Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Education and Elections

Does education influence how people vote? Obviously, yes, it does. But the nature of that influence is not always clear.

Multiple and sometimes divergent agendas are at work in educational institutions, and the actions taken to further those agendas may either in fact further them or unintentionally work against them. Some of the agendas are public, others hidden.

Educational institutions themselves are not monolithic, and so the aggregate results of all schools tells us little about any one school.

CNN reports that, in the 2004 general election, the only educational category in which John Kerry won a majority was among those who did not complete high school. As educational levels ascend, the percentage of ballots cast for Kerry declines.

In that same election, moving up to the next category, those who completed high school, George W. Bush’s percentage increased to 52%, while among those who attended college, he obtained 54% of the votes. In those same two categories, Kerry received 47% and 46% respectively.

Comparing these results to the 2000 election, Bush received more votes in every educational category in the 2004 election.

A study completed by Elon University shows that in the 2008 election, Obama’s biggest win was in the category of those who didn’t complete high school; he obtained 54% of those votes. Among those who graduated from high school, Obama’s share of the ballots declined to 46%, and in the category of those who attended college, only 41% voted for Obama.

Mitt Romney, in that same year, received only 36% of the vote among those who did not graduate from high school. Among high school graduates, his percentage increased to 44%. At the university level, 48% of those who attended college, and 49% of those who graduated from college, voted for Romney.