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Does Graduate School Make People Statist?

education_voting (click to enlarge)

The above info-graphic comes from an exit poll conducted on Election Night 2012. It shows a fascinating trend in voting behavior broken down by education level. As you can see, voters without a college education favored President Obama over Romney 52.4% to 46%. Among voters with some college education, the vote was split nearly 50/50. Voters who had earned a college degree favored Romney by the same margin as those without a college education favored Obama. It would seem that as voters advance through post-secondary education, they become more likely to vote Republican.

But look on. Voters who remained in school after earning an undergraduate degree broke sharply in favor of Obama. Their support for the incumbent president was even more pronounced than that among voters with no college education.

What happened? What could account for such a dramatic reversal in what otherwise appears to be a trend indicating post-secondary education fosters Republican tendencies? You tell me.

My wife was a graduate student, studying counseling psychology at a university in the Midwest. Leftist ideology was an article of faith among the faculty and student cohort alike. Our status as Republican-voting Christian conservatives was regarded with a mixture of revulsion and morbid curiosity. I never thought to pick anyone's brain about why they voted the way they did. But if I were forced to speculate in hindsight, I would say the university environment fosters the sense that any social problem can be micromanaged by a cadre of elite geniuses.