson: No.
Moyers: Republican precinct: Johnson 260, and Goldwater 240. [Ralph] Yarborough 240 and [George H.W.] Bush 220. A traditionally Republican precinct in San Antonio.
President Johnson: What was Johnson? Two what?
Moyers: 260 to 240.
President Johnson: Just 20 votes lead?
Moyers: Twenty votes. Yarborough 240 to 220.
President Johnson: Well, he’s just 20.
President Johnson: [Pauses.] Well, that doesn’t sound good. In San Antonio, you oughtn’t to have any Republican precincts.
Moyers: That’s up—Mr. President, that’s up—I can’t think of the name of that area over in San Antonio that’s a heavy Republican—
President Johnson: Alamo Heights.
Moyers: Alamo Heights. That’s right. That’s right. Things ought to really start picking up in 10 minutes. About 6:30, I’m supposed to start getting calls from Bailey and others, and I’ll wing them right down there.
President Johnson: All right.