Nation: In Elections, We Deal with Choices, Not Absolutes

"The job of the public polls is to determine what a situation is," says Pat Caddell, the President's pollster. "But my job really is to find ways to help change that result. Campaigning is a game where you look for any small edge that could be critical."

Trying to find that edge for Jimmy Carter, Caddell has used some offbeat techniques. During the conventions, he wired up more than 100 "focus group" volunteers around the country with a kind of emotion-revealing polygraph to monitor their reactions to Ronald Reagan's and Carter's acceptance speeches, noting...

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