Party Affiliation Versus Education Level

For ages I have searched the net for charts of party affiliation versus education level (highest degree attained.) Well, thanks to Berkeley’s SDA I was able to produce this chart myself! Click below to see tha table

Frequency Distribution
0
LT HIGH SCHOOL
1
HIGH SCHOOL
2
JUNIOR COLLEGE
3
BACHELOR
4
GRADUATE
ROW
TOTAL
0: STRONG DEMOCRAT 23.5
2,408
13.6
2,861
13.1
234
11.1
575
15.4
359
15.9
6,437
1: NOT STR DEMOCRAT 25.3
2,592
22.8
4,799
21.0
376
19.2
995
20.0
466
22.7
9,228
2: IND,NEAR DEM 9.7
993
12.7
2,666
13.5
242
12.6
656
14.6
341
12.1
4,898
3: INDEPENDENT 14.6
1,495
14.1
2,955
13.5
242
9.7
501
9.6
225
13.3
5,418
4: IND,NEAR REP 6.3
643
9.4
1,985
9.3
167
11.4
590
10.7
250
9.0
3,635
5: NOT STR REPUBLICAN 12.1
1,243
17.4
3,656
16.6
297
20.8
1,077
16.0
373
16.4
6,646
6: STRONG REPUBLICAN 7.3
750
8.6
1,817
10.9
195
13.8
716
11.7
272
9.2
3,750
7: OTHER PARTY 1.3
133
1.3
282
2.0
36
1.5
76
2.1
48
1.4
575
COL TOTAL 100.0
10,257
100.0
21,021
100.0
1,789
100.0
5,186
100.0
2,334
100.0
40,587

The data is taken from GSS 1972-2000 cumulative survey. My interest in this chart was mainly for the anecdotal evidence that Democrats draw mostly from those with little education and with a graduate degree, while Republicans draw from the middle.

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28 Responses to Party Affiliation Versus Education Level

  1. Ed says:

    then why would a republican government want to cut education programs? just curious…..

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 15

  2. Dave Bacon says:

    I think you are talking about the “old republicans.” In the last Bush term spending on the Department of Education has doubled! I think it also increased by fifty percent under Clinton. And this isn’t even factoring in the real effect of no child left behind, which basically an unfunded federal mandate which whose cost is born by the states.

    But it is still a good question! I think the old republican reason for wanting to cut federal education funding was based mainly on wanting the states to retain control of education. Thus I don’t think most republicans want less spending on education as much as they want more local control (I include here, I guess, voucher schools and such as well.)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

  3. Michael Turner says:

    Could you please provide more info on the source of this data. I assume GSS stands for General Social Survey, do I assume correctly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  4. Michael Turner says:

    You might find this Pew Research study from May of 2005 interesting. Full party affiliation/demographics tables available. The data looks significantly different from that presented here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. Michael Turner says:

    Ooops. Forgot the link. Here it is: http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=242

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  6. Dave Burton says:

    Here’re some 1990 Gallup poll numbers relating education to political affiliation:

    Rep = Republican
    Dem = Democrat
    Ind = Independent/Unaffiliated

    Grade school education:
    23.4% Rep, 54.6% Dem, 22.5% Ind

    Some High School:
    22.8% Rep, 51.3% Dem, 26.0% Ind

    High School Grad:
    29.4% Rep, 40.5% Dem, 30.2% Ind

    Some College and/or Tech:
    36.0% Rep, 35.0% Dem, 29.3% Ind

    College Grad:
    42.0% Rep, 30.7% Dem, 27.7% Ind

    (Source: The World Almanac of U.S. Politics, 1991-93 edition, p.25)

    As you can see, in 1990 the better educated you were the more likely you were to be a Republican, and the less likely you were to be a Democrat.

    Sorry, I don’t have more recent numbers.

