distinctive feature of the Independents. Probably there is some validity to all of these interpretations, albeit the data do not permit further analysis of them.
Since consistent differences also failed to emerge from breakdowns of the contact data along sex, region, and occupation lines, it seems appropriate to conclude that there is no systematic relationship between the opinion-making role and exposure to the governmental and political processes. To be sure, the foregoing indicates that opinion-makers have more extensive contacts with officialdom than do ordinary citizens. It is also plain that their knowledge of government is acquired mainly through contact with occupants of policy-making positions rather than through direct occupancy of such posts. Neither kind of experience, however, seems to be a function of particular types of opinion-making roles. Various kinds of opinion-makers reported varying degrees and modes of contact, and there is no discernible correspondence between the nature of the contact and the nature of the opinion-making role.47
In general, the data presented in this chapter suggest that the national leader is a middle-aged, white, Protestant, upper-class male from the Eastern seaboard, who has had extensive education and who is likely to be a businessman while at the same time holding a variety of unremunerated posts in outside organizations. Although this description of THE typical conferee is derived from the data and does provide a generalized portrait of the conferees' social background, it must be stressed that such a characterization is also highly misleading. It tends to exaggerate the homogeneity of the data and to play down the important ways in which the conferees differed from each other. Businessmen, for example, were by no means the only occupational group____________________