THE MOOD: The Search for Someone to Believe In

Some apathy. Considerable cynicism. A restless quest for serenity. A rising concern over spiritual and moral values. Continuing distrust of institutions, but increasing confidence in the future.

Those are among the crosscurrents revealed by the presidential primaries. Bedeviling as they may be for the candidates, the primaries serve a function beyond winnowing presidential contenders: they probe and test the American mood. There is in that mood a disturbing negative attitude toward politics and politicians. Princeton's Opinion Research Corp. finds that only 30% of those polled express "high trust and confidence" in "the...

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