To say there is significant difference between Americans with a college degree and those without a college degree may be a bit broad, but you can’t deny it. Still, is this something you can quantify?
A new study from Pew Research Centers says, at the very least, you can likely guess which side of the political spectrum college graduates may fall. This study shows that those who have graduated from college probably lean to the left more than those who never attended college. And, accordingly, those who have attended graduate school will lean even further to the Left.
More specifically, the study found that among those with a graduate-level education 31 percent consistently held liberal positions on social or political matters. This is based on analyses conducted by researchers in regards to opinions about the role of the government, how well the government performs in these roles (or how poorly), environmental issues, social issues, and other related topics.
An additional 23 percent held positions that were mostly liberal (but not as strict as the larger portion). Only about 10 percent of this group (college graduates and above) held consistent conservative viewpoints. Roughly 17 percent held mostly conservative positions.
Of course, while there is not necessarily a clear distinction between education levels and political alignment, the researchers say that the relationship could be a significant one.
The reason this finding is so significant, however, does not necessarily have anything to do with the past or present state of the political system. After all, the idea of some liberally-educated elite is not a new concept. Previous studies also exist confirming that education may be associated with liberal ideas. However, understanding this relationship allows us to project what might come of the political system in the future.
Noting that there may be a link can help better understand why the GOP, for example, has made a sudden turn to the Right, implying that fewer people with college (or above) degrees are aligning with it. It appears that the highly educated regarded this party as anti-science (and anti-higher education, in general), so those with degrees probably won’t support Right ideals.
At the same time, there are many variables at play which can lead to some anomalies so the data can probably only be taken at face value. Still, there seems to be an interesting relationship between education level and political ideals.