EDU in Review News Blog

Are Democrats More Educated Than Republicans?

So who’s smarter, Democrats or Republicans?

That’s quite the controversial question, of course.  According to a blogger at Watchblog.com, though, it seems that Democrats are more educated than Republicans. Or hey, let me rephrase that.  People in the “blue states” (states that typically vote Democratic) are collectively more educated than people in the “red states” (states that typically vote Republican).

According to Watchblog.com:

  • States that voted for Kerry in 2004 had 21 percent more college graduates than states that voted for Bush.
  • The states that ranked the lowest for high school and college graduates were all red states.
  • Eight out of 10 of the states that ranked the highest for high school college graduates were blue states. (The number one state, by far, is Colorado — technically a red state because it went for Bush by a small margin, but effectively a “purple” state because it’s become so politically mixed.)

Is this a bunch of hooey, or is there something to this?  What do you think?

You can also see the educational background and alma maters of the Republican candidates, John McCain and Sarah Palin, and Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, to see how they compare.






40 Responses to “Are Democrats More Educated Than Republicans?”

  1. george says:

    What a joke. Yeah, convince me that the bottom feeders the democrats DRAG AROUND are all geniuses. What Pew said is there are a FEW elite college professors dragging around the “FRINGE” disenfranchised and paying for them with OUR tax dollars. Also, being “educated” is NOT the same as being SMART. Look at all our “fancy” politicians as example with their YALE and HARVARD degrees pinned like FLAIR on their chests. They’re not smarter in any way they just had a daddy to pay for it all.

  2. Friday says:

    There is definitely an educational gap between the parties, but it’s the opposite of what your attempting to portray:

    Inevitably, the red state-blue state voter IQ will enter the discussion. Whether, you trust my source or not, this is a well-documented urban legend. Feel free to do your own research.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/stateiq.asp

    Chapter 2 of Joseph Friedman’s “Democrats and Republicans: Rhetoric and Reality is the coup de grace for your argument. Whether you believe the author has an ax to grind, you must admit that the GSS & NES data he cites are from extremely reliable sources.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=wGtJ66o3EyIC&pg=PA57&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

    I will concede that the uber-educated sector (professors & career students) is overwhelmingly Democratic. This relatively tiny group is not what turns a state blue. That honor belongs to the 47% written off by Mitt Romney. This huge majority is what tips the “who is more educated?” debate overwhelmingly in favor of the Republicans.

    It’s pretty simple:

    It’s widely accepted and largely true that the Republican party represents the wealthy.

    It goes without saying that wealth and education are directly proportional.

    Therefore, the Republican party represents the educated.

  3. Obama Highlights Education in Nomination Acceptance Speech | Edu in Review Blog says:

    [...] specific goals for raising the bar with education. For college students, he asked his fellow Democrats’ help in putting two million students into community colleges that will guarantee them a job once [...]

  4. Don says:

    Does AGE in the most recent comment see the irony in his accusation of elitism by President Obama. I find his perspective arrogant and elitist as the obvious implication is that those who hold hard science degrees possess higher intelligence than those who hold liberal arts degrees! I do not know the research on the subject, but in my experience I have found that those with hard science degrees tend to have greater difficulty thinking out of the box, are more authoritarian, and are less creative than those with liberal arts degrees. I guess this means that hard scientists are equally stupid in their own way. How do you like this elitist viewpoint?

  5. Age says:

    Obama isn’t smart at all. That is pure propaganda, and only stupid people fall for that. He is an elitist who doesn’t belong in the White House, and to Democrats elitist means ‘smart’.

    Besides, what type of degree are so called educated Democrats getting? Are they liberal arts degrees, which on the average tend to be a lot less challenging than engineering or science degrees? You see how some people (read Democrats) tend to twist things around without giving specifics?

    Where I work, there are a lot of educated people, with engineering and science degrees (electrical, physics, geology, computer science, etc), bachelors, masters and phds. Yet, they overwhelmingly support the Republicans over the Democrats.

    Now, how am I supposed to trust a bunch of two faced hypocrites who bitched about Bush Jr. being stupid and not having enough experience to become President because he was Governor of a state and didn’t have ‘national’ level experience, yet these same Democrats voted for Clinton (former governor of the state of Arkansas) and then voted for Obama who had practically no political experience and turns out not to be as smart as people think. Where is the sense in that? How is that educated?

