Social Scientists Lean to the Left, Study Says

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Several studies this year — some disputed — have suggested a political tilt (toward Democrats) among professors. Now a new study is being released saying that social science professors are overwhelmingly Democratic, that Democratic professors in those disciplines are more homogeneous in their thinking than are Republicans, and that Republican scholars are more likely than Democrats in the field to end up working outside of academe.

The study will appear in the journal Critical Review and its authors argue that it provides more evidence about political bias in academe. But leaders in some of the disciplines studied say that the study overstates and oversimplifies the role of party affiliation in academic life, and that the authors do not provide evidence of discrimination.

The latest study is based on surveys conducted in 2003 of members of various disciplinary associations. On the question of political affiliation, the survey found the following breakdown of Democrats to Republicans:

Anthropologists and sociologists — 21.1:1

Political and legal philosophers — 9.1:1

Historians — 8.5:1

Political scientists — 5.6:1

Economists — 2.9:1

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Lorraine Paul - 12/25/2005

Re '...accurately reflects the diverse polotical views within the society?'. Is it not hotly contested that this already exists, especially by the Right.

Frank Jenista - 12/23/2005

Are these monopolitical social science professors the same ones who demand diversity in the university? Or does diversity apply only to students? Or only to ethnicity/gender?

Isn't there substantial educational value in a professoriate that more accurately reflects the diverse political views within the society?

Lorraine Paul - 12/23/2005

Dear Richard,

Thank you!

Richard Bartholomew - 12/22/2005

This is a shock. I expect next we'll hear that soldiers and business-people tend to vote Republican.

More seriously, though, a couple of points to consider:

1. How does the existence of a large number of higher education institutions that exclusively employ conservative Christians affect the overall pool of potential employees?

2. Why assume that political orientation leads to academic "bias"? Might it not be that studying certain subjects leads scholars in particular political directions, based on the facts they find themselves facing? Maybe anthropologists and sociologists have good objective reasons to shun the Republicans.