Yale survey: Average tea partier has better science comprehension than general population

posted at 4:41 pm on October 18, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Independent Journal Review, I meant to post this yesterday but got sidetracked by the Healthcare.gov Chernobyl.

Tea partiers are as far ahead of the science curve relative to the general population, Yale professor Dan Kahan’s data shows, as liberal Democrats are relative to conservative Republicans. It’s a small difference, but it’s there — and so sharply contrary is it to the left’s view of TPers that Kahan felt obliged to acknowledge that fact explicitly.

I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).

I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view…

I’ll now be much less surprised, too, if it turns out that someone I meet at, say, the Museum of Science in Boston, or the Chabot Space and Science Museum in Oakland, or the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is part of the 20% (geez– I must know some of them) who would answer “yes” when asked if he or she identifies with the Tea Party. If the person is there, then it will almost certainly be the case that that he or she & I will agree on how cool the stuff is at the museum, even if we don’t agree about many other matters of consequence.

Rest assured, he says, he still views the tea party in “very negative” moral and political terms, but they’re better read than he thought. I don’t know why he’s surprised, though: One of the very first major media polls conducted back in 2010, when the movement was coalescing, found even at the time that tea partiers are wealthier and better educated than the population at large. TPers are in the first column here, then “all respondents,” and then the difference between them:

ed

Go figure that people who have more education will do better on science questions. Don’t forget either that tea partiers skew older, and older Americans may have absorbed more science in their reading over time than younger ones have. Pew Research flagged that as a partial explanation, in fact, back in April 2012 when it found that Republicans outperformed Democrats on average in a test of political knowledge. And while I don’t have data handy to support this, I’d guess that voters who are politically active generally, wherever they lie on the ideological spectrum, are probably better educated (even if self-educated) on average than the rest of the population. If you’re engaged deeply with political ideas, you’re probably engaged with other types of ideas too. If you’re reading widely about news and politics, you’re probably reading about unrelated subjects in your intellectual travels. I stumble across interesting science news all the time in putting together “Headlines,” for instance, not because I’m hunting for it but because I’ll spot it on a site that I happen to be visiting for political coverage. Maybe that bleed-over effect was different (or, rather, less pronounced) before the information age but now, if you’re surfing around on news and political sites, stories on far-flung subjects are almost impossible to avoid. I’d bet lefty activists also tend to skew a tiny bit higher than the population in science knowledge than the rest of the population for that same reason. A news junkie’s a news junkie, even one who specializes.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).

“All I know is what I read on crappy websites and newspapers.”

That MIGHT be your problem Pallie!

itsspideyman on October 18, 2013 at 4:45 PM

I don’t know why he’s surprised, though: One of the very first major media polls conducted back in 2010, when the movement was coalescing, found even at the time that tea partiers are wealthier and better educated than the population at large.

There’s been a persistent meme, that the Republicans have been enthusiastically spreading along with the MSM, that the “Tea Party” is primarily a social conservative movement that is made of poorly educated religious fanatics.

Heck, these assertions take place all the time, right here in Hot Air’s comments section, when the Republican leadership’s supporters assert that Tea Partiers are just too dumb and dull-witted to understand the process of government and the complex game of ten dimensional chess being played by “our betters” in Washington.

Doomberg on October 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM

As Taranto points out today, it’s a great example of the Pauline Kael effect.

Drained Brain on October 18, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Example of the understanding of facts by loon liberal commie Democrats.

They fear CO2, a plant food.

Example of the understanding of conservative right wing zellots they check on the facts on CO2 at http://www.wattsupwiththat.com/

Just the facts are all you need.

Lies kill.

Facts live.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 18, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Soon … “Chris Matthews claims results and Yale professor racist”.

darwin on October 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Heck, these assertions take place all the time, right here in Hot Air’s comments section, when the Republican leadership’s supporters assert that Tea Partiers are just too dumb and dull-witted to understand the process of government and the complex game of ten dimensional chess being played by “our betters” in Washington.

They actually think they’re playing chess, when they’re actually playing checkers with a few pieces missing. Cruz and Lee were the ones playing chess, and since they can’t see what the true end game is, the “smartest guys in the room” won’t get it until it’s too late for many of them.

TXUS on October 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Dan, just because you’re a Yalie doesn’t make you smart. You sound just like the British did in the late 1770′s. Keep up the good work, you and all your leftist/RINO buddies. What comes next may surprise you even more….

HomeoftheBrave on October 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

We’re better-looking, too.

SailorMark on October 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

The average Tea Partier knew years in advance the economic and political consequences of ObamaCare. Leftists are still living in a fantasy world despite the harsh truth becoming reality daily. A study like this is just stating the obvious.

NotCoach on October 18, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Liberals are smarter because they know that Bradley Manning is a woman.

sentinelrules on October 18, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Via the Independent Journal Review, I meant to post this yesterday but got sidetracked by the Healthcare.gov Chernobyl.

