Where Obama is holding strong is among Americans who went to graduate school. Among those with a high school diploma or less, 43 percent say they approve of the job Obama is doing. Among those with some college, 44 percent approve of the job Obama is doing. Among those who only graduated from college, 48 percent approve of the job Obama is doing. But among those with graduate school experience, 57 percent approve of the job Obama is doing.
The biggest jump in Obama's approval comes between college and graduate school. College graduates are closer to both high school dropouts and college dropouts in their approval of Obama than they are to those who went on to graduate school.
Now, Obama's supporters might find this information complimentary. They may think it is flattering to the president that the longer someone stays in school, the more likely they will be to approve of the job he is doing. They might naturally be tempted to equate longevity in school with critical judgment and wisdom.
But a report published earlier this year by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute -- "The Shaping of the American Mind: The Diverging Influences of the College Degree & Civic Learning on Americans Beliefs" -- at least suggests something else might be at play. (Full disclosure: I am a visiting fellow at ISI and was involved in writing the report.) ISI surveyed 2,508 Americans, asking them whether they agreed or disagreed with various propositions involving public issues.
The survey showed that smaller percentages of the respondents with master's and doctorate degrees -- as opposed to people with lesser degrees -- agreed with the propositions that with hard work and perseverance anyone can succeed in America and that the Bible is the Word of God. On the other hand, larger percentages of the respondents with master's and doctorate degrees -- as opposed to people with lesser degrees -- agreed with the propositions that abortion should be available at any stage and for any reason and that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry.
Perhaps the reason Obama's approval rating remains strong among people who have done graduate work is that such people are more likely to share Obama's vision for America.
And now, it seems, Obama could use a nation that has not only more unmarried, unchurched, poor and inexperienced people, but also a nation with more Ph.Ds.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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