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.