The Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte study purporting to show liberal dominance among university faculty is now available on-line. Here is the abstract:
This article first examines the ideological composition of American university faculty and then tests whether ideological homogeneity has become self-reinforcing. A randomly based national survey of 1643 faculty members from 183 four-year colleges and universities finds that liberals and Democrats outnumber conservatives and Republicans by large margins, and the differences are not limited to elite universities or to the social sciences and humanities. A multivariate analysis finds that, even after taking into account the effects of professional accomplishment, along with many other individual characteristics, conservatives and Republicans teach at lower quality schools than do liberals and Democrats. This suggests that complaints of ideologically-based discrimination in academic advancement deserve serious consideration and further study. The analysis finds similar effects based on gender and religiosity, i.e., women and practicing Christians teach at lower quality schools than their professional accomplishments would predict.
As I’ve noted before, I don’t think that such disparities are primarily the result of conscious bias. While I know of cases where ideological bias torpedoed a candidate — and I know of schools that would not interview me because of my political views — I believe this is the exception, not the rule. In most cases, I believe other, more subtle factors play the dominant role. As I wrote in 2003:
Most of the hostility faced by conservatives (and libertarians) is not explicit, and often not conscious or deliberate. In many cases, the subject matter and methodology of conservative scholarship is simply of no interest to those on the left (and probably vice-versa). At schools where there are no tenured conservatives, job candidates and junior professors may be left without a “champion” to help them navigate