Sunday, June 05, 2005

Education, Academia, and Politics: A Brief Followup

My recent post on miscellaneous news from the world of academia drew the following response:

So, the point of this is. The more education you have the less likely you were to have voted for George W. Bush.

On this humble blog, comments are a rare and precious thing, to be very much appreciated regardless of whether or not they express agreement with my point. Still, this is an issue that I think needs to be addressed. So I will respond as politely and fairly as I can.

As much as many liberals like to believe the sentiment expressed above, I'm afraid that it just isn't true. In analyzing its final pre-election poll, Gallup found that Bush had the support of a majority of college graduates, as well as those with at least some college. Bush did lose among voters with post-graduate degrees, but even in this category he fared relatively well, getting 47% of the vote. All of the categories were fairly close, and the idea that there was a substantial correlation between educational attainment and voting preference is very questionable. In fact, Bush's lowest level of support (46%) came among those with only a high school diploma or less.

One popular liberal explanation for their one-sided domination of academic faculties is that most conservatives simply lack the nuance and intellectual sophistication that those who are politically left of center possess. In the island of ideological orthodoxy that is the contemporary American university, where conservatives are just a small fraction of the faculty, such things are easy to believe. However, as Gallup showed, nearly half of all voters with postgraduate degrees supported George W. Bush. This figure stands in stark contrast to the overwhelming support for Kerry among college and university faculty. This suggests that academia is very much the one party state that I and many others believe it to be.


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