Just to keep everything on this particular topic together here, here’s part of a comment I made over on the inestimable Mike Flynn‘s blog. Go there and read his thoughts, as he knows math, stat and stuff, while I merely dabble:
Dug a little deeper – according to the CNN exit polls (buyer beware: self reporting caveats apply), the pattern for 2012 was that HS drop outs voted markedly blue, with a steadily increasing propensity for voting red as educational level increased, until people with college degrees voted Romney 51% to 47%.
BUT, most interesting, people with graduate degrees – 18% of voters (doesn’t that seem kind of high? Are there really that many graduate degree holders out there? How does anything get done?) tended to vote strongly for Obama.
So increasing education seems to correspond to greater likelihood of voting red until grad school. But here’s the kicker: my unscientific survey of the fields graduate degrees are awarded in show a full 60% of people getting graduate degrees are doing so to advance in public sector careers – education accounts for over 25% of graduate degrees, with Public Admin, various law enforcement and social service degrees making up the rest. (Business & engineering I assumed to be private sector leaning, while health and sociology neutral to public? – the data’s probably out there, maybe I’ll look it us sometime.) So, it’s a little surprising that grad degree holders don’t lean even farther left than they do.
Maybe I should track this issue all the way down as an illustration of my You Can Figure This Stuff Out for Yourself campaign? Sort of like Gusteau’s ‘anyone can cook’. Hey, maybe doing just a little research and subjecting it the the review of intelligent readers is like what Chesterton said about love letters and blowing your nose – no matter how bad you are at it, you still have to do it yourself.
Think of the salubrious effects on public discourse if everyone, rather than simply swallowing tribal pieties whole and unchewed, actually tried to look stuff up from recognized and acknowledged sources, and then ran their thoughts past people who also did a little research on their own? Why,
– arguments would slow way down. Way, way down. You can yell a lot more talking points at each other per minute than you can talk about real issues and actual sources with friends and respected acquaintances;
– there’s a slight chance that some factual issues might get settled, such as there’s no way pharmaceutical company profits will cover the cost of health coverage for 30 million additional people, or that increasing the cost of doing business doesn’t tend to drive people out of that business, or that the deficit is still growing alarmingly with no end in sight (note: the contrary to these statements are all claims I’ve heard or read from presumably intelligent people);
– we might get to know each other as human beings, maybe stop hating and caricaturing each other, thereby putting millions of straw men out of work.
Gotta dream big!