This originated from an textbook exercise (recently posted to math.stackexchange http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/62883/quadratic-characters-and-liouvilles-function with no success) but I think it has research level implications so please bear with me.

I'm working through the problems in Montgomery and Vaughan's *Multiplicative Number Theory*. In Section 11.2 'Exceptional Zeros', Exercise 9a says that for a quadratic character $\chi$, show that for all $k\ge 0, x\ge1 $
$$
\sum_{n<x}\frac{\chi(n)}{n}(1-n/x)^k \ge \sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n}(1-n/x)^k,
$$
where $\lambda$ is Liouville's function. This is elementary. In part b, under the hypothesis that there exists a $k$ such that
$$
\sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n}(1-n/x)^k\ge0
$$
for all $x\ge 1$, (no such $k$ is known to exist), one is to show that for all quadratic $\chi$ and all $\sigma>0$
$$
L(\sigma,\chi)>0.
$$
I expect one is meant to use a Mellin transform with Cesaro weighting, S 5.1 in Montgomery and Vaughan. The difficulty is that $\chi(n)/n$ are the Dirichlet series coefficients of $L(s+1,\chi)$, not $L(s,\chi)$. Thus (5.18) gives
$$
L(\sigma+1,\chi)>0
$$ for all $\sigma>0$.

Question: Show, as the exercise states, that if there exists $k$ such that for all $x\ge1$ $$ \sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n}(1-n/x)^k\ge0 $$ then for all quadratic $\chi$ and for $\sigma>0$, $$ L(\sigma,\chi)>0. $$

By a theorem of Landau, the positivity hypothesis for some $k$ and all $x$ would imply the Riemann Hypotheses as well; I don't see how to use this (and I think Landau's theorem is beyond the scope of the book.)

Alternately, the method of part a will show that $$ \sum_{n<x}\chi(n)(1-n/x)^k \ge \sum_{n<x}\lambda(n)(1-n/x)^k $$ so under the hypothesis that there exists a $k$ such that for all $x\ge1$ $$ \sum_{n<x}\lambda(n)(1-n/x)^k\ge0 $$ one gets $L(\sigma,\chi)>0$ for all quadratic $\chi$.

The reason one cares which version of part a is used, is that the numerics for small $k$ and moderate $x$ indicate that positivity is at least plausible for the original part a. It is not plausible for the revised version.

Moreover, several conjectures in the literature were known to imply the Riemann Hypothesis, but have since been disproved. Polya conjectured that $$ \sum_{n<x}\lambda(n)\le0 $$ for $x\ge2$, and Turan conjectured that $$ \sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n}\ge0 $$ for $x\ge 1$. Both where disproved by Haselgrove, and subsequently Odlyzko disproved the Mertens conjecture by similar methods (more or less the Explicit Formula plus numerical values for low lying zeta zeros.) The same techniques should show, as long as $k$ is not too large, that there exists an $x$ such that $$ \sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n}(1-n/x)^k<0. $$

**Updates**: (1) Theorem 1.7 (Landau) in Montgomery and Vaughan, has a stronger version: Satz 454 in Landau's *Vorlesungen uber Zahlentheorie*. From this one deduces that if there exists a $k$ such that for all $x$
$$
\sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n}(1-n/x)^k \ge 0,
$$
then the Riemann Hypothesis follows. But you can't get this directly from Theorem 1.7, and in any case I don't see that it applies to the problem at hand.

(2) I obtained the original paper of Bateman and Chowla that Montgomery and Vaughan reference. There it is proven that for all $x\ge 1$ $$ \sum_{n<x}\frac{\lambda(n)}{n} \ge 0 $$ if and only if for all quadratic $\chi$ and all $x\ge 1$ $$ \sum_{n<x}\frac{\chi(n)}{n} \ge 0. $$ (The proof generalizes from $k=0$ Cesaro weighting to any $k$.) Bateman and Chowla mention that former inequality and Landau's theorem implies the Riemann Hypothesis, but do not make any claim about exceptional zeros of quadratic character $L$-functions.

NB: Let me reiterate that I have no hopes that such a $k$ exists, as Peter Humphries points out this would contradict the Linear Independence Hypothesis.