College Guide


August 08, 2012 12:19 PM New Evidence of Bias Against Conservatives in Academia

By John Sides

From a new survey of social psychologists:

Just over 37 percent of those surveyed said that, given equally qualified candidates for a job, they would support the hiring of a liberal candidate over a conservative candidate. Smaller percentages agreed that a “conservative perspective” would negatively influence their odds of supporting a paper for inclusion in a journal or a proposal for a grant.

More here.  Apropos of this, here is a new article—sort of a “how-to” for conservative academics—by Robert Maranto and Matthew Woessner entitled “Diversifying the Academy: How Conservative Academics Can Thrive in Liberal Academia.”  (I think it is outside the paywall.)  Here is a previous post on Woessner’s research.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.


  • Objective Dem on August 08, 2012 10:08 PM:

    I think this posting is not only a waste of space but unnecessarily supports an invalid conservative viewpoint.

    John Sides cites one study which stands out because as the article states other studies have "rarely found evidence that left-leaning academics discriminate on the basis of politics." So now there is one study that shows a bias and it is treated as proof of the bias. I think Sides should pay attention to the majority of studies not the outlier or at least put it in context. That is what scientists do.

    Second, after I read the survey questions I could understand the response. I felt the questions create the perception that the colleague in question is a politicized person not an objective professional. And yes if I have to choose to pick between a politicized professional, I would choose the liberal over the conservative because as a rule the conservative worldview has become very anti-scientific (see comment above regarding treating an outlying study as proof).

    I'm disappointed in WM for publishing this post.

  • Crissa on August 09, 2012 5:57 AM:

    I'd like to point out there isn't a link to the article outside the paywall, either.

  • Snarki, child of Loki on August 09, 2012 7:58 AM:

    It makes a difference what part of academia you're talking about.

    This is a survey of "Social Psychologists".

    Given the public positions of conservatives, you'd probably find even more anti-conservative bias in such fields as Evolutionary Biology and Climatology.

    Or perhaps it would be more accurate to characterize the bias as "a bias against manifestly stupid adherence to ideology over demonstrable facts". Hard to see that as a "bad thing".

  • Objective Dem on August 09, 2012 11:03 AM:

    As an added comment, I went to college during the 1980s when liberal college professors were supposedly everywhere. As you might suspect politics never even came up in 98% of the classes. I did have an intro to sociology class where the professor was (brace yourself) a socialist. The only time in my entire college career where I thought the professor was pushing their own viewpoint and behaving inappropriately was with a conservative professor in a poly sci class.