The Issues That Mattered

A visitor from another planet would surely have thought the presidential race was about prison furloughs, the death penalty for drug kingpins, mandatory Pledge of Allegiance and Dan Quayle's IQ. But on Election Day, these hot- button issues turned out to be largely irrelevant. Only 12% of the voters questioned by ABC News said that the Pledge, prison furloughs or Quayle were important to them; just 26% said they were concerned about the death penalty.

Still, the noise generated by these contentious nonissues may have kept voters from focusing on Michael Dukakis' talking points. Of the 40% who told NBC/Wall Street...

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