Public Opinion: Vaulting over Political Polls

A Texas political scientist is creating a new form of voter sampling, with results to appear on PBS nationwide

Since the turmoil of the 1968 Democratic Convention, American democracy has been stymied by what should be a simple question: What is the fairest way to nominate candidates for President?

Nearly a quarter-century of well-intentioned reforms have demonstrated the law of unintended consequences. Until 1968, party leaders controlled the process, spicing up their back-room bargaining with a handful of hotly contested presidential primaries. This elitist tradition has been replaced in both parties by the shallowest form of mass democracy: a gauntlet of party primaries (36 states in 1988) that give an almost unbeatable edge to the candidate who can raise the...

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