At Princeton, Obama Donors Outnumber Romney Donors 157 to 2

This from the blog of economist John Cochrane:

99 percent of donors from Princeton gave to Obama, reports the Daily Princetonian, 157 to 2. Princeton’s one-percenters are a visiting lecturer and a custodian.

As a colleague pointed out, it may be little wonder that Republican politicians distrust academic “studies,” whether about the effects of taxes on growth or carbon on the climate.The story talks about the reasons for current faculty’s opinions. But that misses the issue, which is how faculty are hired. Certain Opinions need not apply.

I’m actually a little surprised. I would judge Princeton the most conservative of all Ivy League political science departments (albeit that’s a little like being “tall for a dwarf”). I know of at least five professors whom I would call conservative, libertarian, or right-leaning-moderate.  That’s double the number I can say of any other Ivy League political science department.

  1. The Mugwump

    Antonio Gramsci would be pleased. 

  2. Garrett Petersen

    So where are all the conservative academics?  Do they all end up in think tanks?

  3. SpinozaCarWash

    As an alum, that ratio ashames, but does not surprise me. Still, judged next to its peers, Princeton may be called politically moderate (notwithstanding faculty like Krugman, Singer, and West). Lets focus the fire on the apostates-on-the-Quinnipiac. Oh wait, that will never happen because Ricochet’s ruling class is dominated by Yalies. :P

  4. Sabrdance

    I feel compelled to point out that there are 1,148 faculty at Princeton, plus God knows how many staff, of whom we have data on 159.  It is therefore entirely possible for Princeton to have the most conservative Political Science Department of the Ivy’s, complete with 5 libertarian, conservative, or right-leaning moderates, yet still have an over-all 99% lean.  And if I may gently chide, one Political Scientist to another, you know better than to generalize the mean of the whole to the mean of the subgroup.  Or vice versa.

  5. SpinozaCarWash

    I hasten to add that Princeton sports the James Madison Program, run by Robbie George, whose appearance on the flagship podcast is long overdue.

  6. Misthiocracy

    “That’s simply proof that folk at Princeton are really smart.” – random Obama supporter

  7. Steven Jones

    I am shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you…

  8. Matthew K. Tabor

    HA! I looked at it and thought, “If they were smart, they’d keep their own money.”

    Full disclosure: I donated $20 to the Romney campaign this year because I wanted the “I built my business, Mr. President” t-shirt.

    Misthiocracy: “That’s simply proof that folk at Princeton are really smart.” – random Obama supporter · 6 minutes ago

  9. Misthiocracy
    Sabrdance: I feel compelled to point out that there are 1,148 faculty at Princeton, plus God knows how many staff, of whom we have data on 159. 

    So, the takeaway should really be that 86% of Princeton professors (989 of ‘em) thought both sides were so awful that they didn’t donate to anybody.

    Fair ’nuff.

  10. AIG

    Right, this represents a small fraction of the faculty and staff at Princeton (~2,300). It may be representative of the vocal leftists vs the silent majority (not to imply that the majority aren’t on the left). Either way, there is nothing surprising to the revelation that professors in sociology, philosophy and political science departments lean to the left. I thought that was part of the job description in those departments? (I have never met one that wasn’t)

  11. Jojo
    Misthiocracy: “That’s simply proof that folk at Princeton are really smart.” – random Obama supporter · 3 hours ago

    I had the same equally sarcastic thought.  But I really wonder what reasoning Princeton faculty use to come to prefer Obama.  Surely they are not, actually, stupid.  Surely a good percentage of them should be as bright as the custodian who contributed to Romney?

  12. AIG

    Surely they are not, actually, stupid

    One’s point of view of the world doesn’t necessarily have any relation to one’s knowledge in an area, or one’s overall intelligence. 

  13. Jack Warren

    It’s not the Ivy League, but I did some pre-election checking on our local institution, Illinois State University, and the results were 20 Obama donors, 0 Romney donors.

  14. Chris Campion

    Or they just donate at levels like our current Vice-President, which is to say, barely at all.

    Helping your fellow man is apparently only done through higher taxation levels, not direct donation.  Which again reinforces my assumption that colleges are populated (largely) by people not living in the same world as you and I.

    Misthiocracy

    Sabrdance: I feel compelled to point out that there are 1,148 faculty at Princeton, plus God knows how many staff, of whom we have data on 159. 

    So, the takeaway should really be that 86% of Princeton professors (989 of ‘em) thought both sides were so awful that they didn’t donate to anybody.

    Fair ’nuff. · 3 hours ago

  15. outstripp

    All this and subtle forms of racism still bedevil them.  

  16. Howellis

    I love the quote in the Princetonian article from a psychology professor who claims “there is even research that the speeches of liberal politicians are more cognitively complex.”  She must have “Romnesia.”

  17. Misthiocracy
    Jojo

    Misthiocracy: “That’s simply proof that folk at Princeton are really smart.” – random Obama supporter 

    I had the same equally sarcastic thought.  But I really wonder what reasoning Princeton faculty use to come to prefer Obama.

    I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out:

    Democrats = Government Grants

  18. Misthiocracy
    Howellis: I love the quote in the Princetonian article from a psychology professor who claims “there is even research that the speeches of liberal politicians are more cognitively complex.”  She must have “Romnesia.” 

    I have a few thoughts on this:

    1. She should talk to a Communications Studies professor about why good political speeches are less “cognitively complex”.

    2. “I couldn’t understand a single thing he was saying. He’s so deep!”
  19. Paul Dougherty

    It is entirely possible that I am the defective agent here. There is something so obvious that I am missing the point. It seems to fly in the face of rationality to assume that all these intelligent people are merely misled. Maybe I am meant to learn to live with that gnawing feeling in my gut while immersing in liberal thought. 

    Who am I to fight it?

  20. Howellis
    Misthiocracy

    Howellis: I love the quote in the Princetonian article from a psychology professor who claims “there is even research that the speeches of liberal politicians are more cognitively complex.”  She must have “Romnesia.” 

    I have a few thoughts on this: · 1 hour ago

    1. She should talk to a Communications Studies professor about why good political speeches are less “cognitively complex”.

    2. “I couldn’t understand a single thing he was saying. He’s so deep!”

    I don’t know much about the communications aspects of political speechifying (although I suspect you are right), but I do know that liberal political and economic ideas tend to be shallow, generally ignoring unintended consequences, and worshipful of good intentions rather than outcomes.  Similarly, we get a Paul Krugman arguing that the 9/11/2001 attacks would be good for the economy (broken windows fallacy).

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