This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
One thing that has intrigued me over the years is how many Greenies are there in the academic community? The amount of Green-biased junk churned out by academics suggests to me that there are quite a lot of them. An answer to that question was provided in the specific case of the UK a few days before the 2015 General Election when I noticed an article in the Independent about a survey for the voting intention of university staff:
The results for the survey were:
Labour 46%, Green 22%, Conservatives 11%, Lib Dems 9%, SNP 6%, UKIP 0.4%
The results in the General Election for the UK general public in terms of vote percentages were:
Labour 30.4%, Green 3.8%, Conservatives 36.8%, Lib Dems 7.9%, SNP 4.7%, UKIP 12.6%
So the views of the more left leaning parties are over-represented in academia in comparison with the general public by factors of 1.5 for Labour, 1.1 for the Lib Dems, 1.3 for the SNP, and a by hefty factor of 5.8 for the Green party.
The views of the more right leaning parties are under-represented in academia in comparison with the general public by factors of 3.3 for the Conservatives, and by a very hefty factor of 31.5 for UKIP.
Another thing to note is that the Green party in the UK is not exactly a moderate party as this Daily Mail article explains:
I think a figure of 22% Green party support amongst UK university staff is pretty disturbing, if like me you go along with the Michael Crichton-type view that environmentalism is more of a religion than a political movement. It is possible to be a religious academic, such as the great English scientists Isaac Newton and Michael Faraday, because the more conventional religions have recognised the idea of there being a secular world that is distinct from the religious or mystical world. But in the Green religion, the religious world is intertwined with the secular world, which heavily compromises objective thinking. If Greenies have managed to achieve that level of infiltration in universities, this may be the beginning of the end for the university system.
I also looked around for some information on the voting intention of UK university students in the 2015 General Election (nobody seems to collect statistics on how a group of people actually voted, it's always the voting intention I'm afraid). I managed to find this document from "High Fliers Research":
The voting intention for final year students averaged out over 30 leading UK universities for the 2015 General Election was:
Labour 31%, Green 25%, Conservatives 31%, Lib Dems 6%, SNP 3%, UKIP 1%
Out of the 30 universities, the Conservatives were the leading party in 14, Labour in 11, the Green party in 2, the SNP in 2 and Sinn Fein in 1.
So it looks like university students are not as left wing as the academics. Their vote percentages for most parties are reasonably similar to the general public, with the noteworthy exception of the Green party where university students, like the academics, seem to be about six times more likely to be a Greenie than the general public is.
The highest level of support for individual parties out of the 30 universities was: 48% for Labour at Liverpool, 35% for the Greens at Leeds, 50% for the Conservatives at Loughborough, 13% for the Lib Dems at Imperial College London, 43% for SNP at Strathclyde, and 5% for UKIP at Aston [things have changed a bit since the 1970s if Aston is now considered to be a leading university].
The 2015 General Election is I think pretty good for giving a good idea what the true Green vote is in the UK. The complicating factor which usually applies in UK elections is that a lot of the Green vote has tended to go to the Lib Dems, but the Lib Dem vote has now collapsed back to its core vote after their participation in the Coalition government for the last five years [I still can't believe that the Lib Dems went into a coalition without negotiating any significant concession on electoral reform]. The widely predicted hung parliament situation would also boost voting for the Green party I think. So I reckon the true Green vote in the UK is about 4% of the general public, but about six times higher than that in universities, the latter figure not boding well for the future of the country.
Good Info Dave .. maybe you should share on Bishop-hill.net
"nobody seems to collect statistics on how a group of people actually voted, it's always the voting intention I'm afraid"
No Dave, I think in the next opinion poll they will ask peoples jobs and also ask how they last voted.. but may not always release those details
- I propose another scenario.. the shaming effect.
The left/media have been so successful as smearing UKIP as "racist party" ..when I think its the least racist party.
So when the pretty girl interviewer asks the student guy his voting intention ..he just lies and says "Green, yeh green"
so all those intention figures might be out by miles.
Yes Stew, I agree that opinion pollsters do collect information on how people actually voted in the last election, and I believe they use it as a weighting factor for the results collected for voting intention, but as you say they don't tend to release that data.
I just noticed that the original article for voting intention of university staff in the 2015 General Election in "Times Higher Education" (THE) is not currently behind a paywall (though it may go behind a paywall in the future), and this gives more details:
It was an online survey with self-selected participants.
The percentage intending to vote Green in the 2015 General Election in eight broad disciplinary areas seems to have been, from the just about readable graphic:
Medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and health: 10%
Biological and physical sciences, mathematics: 18%
Engineering and technology: 29%
Arts and humanities: 30%
Social sciences: 29%
Business and law: 19%
Creative Arts: 43%
The article mentions the often quoted theory that the Conservative vote is low amongst academics as a sort of revenge for the Thatcher years, but that doesn't explain why another right-leaning party that has never been in government, UKIP, would be even more unpopular amongst academics.
Many people reading this thread might wonder how did the Greenies manage to achieve that level of infiltration (six times higher than the proportion of the general public) into the UK university system? A possible explanation for that is given in this article that appeared in Spiked online magazine, "The greening of the ivory towers" by James Woudhuysen, which refers to a recently issued report called "Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism":
Extract from the beginning of the Woudhuysen article:
"He was lanky, lantern-jawed, suave, decorated for his service in Vietnam. She was the wife of a senior Republican Party senator. They met briefly at the Earth Day rally in Washington, DC, in 1990, where he spoke. The next year, her husband died; the year after that, the two met again at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. By 1994 the two were married, with a family net worth that’s now estimated at $250million.
However Senator John Kerry and Teresa Heinz, head of the Heinz Family Foundation (assets: $117million), had already done something else together, in 1993. They had launched a nonprofit organisation, Second Nature, which set out to ‘create a sustainable society by transforming higher education’.
Today, the US is far from a sustainable society, and not just in the green sense. But, as shown in a new in-depth report from the National Association of Scholars (NAS), entitled Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism, Kerry, Heinz and a whole rogues’ gallery of elite figures have, over nearly 25 years, succeeded in transforming much of the curriculum and the practice of US higher education. Indeed, they have significantly altered America’s national debate about climate change.
As the report notes, the sustainability movement ‘has become a major force in American life’, but has ‘so far escaped serious critical scrutiny’. The NAS’s report gives sustainability just that treatment. It incisively and brilliantly interrogates the Green movement’s ideological powerhouse – the university campus. This is where the movement ‘gets its voice of authority’, and where it ‘commands the attention of the young’."
The NAS report is available on this link:
John Kerry is a leading US politician, most famous in the UK for standing as the Democrat candidate in the US Presidential election of 2004 (where he was defeated by George Bush). Anything that gets established in US universities tends to permeate its way into the universities of other developed countries, particularly English speaking countries, so if there's a sustainablity movement in US universities we probably get it as well in the UK.