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With over half of the precinct votes tallied, the focus of yesterday's Massachusetts presidential primary is on a surprise showing by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who didn't enter the race until after the polls had opened.
Write-ins Senator Robert F. Kennedy '48 and Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey were also polling surprising percentages.
Senator Eugene J. McCarthy was running up to expectations with 127,013 democratic votes. But Kennedy with 58,409 votes and Humphrey with 48,201 votes were running far ahead of predictions.
Governor John A. Volpe, running as the favorite son, had gained only 28,432 Republican votes by 11:45 as compared to Rockefeller's 19,502 and Richard M. Nixon's 15,821 write-in votes.
Volpe, the only candidate on the Republican ballot, was falling short of his supporters' predictions with only 35 per cent of his party's votes. Rockefeller had 29 per cent, while write-ins for McCarthy were giving him 9 per cent of the Republican vote.
There are 34 delegate votes to the Republican convention from Massachusetts.
McCarthy was holding a steady 52 per cent in the election of 80 delegates to cast 72 votes at the Democratic Convention this fall. This is almost the same percentage that John F. Kennedy '40 received when he ran unopposed on the democratic ballot in the 1960 Massachusetts primary.
Surprisingly high percentages of 24 per cent and 20 per cent were collected by Senator Kennedy and Vice-President Humphrey.
Paul Counihan, state chairman of the McCarthy campaign, said a turnout of more than 500,000 voters would mean that McCarthy had "generated tremendous interest." McCarthy already has almost three times the vote President Johnson received in the 1964 Massachusetts primary.
Although initial voting was light, election officials estimated that up to 25 per cent of the state's 2.6 million registered voters will cast ballots.
Under the terms of the new Massachusetts presidential preference law, party delegates are required to vote for the primary winners on the first ballot at the national convention. But the second ballot seems to be floating in midair. occupational deferments for all their
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