This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
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.