July 16, 1993

The Vocal Minority In American Politics

Report Summary

American public opinion is being distorted and exaggerated by the voices that dominate the airwaves of talk radio, clog the White House switchboard when a Zoe Baird stumbles, and respond to call-in polls.

In the current environment, these new voices of public opinion can caricature discontent with American political institutions, rather than genuinely reflect public disquiet. Notably, the vocal minority sounds a conservative tone on many issues, and is much more critical of Bill Clinton and his policies than is the average American.

These are the principal findings of a series of recently conducted surveys by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press designed to explore how Americans are making their voices heard, and the ways in which the distinctive views of the vocal minority differ from the rest of the population.