Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Elementary school teachers' presidential votes match stated political leanings

Commenter James Donald is skeptical of GSS data showing that elementary school teachers are almost politically indistinguishable from the population at large (they are less moderate in their affiliations and lean slightly further to the right):
I find this data hard to believe. I think you will find that ninety percent of those self described "conservatives" vote democrat, and a good chunk of those "liberals" vote for obscure groupuscules like the greens, because they think that the democrats are conservative.
The GSS queries respondents on who they voted for in previous presidential elections. It is conceivable that at the state and local levels, where NEA campaign funding and electoral urgings are more acute, this occurs to some extent (though 90% is surely hyperbolic). But when it comes to who is occupying the White House, elementary school teachers vote close to how their political self-descriptions indicate they would.

Averaging voting behavior of the Presidential elections from 1992 to 2004 by elementary school teachers yields 50.8% supporting the Democrat, 43.8% the Republican, and 5.5% a third party candidate. Among the general electorate, 47.2% backed the Democrat, 44.2% the Republican, and 8.6% someone from a third party.

So it appears that elementary school teachers vote slightly more to the left than would be predicted by their stated personal sentiments, but not by much. It isn't difficult to imagine how teacher union 'propaganda' alone could convince a few waffly or generally apathetic teachers to vote for the Democrat because he's touted as being better for educators in this, that, and the other way, when they would've backed the Republican if paying attention.

GSS variables used: ISCO88(2331), PRES92, PRES96, PRES00, PRES04

16 comments:

Gruntled said...

Since elementary school teachers are more likely to be single women than the population at large, wouldn't the (unmarried) gender gap fully account for their slightly Democratic leaning?

Jack said...

Elementay school teachers are surely majority female. I don't know if they are more likely to be single than other women. Although I'm surprised they are not necessarily more liberal than the population at large, it does make some sense. Elementary teachers don't seem like they'd be liberal activists; they're mostly nice, caring girls with traditionally feminine traits. Many probably get married fairly young and have high numbers of children.

ironrailsironweights said...

Since elementary school teachers are more likely to be single women than the population at large, wouldn't the (unmarried) gender gap fully account for their slightly Democratic leaning?

Most elementary school teachers are women, but I don't know about the single part. Elementary school teachers are said to be a dime a dozen on sites like eHarmony and Match.com, so those who are single aren't necessarily content with staying that way :)

Peter

quimbus said...

"It isn't difficult to imagine how teacher union 'propaganda' alone could convince a few waffly or generally apathetic teachers to vote for the Democrat because he's touted as being better for educators in this, that, and the other way, when they would've backed the Republican if paying attention."

Is there a way to use the GSS data to see if conservatives among elementary teachers are less likely to vote?

James A. Donald said...

Well, I was wrong in my expectations that elementary school teachers lean well left - but they do not lean slightly to the right.

My interpretation of these results is that when they say they are conservative, they mean they are conservative relative to the political line that gets taught in elementary school.

Audacious Epigone said...

Among the elementary school teachers surveyed from 2000 to 2008, 83.9% are female. Among these women, 65.6% were currently married at the time they responded and only 13.5% had never been married (the remainder had previously been married but were widowed, divorced, or legally separated when surveyed). For females as a whole during that same period of time, 55.2% were married while 20.8% had never been so.

Re: female teachers being nice, traditionally feminine women, they are (or self-identify, at least) further to the right than just comparing elementary school teachers to the general population would lead one to assume. The party identification distribution for women teachers is 45.2% Republican, 12.5% independent, and 42.3% Democrat. For the general female population, it is 33.0% Republican, 20.2% independent, and 46.8% Democrat.

Quimbus,

There is a question about electoral participation in presidential elections that can be cross-referenced with the other responses here. The sample sizes are limiting, though. Among liberal elementary school teachers (n=26), 96.8% voted in the '04 election. Among moderates (n=50), 80.0% did. Among conservatives (n=40), 83.6% did. This suggests you're hunch is correct (the percentages all seem too high to me, though, given that electoral participation among the eligible public doesn't get much above the 50% mark. However, higher IQ is correlated with electoral participation, so it's conceivably representative).

David said...

Interesting.

ironrailsironweights said...

The high marriage rate for elementary school teachers may be part of the reason for their relative conservatism. AIUI, single women are notably more liberal than married women, and (relatively speaking) there aren't many single elementary school teachers.

Or perhaps that isn't the reason. One thing that pops up from the statistics is that the percentage of teachers who identify as Democrats isn't all that different from the regular population's. There instead are notably more Republicans and fewer independents. It sounds almost as if teachers tend to be highly polarized in their political views. I wonder why?

Peter

Steve Sailer said...

Interesting. Can you cross tab this by marriage and race?

Anonymous said...

Number one, elementary schoolteachers believe in society. Ergo, I'd expect any indicator of social compliance to be high (voting, no drugs, eventual marriage). You could extend that to political party membership (one or another metaexplanation of why society is good for us, either because George Washington or Barack Obama has the ideal blueprint)

Second, schoolteachers are on the receiving end of a heavy dose of liberal policy implementation. That has some anti-indoctrination effects.

Anonymous said...

This can't possibly be right. Everyone knows public schools are run exclusively by liberals to indoctrinate our kids with socialism.

Audacious Epigone said...

Steve,

See my comment above. Sample sizes are too small to look at non-whites.

Re: marriage, teachers who are have voted evenly in Presidential elections since '92: 47.7% for the Democrat, 47.2% for the Republican, and 5.1% for a third party. The unmarried a much more Democratic: 57.5% for the Democrat, 36.0% for the Republican, and 6.5% for a third party.

Anonymous said...

"This can't possibly be right. Everyone knows public schools are run exclusively by liberals to indoctrinate our kids with socialism."

This data doesn't prove such an impression unwarranted. Liberal teachers probably have fewer scruples about pushing their politics on the school children in their charge than conservative teachers.

Jack said...

I have elementary teachers in my family. They certainly aren't the type to be interested in ideologically influencing classes. I think that would be much more common in high school or college teachers. I think many elementary teachers are personally conservative relative to other educated women. Voting wise, it seems to be slightly so. The elementary teachers I know are family-oriented, probably culturally conservative people but who vote Democrat for financial reasons.

Audacious Epigone said...

Jack,

That explanation fits the data. Elementary school teachers self-identify as slightly more conservative than the broader population but vote slightly more Democratic than the rest of the population does, because that's the side that promises to butter their bread a little more thickly.

Anonymous said...

酒店打工

酒店兼職

台北酒店

打工兼差

酒店工作

酒店經紀

禮服酒店

酒店兼差

酒店

酒店PT

酒店上班

酒店喝酒

酒店消費

喝花酒

粉味

喝酒