  6. mississippi conservatives be a puzzlin' lot... - Page 2 - U.S. Politics Online: A Political Discussion Forum says:

    [...] brief google and a couple sources seem to say that yeah democarts are better educated. here's one: Are Democrats More Educated Than Republicans? | Edu in Review Blog __________________ "My country is the world, and my religion is to do good." –Thomas [...]

  7. Rob says:

    This article was written by a British self described Libertarian. It shows the raw data. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1968042,00.html

  8. White House Aims to Revamp No Child Left Behind Law | Edu in Review Blog says:

    [...] Obama administration. This timeframe is likely to interfere with the priorities of congressional Republicans. The administration believes that the law needs to be more flexible and reduce Washington’s role [...]

  9. aly says:

    Oh, Ryan, you forgot the last part of your test to see which side of the fence one would sit on:

    “If a conservative doesn’t believe in abortion, he doesn’t have one…”
    …wait…

  10. jonny says:

    REPUBLICANS… That is an easy one.

  11. Joy says:

    Everyone knows Democrats are typically more educated than Republicans. No brainer!! Just look at who each have elected as president in recent years. “Dumb as a doorknob” Bush and highly intelligent Clinton and Obama.

  12. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Genius Envy says:

    [...] concern that for more educated Democrats would be a [...]

  13. Ryan says:

    This a great analogy to what is happening in our country.

    A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

    She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

    One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs.

    The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

    Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying. Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?” She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

    Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”

    The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That’s a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!

    The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the conservative side of the fence.”

    If anyone has a better explanation of the difference between conservative and liberal or progressive or neocon I’m all ears.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

    If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
    If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

    If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
    If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

    If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
    If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

    If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
    A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

    If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
    Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

    If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
    A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

    If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
    A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

  14. DREAM Act Approved by House, Awaits Vote by Senate | Edu in Review Blog says:

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  17. Nick says:

    In response to Jason…

    All people have life experiences and the common sense that develops as a result of that experience. There is nothing wrong with common sense, but it is far from the best that we can do. It is, after all, what led our ancestors to believe the world was flat.

    Higher education takes people with common sense and teaches them critical thinking skills to use in addition to their common sense. You stop accepting interpretations and ideology provided by others and begin examining what they are saying and the evidence behind their conclusions.

    A recent study (11/2010) just revealed that highly educated people will consider new evidence, consider its quality, and change their minds based on good evidence; whereas less educated people form an opinion, and stick to that opinion in the face of contradictory facts.

    The strongest ideologues I know rarely have a college education. Instead, they latch on to some “truth” that someone else gave them, incorporate it into their value system, and become overly aggressive if you question any aspect of their belief system.

    So Jason, you should go to college. It might broaden your horizon.

  18. Nina says:

    Yes, college graduates in general are more educated hence the 4 years that include political studies. And if you are student of Accounting you know that the Bush Jr years were going to take us into a great deficit. 800 billion dollars on a war based on a lie while that money could have gone to infraestructure, education , healthcare,etc. It is obvious to any economist that Obama was stirrign a shinking ship when he got elected and had to take measures rapidly without debating about for a few years because banks , wallstreet were in the dying-ergo-loss of millions of jobs when you factor in foreclosures..and the snowball effect. That he managed to saved us from a Depression is incredible. Yet economist ask themselves were are we going to pay for all this? Only with higher taxes but Obama kept his word and did not raise taxes on the lower or middle class. So yes, American should go and take classes on acccounting, poitics, etc and educate themselves because voting without knowing the basics of an economy is what has lead us to this disaster and that is why we are 37th in education among industrialized countries..Very sad.

  19. Jason says:

    So basically what you are saying is that democrats make decisions based on academic theory gained in narrow institutions never tested the laboratory of real life, and republicans make decisions based on real life experience of owning business and working hard? Fair enough.

    “Makers and Takers” as well as “Democrats and Republicans – Rhetoric and Reality: Comparing the Voters in Statistics and Anecdotes” are both worth while reads.

