Although conservatives complain loudly and often about liberal bias in the mass media, the truth is that one is far more likely to read a conservative perspective in The New York Times than hear it from a college professor. At least the Times publishes an occasional conservative on its op-ed page. At many universities, just finding a Republican anywhere on the faculty is problematic.
Two recent studies by Santa Clara University economist Daniel B. Klein prove my point. In one study, he looked at party registration of the faculty at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. He found 7.7 registered Democrats for each Republican at the former and 9.9 Democrats per Republican at the latter.
In certain departments, Republicans are literally nonexistent. There are no Republicans in either the anthropology or sociology departments at Stanford or UC-Berkeley. At Berkeley, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 11 to one in the economics department and 14 to one in the political science department. Stanford is a model of intellectual diversity by contrast, with a Democrat/Republican ratio of seven to three in economics and nine to one in political science.
In a larger study, Klein looked at voting patterns from a survey of academics throughout the country. He found that in anthropology, there are more than 30 votes cast for Democratic candidates for each one cast for a Republican. In sociology, the ratio is 28 to one. Republicans do best among economists, who only vote Democratic by a three to one margin. In political science, the ratio is 6.7 to one. On average, across all departments, Democrats get 15 votes for every one going to Republicans.
Not surprisingly, the ideological orientation of college faculty skews heavily toward the left. According to a survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 47.9 percent of all professors at public universities consider themselves to be liberal, with another 6.2 percent classifying themselves as far left. Only 31.8 percent say that they are middle of the road, and just 13.8 percent are conservative.
Obviously, this puts the vast majority of professors far to the left of the population as a whole. But interestingly, they are even well to the left of their students. A survey of last year's incoming freshmen found only 24.2 percent calling themselves liberals and 2.8 percent classified as far left. More than half said they were middle of the road, and 21.1 percent were conservative.
Bruce Bartlett is a former senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis of Dallas, Texas. Bartlett is a prolific author, having published over 900 articles in national publications, and prominent magazines and published four books, including Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action.
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