Thursday, September 25, 2008

Political Affiliations of Scientists and Professors

From a 2005 article by Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed:
Several studies this year — some disputed — have suggested a political tilt (toward Democrats) among professors. Now a new study is being released saying that social science professors are overwhelmingly Democratic, that Democratic professors in those disciplines are more homogeneous in their thinking than are Republicans, and that Republican scholars are more likely than Democrats in the field to end up working outside of academe......

The latest study is based on surveys conducted in 2003 of members of various disciplinary associations. On the question of political affiliation, the survey found the following breakdown of Democrats to Republicans:

* Anthropologists and sociologists — 21.1:1
* Political and legal philosophers — 9.1:1
* Historians — 8.5:1
* Political scientists — 5.6:1
* Economists — 2.9:1
A little more searching and I found a posting by Eric Schwitzgebel on The Splintered Mind:
I have looked at the public voting records of professors in several states (California, Florida, North Carolina, Washington State, and soon Minnesota)....Here's what I found.

Among philosophers (375 records total):

Democrat: 87.2%
Republican: 7.7%
Green: 2.7%
Independent: 1.3%
Libertarian: 0.8%
Peace & Freedom: 0.3%

Among political scientists (225 records total:)

Democrat: 82.7%
Republican: 12.4%
Green: 4.0%
Independent: 0.4%
Peace & Freedom: 0.4%

Among a comparison group drawn randomly from all other departments (179 records total):

Democrat: 75.4%
Republican: 22.9%
Independent: 1.1%
Green: 0.6%

By comparison, in California (from which the bulk of the data are drawn), the registration rates (excluding decline to state [19.4%]) are:

Democrat: 54.3%
Republican: 40.3%
Other: 5.3% [source]
Comment: I tend to identify with these highly educated people, but I find it interesting how strongly they lean toward the Democrats. JAD

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