The Middle of the Road

In view of the very earnest interest in the prohibition question prevalent among all sorts of conditions of persons, it is reasonable to assume that the complexion of the straw vote in fourteen leading American colleges and universities, conducted recently by the Harvard Crimson, is an honest reflection of the actual sentiment and conduct among attendants at those institutions of learning. With approximately half the student body in Ann Arbor ousting ballots, the expression there is distinctly emphatic and decisive and indicates, among other things, that anti-prohibition feeling in the State is not confined to big olties or to a single locality.

Bone drys can extract little comfort from the returns. In the aggregate they are distinctly unfavorable to an uncompromising prohibition program and they dispose effectively of the delusion that when the "dying generation of topers" disappears, dryness will become as prevalent as aridity in Gobi.

But, on the other hand, neither will the sopping wets find a very great deal to encourage them. A relatively small number of students appear to want the bars let down entirely. The majority are middle-of-the-roaders and judging from their votes and words, are in favor of some policy that will avoid extremism of any sort, and will promote a condition of genuine temperance in the country.

This, it seems to us, is the promising aspect of the poll. The twenty-five thousand young people participating represent presumably a fair cross-section of the intelligent, thoughtful and influential part of the public. It is from them and theirs that the leaders in this country will come hereafter. If their present opinion can be transformed later on into some sort of practical, concerted action, designed to bring about what is really best for the United States, then there may be hope ahead.

The college poll is particularly interesting just at this moment because it is announced while the Literary Digest prohibition poll is in progress. In a general way it supports the tendency of that poll as it has developed so far. The two together justify at least a tentative conclusion that the majority of the people of the United States believe the Eighteenth amendment as it stands was a mistake. Detroit Free Press