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U.S. At War: Religion in Politics

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Chief issue in Massachusetts on election eve was not, as it was in most States, the war or the New Deal, but birth control.

If it were not for a referendum on the ballot to decide whether physicians could lawfully disseminate birth-control information to protect human life and health, Governor Leverett Saltonstall would win re-election hands down over Democrat Roger Lowell Putnam, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. would ditto over Democrat Joseph E. Casey.

But Massachusetts is 40% Catholic, 75% to 80% of all the State’s Catholics are Democrats. And with Catholic parishioners being ceaselessly urged to defeat the referendum, it was probable that the Democratic vote would be large even though the total vote would be relatively light. This made unpredictable a race that otherwise seemed in the G.O.P. bag.

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