Will the South Do It Again?

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Will the South Do It Again?

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 2, No. 2: Winter 1996

"This time, our pollster asks the question, 'Do you agree or disagree that, if it could be done without war, the South would be better off as a separate country today?'"

In his presidential address to the American Association for Public Opinion Research, which he titled “The Obligation of the 1950 Pollster to the 1984 Historian,” the distinguished survey researcher Paul F. Lazarsfeld suggested that the study of public opinion can be advanced by looking at questions about things that are not currently hot issues. If these questions should become issues, we can see how public opinion takes shape; if they never become issues, perhaps we can begin to understand why not.