The Silent Majority: Neither Simple nor Simple-Minded.

by Robert A. Levine

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback13 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

A discussion on the thesis that is operationally and philosophically incorrect to look upon voters as members of blocs that move back and forth along a line from left to right. Today's citizens are individuals with widely mixed views. They may be oriented along entirely different axes from the political theorists who find them inconsistent. For example, opinion polls favor Negroes' right to live where they please, yet open housing legislation is consistently defeated, and stably integrated neighborhoods are rare. Detailed reanalysis of poll data shows strong majorities against both forced segregation and "forced integration." Whites' stated willingness to live next door to blacks coexists with an unwillingness to live among many blacks. The number is crucial. Thus, stated opinions expressing willingness to live in racially mixed neighborhoods are actually consistent with voting against requiring open housing and with the fact that mixed neighborhoods tend to become all-black. Deeper analysis is needed before applying poll results to policymaking. 13 pp. Ref. (MW)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.