    -Dave
    dave146 at burtonsys dot com but please no spam

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  7. Dave Bacon says:

    It would be nice to see the numbers with graduate degrees. That’s the interesting “liberal bias” statistic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. Nikolas says:

    Can you provide the methodology for your chart? Like why you have two sets of sample points but only show the relative frequency distribution for one of them?

    Set A: top to bottom.
    Set B: left to right.

    Here are the numbers I get for the mean relative frequency of both sets…
    [A_(i,j) + B_(i,j)]/2 (Matrix addition)
    30.4% 29.0% 8.4% 10.0% 10.5%
    26.7% 37.4% 12.5% 15.0% 12.5%
    15.0% 33.6% 9.2% 13.0% 10.8%
    21.1% 34.3% 9.0% 9.5% 6.9%
    12.0% 32.0% 7.0% 13.8% 8.8%
    15.4% 36.2% 10.5% 18.5% 10.8%
    13.7% 28.5% 8.0% 16.4% 9.5%
    12.2% 25.2% 4.1% 7.3% 5.2%

    P.S. I can’t find the data source you used to calculate this chart.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. Joe Nameth says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  10. Dave Bacon says:

    “Why should we believe that you have accurately compiled the data of “tha [sic] table”?”

    You shouldn’t. Do it yourself if you want to. But please, before you ask this question, why don’t you check it out yourself first before accusing.

    “What are your qualifications?”

    If I said I was a patent clerk, what would that matter? What the hell do qualifications matter in assembling a table?

    “And why are you grouping approx 28 years into a single chart?”

    Because it was the most easily accessible data set.

    Any more questions?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  11. Dave Bacon says:

    No one likes to talk about education level versus political affiliation. It sounds way too elitist. :) But I’m sure that political consultants have this data and know what to do with it :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. Larry J says:

    This is very interesting data. It seems to be in line with all the other unbiased articles I have found. This is the only one that had this much detail in the data. I would have liked to see the average number of years for the drop outs. I used factors of 9 for drop outs, 12 for HS grads, 14 for JC, 16 for BS, and 18 for advanced degrees. I then multiplied the numbers in each cell by the corresponding factor, summed the products, and divided the sum by the total of the respondents. This gave me a weighted average. The Dem group averaged 11.98 while the Repubs averaged 12.59. Do you think the media and the pollsters doing the surveys ignore this informantion intentionally because they do not like the results? Or is it because no one is interested period. There is very little documentation on this subject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. Dave Bacon says:

    What exactly are you objecting to MNstudent?

    Not everyone who has a post undergraduate degree is in academia (doctors, lawyers, etc.) In fact I’d wager doctors are more conservative than liberal.

    Also I think there are many reasons that liberals dominate faculty at research institutions (and a lot less so as you go down the totem pole of academia related to research.) These include things like selection effects (liberals only hiring liberals), the nature of research (state sponsored funding for science is not high on many fiscal conservatives agendas), the flight of conservatives to think tanks (which pay much better), the role of money in the lives of the different constituencies (strong capitalist component of the conservatives don’t want to take such low pay for the amount of work), etc.

    It’s interesting that you are so quick to label your professors academic leanings. Did you ask them about it or did you just guess? I’ve always wondered about this as I don’t ever bring up politics in the classroom (I teach CS). I’m pretty sure our students couldn’t identify the libretarians and conservatives in our CS department, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  14. MNstudent says:

    This seems very suspect to me seeing as that every single college professor I’ve ever spoken with, with the exception of ONE, has been a very strong democrat, and because conservatives themselves seem to espouse the popular notion that college “brainwashes” young adults into being liberal. I have always heard it was the exact opposite, that the more educated you were, the more likely you were to be a democrat and the less likely you were to be religious.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  15. MM says:

