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Perot Supporters Cross Most Boundaries

National public-opinion polls show that Ross Perot draws his support from all sides of the political spectrum and from all age groups. That certainly seemed to be the case Saturday as thousands of people turned out in Boston for a Perot-for-president rally.

But although the crowd spanned the political spectrum, its socio-economic makeup was more homogenous: Most of the Perot supporters appeared to be white and middle-class. A large number were also older people.

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Most of the Perot backers gave a common answer when asked why they are supporting the undeclared independent presidential candidate: they are fed up with a political system that doesn't seem to work.

"Who else are we going to support?" demanded Henry Santoro, a retiree from Norwood, Mass., who describes himself as a liberal. "The Republicans? The Democrats? We want change!"

From the other side of the spectrum, Chris Kennedy, a Stoneham, Mass., computer programmer, said he was a conservative Republican who felt President Bush had abandoned the GOP's principles.

"Bush is an incompetent. The other guy, Clinton, is the most untrustworthy person ever to run for high office," Kennedy said.

"Perot is the best alternative. He's the only alternative!"

Many of the Perot backers interviewed said that Saturday's rally was the first time in their lives that they had participated in a political event.

"I've never been in a political campaign before. I've never made a poster for a political candidate before," said Margie Patel, an investment manager who was holding a "Wellesley for Perot" sign. "I'm a political neophyte."

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