Jim Lindgren writes in with this comment and question on the article I referenced yesterday, which contained the priceless assertion by a Princeton University Professor that he is not surprised that most “smart people” support Kerry.
Actually, it should be far from obvious that smart people would so overwhelmingly support Kerry, since Republicans have traditionally been better educated than Democrats. In NORC General Social Surveys since 1972, overall Republicans average a full year more of education than Democrats.
But Democrats are catching up. Before 1988, Democrats almost always displayed at least a year less education than Republicans. Between 1988 and 2000, the Democratic educational disadvantage was .55-.86 years of education. Only in the most recent GSS (2002) was the Democratic disadvantage (of .41 years) so small as to be statistically insignificant, yet even in 2002 Republicans were significantly better educated than non-Republicans (both Democrats and Independents combined). Compared to most groups, conservative Republicans are particularly well educated, as are liberal Democrats (who in 2002 report insignificantly more years of education than conservative Republicans). It’s moderate and conservative Democrats who have tended to be particularly poorly educated.
If one looks at scores on a short analogical reasoning test or a short vocabulary test, again Republicans in the general public usually score higher than Democrats.
So one question is why are smart people in universities so different from smart people in the real world? And why is there so little political diversity in academia compared to business or government?