Tea Party Supporters More Scientifically Literate

From IJ Review:

Yale Professor’s Surprising Discovery: Tea Party Supporters More Scientifically Literate

Yale Law professor Dan M. Kahan was conducting an analysis of the scientific comprehension of various political groups when he ran into a shocking discovery: tea party supporters are slightly more scientifically literate than the non-tea party population.

When composing histograms of the scientific inference abilities of liberals and conservatives, he discovered that those who described themselves as tea party supporters came out pretty well, based on National Science Foundation standards of evaluation:


The shift to the right on the gray columns represents a positive correlation between tea party members and generally higher scientific test scores. The r=0.05 is not a drastically higher score, but the findings are statistically significant to p=.05. In other words, tea party members appear to be slightly, but solidly more scientifically literate than non-tea party members.

In fact, tea party members tend to be more scientifically literate than other self-described conservatives, who have slightly negative scores, overall. These findings should give both liberal and GOP establishment types pause over their caricatures of tea party constituents.

Remarkable was the professor’s reaction on the Yale Law “Cultural Cognition Project” website:

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.

Good for you, professor, for remaining open-minded. That’s what fruitful research is all about. It turns out that even the New York Times reported in 2010 that tea party supporters are wealthier and more college-educated than the general public.

A mainstream media smear campaign of ordinary citizens has convinced much of the general public that members of the tea party are uneducated, backwards dupes of big moneyed interests who do not comprehend what is going on, whether on scientific matters like manmade global warming, or on political matters like fiscal issues. Maybe they’re just ahead of the curve?


This was too easy – compared to lefties, everyone’s a genius.


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10 Responses to Tea Party Supporters More Scientifically Literate

  1. Mrs AL says:

    LOL, Kathy. Your comment sums things up very well. At least I am a conservative. haha

  2. Clyde says:

    Good post, Kathy. Proof positive even a blind squirrel can find an acorn.

  3. Garnet92 says:

    How I do love it when the left’s “Basic Truths of Life” are found to be crap. Years ago, I found an exhaustive scientific study of the IQs of Bush (W), Kerry and Gore. The “popular wisdom” of the media was that Dubya was the dumbass of the group and Kerry was the smartest – with Gore still being smarter than Dubya. The study (which used college and military exams and test scores) found that Dubya (likely) had a higher IQ than Kerry and about 2 points below that of Gore.

  4. Conservatives are much more likely to have graduated high school in the first place.

  5. Hardnox says:

    Kahan is an uber-lefty. It must have killed him to release that information. No doubt he was looking for different results. Imagine how accurate the info would have been had the study not been slanted.

  6. Pingback: Sorry Conservatives, Science Says You’re Stupid - 'Nox & Friends