Rick Perlstein writes (p. 137):
Richard Nixon broke with his reluctance to dwell upon law and order only once, in 1966, in that U.S. News essay — and had seemed to be apologetic to be raising the matter at all, concluding, “The polls still place the war in Vietnam and the rising cost of living as the major political issues of 1966.” He was lying. As far as domestic issues went, Gallup showed race far outstripped inflation as a concern.
The essay in question appeared in the magazine’s edition of August 15, 1966. But Perlstein cites a poll that came out several weeks later, on September 11 (see Nixonland endnotes at p. 766). At the time that Nixon wrote the essay, the latest Gallup survey on “the most important problem” had come out on May 27. The top three answers were:
- Vietnam crisis 45%
- High cost of living 16%
- Civil rights 9%
On this point, Nixon was telling the truth. Nixonland is wrong.
Source: George Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1935-1971 (New York: Random House, 1972), 2009, 2026.