College professors in America are vastly more likely to donate to Democrats than they are to Republicans, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by Heterodox Academy Director of Research Sean Stevens and Brooklyn College Professor Mitchell Langbert, found that by a ratio of 95:1, college professors across the country donated heavily to Democrats over Republicans.
Campus Reform reported that the study “looked at the political donations of 12,372 college professors at universities in 31 states and the District of Columbia during the past two election cycles in 2015-16 and 2017-18.”
“These findings are important for several reasons. Researchers have raised concerns that ideological homogeneity may lead to questionable research practices,” the researchers wrote. “This concern is grounded in research on confirmation bias, group polarization, motivated reasoning, and the tendency for these phenomena to be even more pronounced among the highly educated.”
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Of those professors, 2,301 made political donations, 2,081 of which were donated to Democrats. Just 22 of those 2,301 professors donated to Republicans. Nine professors donated to both Republicans and Democrats, according to the study.
The findings indicate that professors donated to Democrats more than Republicans by a 95:1 ratio. In addition to the number of professors who donated to Democrats versus Republicans, the study also revealed how many professors are registered to vote as Democrats compared with professors who are registered as Republicans. Nearly half of the 12,372 professors — 48.5 percent — are registered Democrats while just 5.7 percent are registered Republicans.
The study’s authors do note the limitations of their research, including criticisms of the potential for missed professors through their registration research. As the researchers note, many college professors aren’t even registered to vote, some are not citizens, while 20 states don’t collect the data or make it publicly available. Had Stevens and Langbert had access to that data, the results may have been different.
They also suggest there might be an identification error as they relied on names of professors matched to registration data, which could introduce “a small and unknown level of error.”
Further, part of the survey relied on self-reported data, which is inherently unreliable.
“In addition, self-report survey data from college professors may suffer from referent error, whereby professors who are in left-dominated environments skew their perceptions of the center leftward. It may also suffer from virtue signaling and self-censorship. Objective data like voter registration and contribution data avoid referent error and conformity pressure, but they are less likely than survey data to capture values, attitudes, and ideologies,” the researchers wrote.
At least the researchers note the potential for error fairly early on in their report.
The results, however, still paint a picture of a higher education system rampant with political bias, especially when it comes to assistant professors. Stevens and Langbert note that the registration ratio for assistant professors was even higher than full professors, however, the percentage of assistant professors not registered to vote is nearly double the percentage of full professors not registered to vote.