Partisan Affiliation in Political Science: Insights from Florida and North Carolina

Partisan Affiliation in Political Science: Insights from Florida and North Carolina

by Lonna Rae Atkeson, University of New Mexico and Andrew J. Taylor, North Carolina State University

Research suggests that the professoriate is highly skewed toward Democrats.  We examine this question by using administrative data to identify the party and voting habits of political scientists in North Carolina and Florida, two competitive states that publicly provide their voter registration files.  We find that, 62% of registered political science faculty are Democrats, 63% in Florida and 60% in North Carolina, and about 9% are Republicans, 13% in Florida and 6% in North Carolina, a 6.9-to-1 ratio. By comparison, in Florida and North Carolina Democrats make up 37% and 39% of registered voters and Republicans make up 35% and 30%, respectively. We also find that senior faculty and women are more likely to identity as Democratic than junior faculty and men and minorities are more likely to register as unaffiliated.  However, an examination of which party unaffiliated primary choose to vote in North Carolina suggests the unaffiliated are more Democratic than Republican, suggesting that partisanship may be underestimated.  Given our results our exploratory, we recommend a broader census of political science faculty to assess ideology diversity in the discipline.

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