No fair combining these massive disasters. And here, one disaster would best be solved by encasing it and all that caused it in concrete. The other happened in the Ukrainian SSR.

Happy Nomad on October 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.

I kind of understand where he’s coming from. I find that I rarely interact with liberals since I graduated college and gave up ordering fast food…

nextgen_repub on October 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

I’d prefer to see the same analysis with History as the subject.

Really, whats more important?

Knowing the distance from Earth to the Sun,

or

Knowing that governments who have no regard for simple economics run their countries into disaster?

BobMbx on October 18, 2013 at 5:04 PM

HAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hotair Eyeball news is Live at Dumbsh*t Gulch to talk
with LibFree, Brayazz, Lostsomewhere, Seven Seas, Verbalcare,
Squid Gizzard, No Facts Needed, to see their reaction to this.

ToddPA on October 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

If anyone ever asks if you’re a member of the TP (or anything, frankly) demand that they FIRST define what they mean.
Hilarity can ensue, trust me !

pambi on October 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

. . . and obviously much more intelligent than a bus load of brain impaired leftists.

rplat on October 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Geeze Louise, who would have ever thought that citizens concerned about the road their government is hurdling down, who have actually read the constitution, who know that there are three branches of government, who know that the United States is not a democracy but is governed as a constitutional republic of states, just might, might be able to comprehend some science beyond what is involved in setting up a moonshine still in their hillbilly shacks!

can_con on October 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

“Well, those TeaBugger college grads probably all went to Bob Jones or Brigham Young… or ITT Technical Institute! (snicker, snicker)”
-libs/proggies

Marcola on October 18, 2013 at 5:19 PM

If Dan Kahan found that tea-partiers are better educated than the general population, he might start wondering…why?

Tea partiers (Taxed Enough Already) basically believe that they can do what they need for themselves more cheaply and efficiently than the government can, and they resent government taking their money to do things worse than they can do for themselves.

Highly educated people tend to have analytical minds, and try to use their brains and common sense to solve problems, instead of the emotional response of demanding a handout from the government. So that educated, clear-thinking people will be more likely to join a movement that stresses self-reliance and saving money than the beggar-thy-neighbor-the-taxpayer approach of liberals and big-government advocates.

As the saying goes, if you’re liberal and over 40, you have no brains. Which is why intelligent people over 40 tend to join the Tea Party.

Steve Z on October 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

You mean Gender Studies is not a real major? Who knew.

reddevil on October 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.

Because there isn’t such a thing as a “Tea Party”

What the left dismisses as “tea baggers” are really small government fiscal conservatives. But who is going to object to that? So they become hard-right operatives. From there you demonize your opponents.

Hitler had the Jews. Obama and John McCain have supporters of small government.

Happy Nomad on October 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Meh. I consider all these polls that focus on particular groups (FNC viewers, CNN viewers, libs, conservatives, tea partiers, etc.) to be suspect. You’ve got geniuses and dummies in every crowd.

Erich66 on October 18, 2013 at 5:23 PM

HAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hotair Eyeball news is Live at Dumbsh*t Gulch to talk
with LibFree, Brayazz, Lostsomewhere, Seven Seas, Verbalcare,
Squid Gizzard, No Facts Needed, to see their reaction to this.

ToddPA on October 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Don’t forget Pablo Scummy. It’s been around of late.

Thomas More on October 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM

HAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hotair Eyeball news is Live at Dumbsh*t Gulch to talk
with LibFree, Brayazz, Lostsomewhere, Seven Seas, Verbalcare,
Squid Gizzard, No Facts Needed, to see their reaction to this.

ToddPA on October 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

You also forgot bradky and long lost gumbey. Part of the HotAirTroll-10

oldroy on October 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM

The earth is flat and cold. Brrrrrr…….

Bmore on October 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Yale survey: Average tea partier has better science comprehension than general population

I’ll wager tea partiers have a much better comprehension of history too.

jix on October 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM

The earth is flat and cold. Brrrrrr…….

Bmore on October 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

But of course.
In fact just this week didn’t we celebrate the demise of that evil genocidal maniac Columbus – falling off the edge of the earth during his misguided attempt to find and enslave new people, alas, never to be heard of again….

dentarthurdent on October 18, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Kahan is one of those flaming liberals that Reagan spoke about. “They think they know so much, but so much of what they ‘know’ simply isn’t true.”

GarandFan on October 18, 2013 at 6:36 PM

There was a study a couple of years ago that found the Conservatives dramatically outstripped liberals on their understanding of economics.

http://dailycapitalist.com/2010/06/09/do-liberals-understand-economics-better-than-conservatives/

kirkbride on October 18, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Nice to see this. My observation has been the most anti-science group has been the left. For them, as in so many things, they chose what fits their narrative and the rest can go hang. That’s the reason they hang onto AGW so tenaciously.