    Speaking of info, the above comments point clearly to the lack of information getting to Dems…just look at “Monicamoonstars” comment – here is a selection;

    “What about sub-prime mortgages?” You mean those forced on banks by congressional democrats, despite warnings of republicans? What about the warnings to further regulate fannie and freddie.. democrats singing a different tune now aren’t they?

    ” …the bailouts” – you’re not familiar with Obama’s record, are you?

    “and big business refusing unionizing for their employees” – are you referring to the Unions that are forcing jobs overseas? How bout the Unions that want to remove and infringe on freedom by removing secret ballots? So what you are saying is that independent privately owned business and employees shouldn’t have a choice about unionizing? yeah, you are all about freedom> lol.

    “The fact is that if government doesn’t stand up for the people business will suck us dry and they don’t care, as long as they get your money!” So… tell me genius, what would the country be like without business? Hmmm… does government create wealth, or does business?

  20. Monicamoonstar says:

    I like how the republicans always assume there’s some sort of conspiracy! There’s no conspiracy to make all students liberal. That’s just what happens when you can think past what’s going on in your trailer park!
    Also many business man, despite their personal beliefs vote republican because of their free market stance. Even though many big businesses infringe on our freedoms all the time. Don’t believe me? What about sub-prime mortgages, the bailouts, and big business like Wal-mart refusing unionizing for their employees. The fact is that if government doesn’t stand up for the people business will suck us dry and they don’t care, as long as they get your money!
    What I think is funny about conservative-republicans is that they hate middle eastern countries. When they have so much in common! Both keep half their population uneducated, both follow religious texts, and both are extremely intolerant of any other way of doing things. I think we should just ship all the red necks to the middle east and let them sort it out!

  21. Republicans Only Want to Take from Americans, Nothing to Give | America For Purchase says:

    [...] Democrat.  Stated another way, people in “blue states” (states that typically vote Democratic) are collectively more educated than people in the “red states” (states that typically vote Republican). Never mind that America is falling [...]

  22. greasyghost says:

    lol JS GUY…This is self evident. Professors are “way more” educated than the general population. They have “way more” knowlege than the general population. Teachers care about students “way more” than the general population. So the “system” they go through that you say leads them to lean left, is like the educated scientist/mathematician “leaning” towards believing that we can determine the make-up of a star by taking an infrared picture of it. She/He can’t help “leaning” towards believing that their vote counts rather than go on “I gotta believe” for their excuse for not voting. They “lean” towards our planet being 10 billion plus years old. I hope you’re not “too educated” to lean towards believing that heat melts snow fast, even if you can’t see it from an Alaskan home looking towards Russia. Or that mining companies don’t care any more about miners than the government tells them they have too, and even then they’d rather pay a fine than help the miners. Oh, those pesky government “regulations” though, wouldn’t want the government to get involved, might lose some profit. And God help us now, the government wants to try to protect us from insurance fraud, greed etc… Maybe the free market might work for your water supply there… lets see how clean your water is without those pesky regulations and fines bringing up your costs…not to mention people should have to get a job and pull their weight in society to get water anyway so cheap…its socialism rearing its head, first the water, now they want to help us stay alive. Maybe for profit companies should run the schools, huh? Then you’d have it more right leaning…they’d be leaning to the right because of a sore back, they’d be tired of “learning” so hard how to make profit for their employer (read teacher)

    And anyone who thinks the republicans of today are not almost carbon copies of the democrats of 1860, and that Obama isn’t fighting almost the same fight Lincoln did, in the same way, is blind to truth. About every single democrat of 1860 would now be republican, and they’d be going to tea parties….an threatening, like Oklahoma,(not even a blue COUNTY there) to raise militia to fight the US Government.
    Maybe more people like you will follow in your footsteps, voting is such a waste isn’t it?

  23. JS GUY says:

    This is self-evident. Professors are way more liberal than the general population. Academia itself leans left. So obviously more people who have been through the system are democrat. I would like to see a correlation between education and intelligence (assuming intelligence is measurable). Personally, I consider myself too educated to accept the label of either Democrat or Republican and I voted for neither in the last election. Maybe it’s a waste but I gotta believe we can break out of this 2 party system sometime.

