'Wets' and 'Drys' in 'The Digest's' Prohibition Poll.
WHOEVER SAID THAT THE WOMEN of the nation were naturally "drier" than the men seems to have known what he was talking about. At least, that seems to be a logical deduction from the trend of the poll of 2,200,000 women from the voters' lists of the country with which THE DIGEST is Supplementing its. main poll. The special women's poll has lost 5 per cent. of "wetness" since the first tabulation last week, when the returns showed 65 per cent. against "bone-dryness." The present percentage of dampness, figured on the basis of the ;tabulation ;of 55,444 votes shown at the foot of this page, is 60, which is one and one-half percent. "drier" than the general poll. After an extremely "wet" start in the metropolitan districts of the East, the women of the country seem to be on their way to justify the familiar contention that they are better friends of Prohibition, by and large, than are the men-folks.
It will be noticed, among other interesting details shown in the tabulation of the women's vote, that of the three totals, for enforcement, for modification, and for repeal, the vote for enforcement is the largest. In the main poll, shown in detail on the following page, the vote for modification has been throughout the polling, and is still, the largest of the three totals. On the other hand, the percentage of women favoring the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment is larger than in the main poll, which represents a preponderance of masculine opinion. In New York, in Wisconsin, in Maryland, and in Louisiana, the women's vote for repeal, leaving out of consideration the vote for modification in all three of these States, is larger than the vote for enforcement The main poll shows only two States, Maryland and Louisiana, in which the "repeal"vote is the largest of the three. In the vote so far received from Kansas, on the other hand, the women of that State are shown to be as thoroughly "dry" as are the approximately 15,000 Kansas voters represented in the main poll. It is interesting to note that, even in the small returns so far received on the women's poll, Maryland, Louisiana, and Kansas, to mention only three States, so closely follow their generally recognized sentiments toward Prohibition, as well as the sentiments revealed by so many thousand more votes in the main poll. A newspaper editor speaks of the "uncanny accuracy" shown by carefully conducted polls, even when the percentage of the total population polled is small, and a comparison of the votes of the women's poll and of the main poll, State by State, seems to furnish several cases in point.
But, if the women are "drier," the factory workers continue to show an overwhelming predominance of "damp" desires.
The latest factory polled, the establishment of the Hudson Motor Car Company at Detroit, gives the following return:
For enforcement 270
For modification 2,649
For repeal 754
The last two factories polled, both automobile factories, have shown a far greater strength for the modification of the Volstead Act to permit light wines and beer than for repeal of the Prohibition Amendment. Combining the five polls which have thus' far been taken among factory workers, the results run:
For enforcement 914
For modification 7,598
For repeal 3,315
The workers in these five representative factories, all of which were polled with every care that the vote might be fair and unbiased, are registered, it will be seen, at a ratio of approximately 11 to 1 against "bone-dryness."
Nevertheless, observes a paragrapher in the Houston Post, "Our idea of an optimist is a man who can study THE LITERARY DIGEST poll and smack his lips in rejuvenated and strengthened hope." This is no joke, agree a number of such fair-minded and judicious commentators as the New York Evening Post and the Philadelphia North American, both with "dry" inclinations, and the New York Times, with a "wettish" tendency. The more extreme champions of "bone-dry" Prohibition agree with even more enthusiasm. They go to the extent of arguing, as in the case of several correspondents, that even to discuss the possibility of a change in our present "dry" laws verges on high treason. Officials of the Anti-Saloon League throughout the country, following the argument of William H. Anderson and Wayne Wheeler, leaders of the Anti-Saloon League, who have been quoted in these pages, hold that THE DIGEST'S poll "doesn't mean anything," that a majority of the people of the country are in favor of the continuance and enforcement of the_ Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act. They challenge the wisdom of the poll since, they believe, it is giving a false idea of the Prohibition sentiment of the country, as well as furnishing encouragement to law-breakers. The American Issue, a leading organ of the "drys," quotes at length a long editorial from The American Legion Weekly, a leading organ of the American Legion, as authority for the poll's unreliability. A good many thorough Prohibitionists, however, take the stand that the poll is reliable, that it shows truthfully the state of public sentiment with regard to Prohibition, and that THE DIGEST has rendered a great service, not only to the country at large, but also to Prohibitionists, in showing the strength of the antagonism which the "bone-dry" advocates must meet. As one anonymous correspondent points out, armies are dependent for their effectiveness on the excellence of their intelligence service, which gives them information of the country through which they must march, and the strength of the enemy they must meet. Harry M. Chalfant, Editor of the Pennsylvania Edition of The American Issue, official organ of the Pennsylvania Anti-Saloon League, takes this attitude. "As we see it," he writes, in the course of an editorial on the poll:
THE LITERARY DIGEST is rendering a great public service in thus tabulating the sentiment of the people. It shows conclusively that the work of bringing America to the prohibition standard is by no means accomplished, but that there lies ahead of us decades of the hardest kinds of agitational and educational work, and the people with whom we must deal are the modificationists. They must be shown that wine and beer are intoxicating and that they can not be brought back without doing one of two things: We must either repeal the Eighteenth Amendment or permit it to become a farce and a dead letter. To make a farce of it can not be approved of for one moment by any patriotic American. Such action would be in utter defiance of all orderly Government. To repeal the Amendment is the