Making Sense of the Polls

PEROT LEADS IN NEW POLL" has become so frequent a bulletin that the Texas billionaire's image has changed from interesting maverick to serious presidential contender. If Ross Perot does endure as a major force into autumn, one large reason will be the opinion surveys of spring, despite their notorious fragility during this period. Says pollster Peter Hart: "More than any other person I can think of in American politics, Perot has been aided and abetted by the polls."

Headlines trumpeting Perot's apparent popularity offset what is normally a huge liability for a little-known independent -- skepticism that he has any chance...

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