  24. JJB says:

    POWinCA: One of the things we educated people learn is the difference between “significance” and “statistical significance.” If you read John’s Nov 6 post here, you will see that education as a factor in voting by state is of statistical significance by at least two well known statistics measures. In my MBA statistics class, I too conducted statistical analyses on election results by state based on education level (and a number of other factors, demographic and otherwise) – and the level of education was by far the most significant, statistically speaking.

  25. Texas says:

    No child left behind = no teacher left standing.

  26. Are Democrats More Educated Than Republicans?.....YES!!!!!!!!!!!! - Benzworld.org - Mercedes-Benz Discussion Forum says:

    [...] Democrats More Educated Than Republicans?…..YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Are Democrats More Educated Than Republicans? | Edu in Review Blog So who?s smarter, Democrats or Republicans? That?s quite the controversial question, of course. [...]

  27. Ted Weaver says:

    Gee, let me guess….whoever is reading this is actually trying to ‘get a read’ on me….trying to put me in either the blue folder or the red one. I could keep on typing with the warm fuzzy feeling that (oops, that touchy feely pop psych lingo albeit sarcasm might have blown my cover) you still can’t find me on your political gps. Well, enough suspense…as if. Ok, let me simplify the republican/aryan party for you all. It is now basically comprised of 3 groups….the rich (top 2%), the middle group (small business owners driving SUVs, listening to Rush and Hannity on the way to the golf course), and the super poor….all 3 of which are white. The rich group is at the wheel of the party. Their main purpose in life is to get into power and calibrate those tax tables to maximize their bounty. Oh and also so they can hijack the military to ‘spread freedom and liberty’…translation, so these business owners can create more free markets in order to ‘free up’ a cheaper labor force than the American worker so they can ship jobs offshore. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. So….the game is….how can this 2% fool the uneducated masses (the middle and the super poor) into voting for them so they can get into power? Well, ….through the culture war. They get their Karl Roves to go into the thick and study the natives in their habitat…noting all their religious hangups, xenophobic insecurities, phobias in general, bad eating habits, and residual judgmental attitudes from watching too many Waltons episodes and listening to the red, white and blue Americana script administered by the elders in the pride (this just in…it’s not the greatest country in the world…get over yourself). So they write down this shopping list and take it back to the GOP cave and they engineer their Ronald Reagans….a trojan regular Joe type of good guy everyman who just knows what is right and wrong and the way it should be and how to give a good wholesome hearty days work and ….. wake up red state America! Step away from the voting booth with your paws in the air! The Waltons got canceled. You’re getting taken for a ride.

  28. Spencer says:

    Republicans differ from Democrats in that Republicans care about the students, and Democrats care more about the students. So, no, No Child Left Behind is a great measure, but only for students whom the education system is for.

  29. Ex Republican says:

    1. The Black Sphere against democrats? The KKK is the radical right wing made up of the Neo Conservatives who are running the Republican party.
    2. POWinCA – Complete gibberish!? Reaganomics brought about massive wealth for the elite, but at what cost? Reagan de-regulated the financial sector. That “liberal” policy directly caused the predicament we are in today. i.e. AIG and large banks’ greed all but collapsing the world economy. Any educated person can see that the bad economy is clearly the result of the republican ideal based on pure greed.
    3. POWinCA – Aggregation by state is the only way to perform a relevant analysis pertinent to voting results. Our country counts votes based on the electoral college which directly correlates to state by state aggregation.

    Oh and by the way when will you republican folk learn to rebute facts with facts instead of your pathetic attempt at sarcasm “dim”ocrats? Please!

    I left the republican party because the party no longer represents educated conservatives with a common goal to keep government in check. It has been taken over by blowhards with separate agendas. Remember separation of church and state? Remember when we didn’t spend money we don’t have? Why is it OK for republicans to borrow money recklessly and raise the national deficit to continually higher records? Why does it take democrats to balance the budget?

    If any republican can begin to answer these challenging questions with truth, then let’s see some facts. Otherwise, the statistics speak for themselves.

  30. POWinCA says:

    You didn’t even bother to read the link I provided, did you Bobby? It uses statistics from the 2008 and 2004 presidential elections.

    The Reagan comment was only a counterexample of fallacious arguments relating to red state/blue state comparisons. Aggregation by state is an idiotic way to do an analysis about the education of voters.