    I have seen another table that shows the less formally educated you are, the more likely you are to be democrat, but this could be more because of SES. However, if you look at the graduate degree level (greater than bachelor level), then, YES, there is a greater chance of those grads being Democrat, than people who only have a Bachelor level education. I would argue that the more formal education one has, the more critical of a thinker they are, thus, the more macro level thinking involved. Democratic values tend to focus on macro level concerns for the whole of society (gender, poverty, etc.) while conservative values tend to focus on the micro level (how much money can I make if I get a BA, or how much would I have to pay for taxes, etc.)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  16. Daniel says:

    I think it also needs to be pointed out that one’s income level is strongly correlated with party affiliation, and also with one’s opportunity for higher education. Those in higher income brackets tend to be more republican, and also more able to afford college. Financial situation is only one of many important factors not normalized in this data, so not too many conclusions can rightly be drawn from it. It is interesting, though. I think it should be explored more, even if some consider that taboo or elitist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. Randy says:

    This Data is clearly skewed. One can easily realize this just based on the sample sizes from each group. Well over half of the sample leans left. My guess is that this was most likely gathered in a liberal area where the breakdown of education levels would match that of the general population, but the overall populatin is slanting left. As far as education being correlated to income, that is a good point, but wouldn’t we all agree that government should be run by the most knowledgeable people? In other words, I agree that the data carries little informational value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  18. Dave Bacon says:

    For those who come to this post they might also look at
    http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2009/07/democrats_do_be.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Paul says:

    Although it’s fun to post data collected regarding educational levels and try to massage the data to support your viewpoint, it’s more relevant to look at all factors related to who votes, how and why- not just relative educational levels. Here is a source that presents far more useful information (plus there is little danger of partisan bias in conclusions or data collection methods in the information).
    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/US/H/00/epolls.0.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  20. Dave Bacon says:

    Oh yeah no one will ever accuse CNN of being partisan.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  21. dabacon says:

    Of course this doesn’t explain why the most smart vote the same way. Please show your work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  22. james freeman says:

    Makes sense: if one is too lazy and/or stupid to complete high school, one would be more likely to vote in someone who will steal from less lazy and/or stupid and give you unearned benefits in exchange for your vote.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

  23. highly educated democrat says:

    I think the confusing point is that of the surveyed voters 14031 are most likely going to vote Republican, and 20563 would most likely vote Democrat…..and yet to everyones loss, the republicans will likely sweep tomorrow…..why do we always look back instead of forward?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  24. allan says:

    The funny thing is that if you add the numbers (excluding 3rd party and independent) the numbers so not show what he says at all. this just shows why both parties court the indi vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Danny says:

    Here are results of the McCain and Obama election. Statistically, wealthier and more educated counties voted Obama.

    http://alchemyandlore.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=358

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  26. Simon says:

    Interesting…I can see the correlation. I’d say the typically less educated communities WOULD vote Democratic. Republicans make no benefit to the lower class unless you’re white and live in BFE, which in that case you’re unknowingly getting screwed. I could also understand the more educated leaning left as well, as liberal perspective is more open-minded to macro issues. Now I’m going to laugh when someone calls me a Democrat =)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  27. Vince Van Der Hyde says:

    You have percentaged your table in the wrong direction.
    Assuming that education level ‘determines’ political party membership, education is the independent variable and political party is the dependent variable. So, calculate percents within the independent variable (education) and compare percents across categories of the dependent variable (political party).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Daniel says:

    Education is bias toward liberals because that is what it is. College wasn’t started for a career. It was for the expansion of the arts and sciences. Eventually, certain areas such as medicine and engineering became professions that you’d want some sort of guarantee that they knew what they are doing…a degree.

    The masters degrees are pretty much liberal areas. So, you’d naturally have more liberals.
    Liberals would rather be a professor than take a high six figure salary to work for a corporation or think tank. If, they do, it is because the want to do their research which is not always easy to get funded on the public level.

    The education system can be controlled to a particular mindset. The Soviets tried it but they economic system was a failure. If, you raise a society in a bubble, they will all have a similar general ideology. Proof of this is evident that ideology is regional and cultural in a general sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

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