Nation: Disco Beat in 1978 Politics

Polls misread a small and volatile electorate

With all the votes counted and in some cases recounted, politicians, pollsters and pundits—the subculture that makes its living from the expensive game of competing for public office—sat back last week to try to understand not just what had happened but exactly why. What emerged from this post-mortem on the 1978 elections was a vision of American politics in which large numbers of people sat by like wallflowers in a dance hall while small groups of voters performed an erratic sort of disco dance.

The volatile electorate...

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