    Reading… it’s fundamental, even for dimocrats.

  31. Bobby James says:

    LOL! Looks like dems are smarter. Repubs are trying to use stats from decades ago to disprove modern stats. LOL!

  32. POWinCA says:

    Complete gibberish!

    http://powinca.blogspot.com/2009/01/myth-of-democrat-intellectual.html

    I suppose when Ronald Reagan won 49 out of 50 states, you concluded Republicans were geniuses! Or were you simply retarded if you voted for Mondale?

    John’s response above seems to demonstrate the most facility with statistics, but my Reagan counterexample shows the folly of his analysis. It’s a spurious regression. Barack Obama won because of horrid economic conditions, unprecedented black voter turnout (finally matching their % of the population), a fawning media which passed up all opportunities to challenge Obama, and a lackluster campaign by McCain.

    Education levels had absolutely nothing to do with the election results. There’s no doubt Obama ran a brilliant campaign, but given all his advantages, an overall margin of victory of around 7% (a 3.5% swing) is pretty disappointing. Obama won 74 electoral votes by less than 5% of the popular vote in those states. Even without those, he would have won and McCain won 14 EV by less than 5%, but this was not the runaway it appears to be (or should have been).

    The contentious Democrat primary, the race of the Democrat candidate, and a bad economy clinched it. My prediction is that Hillary would have lost to McCain.

  33. Larry says:

    With respect to recent history, Bill Clinton and Obama are obviously more educated than Bush Jr. (moron) and his father. It seems the Republican rhetoric is macho blind ego tough talk, and the democratic talk is sophisticated and highly educated.

  34. Donna says:

    The “Blue” states also have large cities with high percentages of poor people. I am a Republican and I am also well educated, Bachelors Degree and currently working on my Masters. But as a college educated person I can tell you that I spent class after class defending my political position against my liberal teachers and class mates. Classmates that went with the majority and wouldn’t stand on thier own two feet. Why are there so many liberal democrats perhaps we should look at who is educating our children. Most teachers belong to unions. Unions that protect thier rights to NOT teach our children. Don’t take it out on them if a child is failing. I don’t know about anyone else but if I had failed in my job I would be replaced. How do you expect programs like “No Child Left Behind” to succeed when the teachers hide behind union contracts. When will this country wake up. Ask all the employees from Ford and GM if the unions protected them.

  35. Sal says:

    That was the old more libertarian based republican party not the new neo con right wing nut job republican party….the tides turned in the 70′s where the dems because more liberal.

  36. The Black Sphere says:

    If Democrats are so smart, then why do they do such dumb things. Example? They are responsible for ALL violations of the human rights of Blacks on record, yet they say they want help Blacks. And their policies have not done ONE thing for Blacks who have supported them overwhelmingly for six decades. I dare you to name me ONE! And if you say, “The Civil Rights Act”, then you will be revealing your ignorance, because as most Democrats DON’T know, ALL legislation in the history of America to protect Blacks has been sponsored and passed by Republicans! To me, that’s just plain dumb!

  37. John says:

    An analysis of the 2008 Presidential Election returns by state (source New York Times and CNN), compared to the percentage of adults over 24 years old with bachelors degrees (source Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the 2003 Current Population Survey) suggests that Democrats have changed from those with lower education to those with higher education: 24% of those over 24 years old in the states that voted for McCain had bachelor’s degrees and 29% had bachelors degrees in the states that voted for Obama (a highly significant statistical difference by the Chi Square test). The median rank on the bachelors degree scale of the states that voted for McCain was 35 and the median rank for Obama was 16. A linear regression of the percent with bachelors degrees within a state correlated with the percent voting for Obama was also highly signficant statistically with every 1% increase in the percentage of those with bachelors degrees predicting a 1.3% increase in percentage of votes for Obama. Variation in college education alone statistically accounted for 43% of the variation on percentage of votes for Obama vs McCain (Rsquared=.426).

  38. jack says:

    No surprises here…A pretty obvious finding but interesting none the less.

  39. Hildy says:

    That might be scarier than the idea of Palin being in the White House.

  40. Brian says:

    It’s obvious Republicans hate education, consider “No Child Left Behind”


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