A Growing Majority of Professors are Liberal

Christopher Ingraham: “If you’ve spent time in a college or university any time in the past quarter-century you probably aren’t surprised to hear that professors have become strikingly more liberal. ”

“But the folks that first put these numbers together, a group of academic faculty calling themselves Heterodox Academy, argue that homogeneity in higher education is a bigger problem than it is in other areas.”

“Interestingly academics are, on the whole, considerably more liberal than even their students. HERI has also been surveying incoming college freshmen for a number of years. America’s students are much more likely to refer to themselves as ‘moderate’ than as liberal or conservative.”

“A quarter-century ago, college professors were about 16 percentage points more likely to identify as ‘liberal’ or ‘far-left’ than their first-year students. By 2014, professors were close to 30 percentage points more likely than freshmen to call themselves liberal.”

“American politics seems to work best when the two main factions are animated by rigorous thinking and serious ideas. And if there’s no home for conservative ideas at today’s colleges, it stands to reason that our political discourse will be poorer for it.”

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  • Calbengoshi

    When asked why he had moved to the left during his time on the Supreme Court, former Justice Stevens replied that he hadn’t changed his positions but that the rest of the Court (as well as the nation) had become more conservative.

    I think this is somewhat similar to what has happened with college professors. As the country has moved further to the right, simply by staying where they were they have become more “liberal” in comparison to the rest of the nation. Rather than asking professors to self-identify their position along a left-right line, it would have been more useful if professors were asked to take a position on certain issues and policies and then calculate the extent to which support for more “liberal” policies or positions on those issues either increased or decreased over time.

  • realnrh

    It’s not that the national political dialogue gets poorer when all the intellectual heft moves to one side. It’s that one part of the national political dialogue is heading off into a direction that can’t support intellectual examination. As long as Republicans maintain an anti-intellectual stance and consistently deny science and attack education, it’s not going to be surprising that they head in directions where few intellectuals and educators agree with them.

  • Mike

    This fits with other data that shows the more educated a person becomes, the more likely they are to be liberal.

    The Economist has published a few graphics over the years that relate the average IQ of each state to voting patterns in the presidential election. In every instance the higher average IQs correlated to the Democratic candidate winning that state. Mississippi and Alabama will be voting republican for the forseeable future.

    • people also express more conservative views when drunk

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