THE PRESIDENCY by HUGH SIDEY: A DECISION MADE IN PRIVATE

Only about one-tenth of the American voters will have seen Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter in the flesh when the polls open. In most minds, the two men are special creations from the flickering, two-dimensional electronic screen and the printed page. They are light and shadow, fragments of sound.

Yet they are probably better known than any other pair of presidential contenders in our history, their profiles easily traceable by schoolchildren, their voices familiar fare from morning traffic jam to football halftime.

Political scientists have a feeling that future research on this election will reveal new records of information and...