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Ethnic and religious intolerance took it on the chin in the '82 elections. This decline in racist or ethnic voting could be a good omen for Americans, says the American Jewish Committee. In the past, the AJC has been very critical of discrimination in the US. But a new report from the group indicates that '82 voting patterns show waning support for those who preach prejudice. It also points out that candidates who pitched to certain ethnic groups met with little success. However, AJC and others add that racial and religious bias hasn't disappeared. In Nebraska, for example, a candidate accused by his opponent of wielding ''Zionist power'' was defeated.

And evaluations are mixed about the role race played in California's gubernatorial election. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, a black, was narrowly defeated after apparently holding a decided edge throughout the campaign.m

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