Quartermaster on October 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM

I love science, logic and reason and have striven to bring a similar analytical approach to my commentary about political, fiscal and social trends over the years.

FloatingRock on October 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I wonder what would happen if he asked the same questions of politicians and their staffers in general, then liberal and conservative politicians.

talkingpoints on October 18, 2013 at 7:16 PM

But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.

He must be hanging around with a bunch of stupes

I passed the Mensa test. Does that count?

If I ever meet him at, say, the Museum of Science in Boston, or the Chabot Space and Science Museum in Oakland, or the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago I will try to speak to him at his level. Personally, I avoid science museums because most of the schtick is trite, written for non scientists.

He is probably there to observe the other half.

Could he the guy who filched my copies of the Feynman Lecture on Physics? I had the old large volumes. Could never figure out who would want them. Might be worth hitting the museums to locate him. Should be easy. I usually look for signs, like Starbucks dribble on the collar, or granola rash

entagor on October 18, 2013 at 7:26 PM

But…but… I live in a fly-over state… and I moved there on purpose… and the leftists like to call us ‘slope forehead, knuckle dragging, Neanderthals’ and the president called everyone who disagrees with him on Climate Change a ‘flat Earther’…surely the erudite, effete, elitists of the LEFT can’t be wrong. Just ask them.

thatsafactjack on October 18, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I’ve been playing over at Mediaite today, and boy howdy do those folks hate the Tea Party. And they are so eloquent.

Cindy Munford on October 18, 2013 at 7:38 PM

The earth is flat and cold. Brrrrrr…….

Bmore on October 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Aahh…but it won’t always be cold, you know.

Gorbull Wormening…For The Win!!

[Not too much we can do about it being flat, though.]

/s

Solaratov on October 18, 2013 at 7:43 PM

And economics too!

WryTrvllr on October 18, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Heys PROGS!

You can’t build the Matrix in the USA with a population of Neos, Trinities and Morpheuses.

Smash the Matrix!
Paul/Walker 2016
Walker/Paul 2016

RED PILL ….All…the….way!!!

KirknBurker on October 18, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Oh for crying out loud. He’s a sociologist. Who cares WHAT he thinks.

http://io9.com/5855733/psychologist-admits-to-faking-dozens-of-scientific-studies

This guy also doesn’t know any tea party types.

WryTrvllr on October 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM

I meant to post this yesterday but got sidetracked by the Healthcare.gov Chernobyl.

That’s funny right there!

Go figure that people who have more education will do better on science questions. Don’t forget either that tea partiers skew older, and older Americans may have absorbed more science in their reading over time than younger ones have.

Maybe so…but I think that TEA Party types are more logical and result-driven. Not likely to think along the lines of “Well, it should be that way!” but rather “This works, but that doesn’t.”

Except for the “climate change” chiselers and tree huggers, I believe most scientists and engineers are like that. They accept the way things are rather than what would be nice.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 18, 2013 at 8:38 PM

I put my pants on.

TfromV on October 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM

AP, I love how you’re ratcheting up the terms for the ObamaCare disaster. “Train wreck” (hat tip Max Baucus) doesn’t begin to cover it anymore. After all, a train wreck is limited to the track area.

Apocalypse was good…I think you used that earlier this week. Chernobyl made me smile. This goes on, you’re going to need some new terms, though.

We’re depending on you, AP. So bring that snarky goodness writing to this schandenfreudetastic ObamaCare disaster. :-)

Grace_is_sufficient on October 19, 2013 at 4:53 AM

Did you forget the Movie, “China Syndrome”? You would be surprised how many people believe flames could come out of a cooling tower. The colleges and universities are taking up the slack the high schools don’t teach. Check the educational history and be surprised the freshman that need reading and comprehension skills before they enter the colleges and universities. The rubber rooms in the NYC school system are a fact along with teachers needing a certificate to teach and with it they can teach any subject. Just about the time I’m giving up on our youth I meet a student speaking three languages and pursuing a degree in foreign marketing with excellent grades. I love it when that happens.

mixplix on October 19, 2013 at 5:32 AM

All I know is what I read on crappy websites and newspapers.”

That MIGHT be your problem Pallie!

itsspideyman on October 18, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Oh I am sure it is, I have read poems on washroom stall walls that have more credibility and integrity than most articles in New York Slimes or Washington Compost *hattip ML*

cableguy615 on October 19, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Gorbull Wormening…For The Win!!

[Not too much we can do about it being flat, though.]

/s

Solaratov on October 18, 2013 at 7:43 PM

You did not get the memo…due to this past unusually cool summer and few actual humid hot days, we are calling it climate change this year..

cableguy615 on October 19, 2013 at 9:24 AM

I guess this is an unscientific study of how unscientific people are.

virgo on October 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM