New survey finds that university professors are moving further to the left

From the Inside Higher Ed.


Academics, on average, lean to the left. A survey being released today suggests that they are moving even more in that direction.

Among full-time faculty members at four-year colleges and universities, the percentage identifying as “far left” or liberal has increased notably in the last three years, while the percentage identifying in three other political categories has declined. The data come from the University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute, which surveys faculty members nationwide every three years on a range of attitudes.

Here are the data for the new survey and the prior survey:

2010-11 2007-8
Far left 12.4% 8.8%
Liberal 50.3% 47.0%
Middle of the road 25.4% 28.4%
Conservative 11.5% 15.2%
Far right 0.4% 0.7%

Gauging how gradual or abrupt this shift is is complicated because of changes in the UCLA survey’s methodology; before 2007-8, the survey included community college faculty members, who have been excluded since. But for those years, examining only four-year college and university faculty members, the numbers are similar to those of 2007-8. Going back further, one can see an evolution away from the center.

In the 1998-9 survey, more than 35 percent of faculty members identified themselves as middle of the road, and less than half (47.5 percent) identified as liberal or far left. In the new data, 62.7 percent identify as liberal or far left. (Most surveys that have included community college faculty members have found them to inhabit political space to the right of faculty members at four-year institutions.)

Professors are extremely liberal, especially in non-quantitative, non-scientific departments like English. It’s much harder to be liberal in academic areas where there is some connection to the real world that can be tested, like economics, business and computer science. Liberal bias is something to look out for if you go on to higher education. What you’ll find there is that there is often a lack of critical thinking on many topics. The left isn’t welcoming of other points of view. Their side doesn’t read our stuff, but we read their stuff. They think we’re evil, and we just think they’re wrong.

Here’s my previous post surveying several academic studies of liberal bias in the mainstream media.

4 thoughts on “New survey finds that university professors are moving further to the left”

  1. I would strongly question that business and economics, which is a study of philosophy, can be quantitatively tested like one can do with the physical sciences. our current economic theories and models omit so many variables it should be criminal.


    1. Economics is a branch of statistics, which in turn is a branch of both philosophy (specifically logical deduction) and mathematics. All areas of human knowledge share a common lineage to philosophy, but those that also descend from mathematics can be tested because of it.


      1. while it doesn’t mean it isn’t the case, I personally know of no college/university anywhere in the world where philosophy is a branch/sub-branch of mathematics – it is purely a philosophical study. While it is true that as of late many economists have attempted to infuse mathematics to give it an air of legitimacy, it is not mathematics, a subject I have several degrees in. Mathematics is about as pure a study as any subject can get. It’s constructs are either self evident and irrefutable or can directly derive from those that are – the same can’t be said economics, which is has so many dependencies and externalities that it can only ever reside within philosophy.

        As for voting – With practically everything Romney has said as of late, I would just be voting for the flip-flopping mormon version of Obama…my two choices are literally worse and worse – I have a hard time believing these two clowns are the best we have to run for this office.


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