Friday, December 10, 2010

The Partisanship of Academics

Just how liberal are academics?  We actually don't have great recent data on that.  However, Everett Ladd, Seymour Lipset, and Martin Trow conducted a great survey of thousands of academics back in 1969 and broke the responses down by discipline.  The survey didn't include party identification, but they did ask people how they voted in the 1968 presidential election.  Here are the results:
So, all you haters who say that academics are a bunch of liberals? Well, um, you're right.  Or at least you were forty years ago.  In only two subfields -- agriculture and business/commerce -- did a plurality of academics prefer Nixon to Humphrey.  Political scientists look pretty darned liberal in this survey, although not so much as sociologists.

6 comments:

The Falconer said...

But this ignores the huge "PoliSci for Wallace" contingent in 1968. /sarcasm/

Steve Greene said...

I suspect that this has remained fairly stable over 40 years, but I'd love to see an update. For starters, I really doubt that PS is still more liberal than History, Religion, and English.

Seth said...

Falconer, in the survey, zero political scientists claimed to have voted for Wallace. Wallace did best (3.9%) among those specializing in educational administration. Go figure.

mike shupp said...

There's actually some pro-Republican bias in those figures. In 1968, a number of liberals blamed Democrats for instigating and continuing the Viet Nam War, and some chose to punish them at the polls.

Seth said...

Mike, I haven't looked at the numbers on this. Was there really a significant number of liberals who voted for Nixon?

mike shupp said...

Probably not LOTS, in the sense that they'd swing an election, but SOME, in numbers which might pushed the statistics here around a percentage point or two.

Liberals of the time were very disappointed in Hubert Humphrey, for one thing. And Richard Nixon in 1968 was not quite the enemy of all mankind that he became in 1972. And in 1968 there actually were liberal Republicans in academia -- most notably the Ripon Society crew which populated the political science department at MIT.