Tuesday, March 21, 2006

UIC Researcher Debunks Mob Impact on 1960 Presidential Election

An analysis of voting totals from the 1960 presidential election debunks claims that the Chicago Mob played a significant role in tilting the election to John F. Kennedy, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago organized crime historian and researcher.

"There is little, if any, convincing evidence to support these extreme claims about the 1960 presidential election," John Binder, author of "The Chicago Outfit," writes in a summarized version of the copyrighted article "Organized Crime and the 1960 Presidential Election."

Binder, UIC associate professor of finance, statistically examined election voting by four groups of Chicago wards and suburbs where organized crime would have been most able to deliver votes for Kennedy if it so desired, including:

- the 1st, 24th, 25th, 28th and 29th wards
- the above five wards and the 45th ward
- the five "Outfit" wards and two suburbs (Chicago Heights and Cicero), and
- all six Chicago wards and the two suburbs

The percentage of voters casting a Democratic ballot in 1960 was compared not only to the percentage voting Democratic in the previous (1956) or the next (1964) presidential election, but also to how the other wards in Chicago voted in 1960.

The findings, detailed in an upcoming issue of the journal Public Choice, show that in only one of eight cases is there any evidence of unusually strong Democratic voting that might have been due to organized crime.

"It certainly is not consistent with an all-out effort to elect John Kennedy, because in that case, increased Democratic voting should be evident in more than just 12.5 percent of the tests," Binder said. "The results, as further tests show, are more likely due to a concerted effort to defeat the incumbent Republican state's attorney, which due to straight-ticket voting in some cases, threw a few more votes to John Kennedy," he said.

"Therefore, much of what has been written about the Outfit, the 1960 presidential election and other events involving the Kennedy family appears to be historical myth -- which along with other fascinating myths, should not be taken seriously," Binder said.

Thanks to University of Illinois at Chicago

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