Playing By the Numbers

From health care to Whitewater, the Clinton Administration relies heavily on polling

WITH SUCCESS IN TODAY'S POLITICS hinging on how well a message transmits, Presidents have come to depend more and more on savvy pollsters to help them connect with the public. Still, relying too heavily on polls can appear to be unprincipled acquiescence to public opinion, as George Bush found out. Bill Clinton promised to be different. To prove it, he laid out a detailed agenda during the campaign and pledged that the whims of public sentiment would not determine his policies. Nevertheless, when it comes to polls, Clinton is more hooked than his predecessors.

Polls are the reason why both Clinton...

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