Poll: Americans distrust academics

In an interview somewhere (sorry, away from my books) Foucault discusses the role of the public intellectual.

In a new poll by Zogby Interactive, 9,464 adults were surveyed on their opinions of academics and tenure, and the results show an overall distrust of professors. More than 58% of respondents thought that political bias was “somewhat” or “very serious” in the classroom. About 40% thought it “very serious.”

But the results were sharply divided:

There are sharp divisions by party lines (73.3 percent of Republicans view the problem as very serious, while only 6.7 percent of Democrats do), gender (46.8 percent of men view the problem as very serious, compared to 32.1 percent of women) religion (57.9 percent of those who are born again view the problem as very serious, while only 17.6 percent of Jews do), and those who shop at Wal-Mart (56.7 percent of those who shop there weekly believe the problem is very serious, while only 17.6 percent of those who never do think that).

Inside HigherEd notes that a poll last year by the AAUP found similar results, but that people were more worried about binge drinking and college costs than political bias.

There are some problems with the poll however, as it did not measure the relative strength of the opposition compared to other issues, nor did it define tenure.

Still, one obvious conclusion is that getting rid of the “tenured radicals” would be a reasonably popular step with the American public.

3 Responses

  1. Would love to see that citation to Foucault’s lecture on the role of the public intellectual…

    Still, ‘glad’ to see that binge drinking is a larger concern than bias in academia.

  2. Love the Wal-Mart addition to the poll…

  3. […] bipartisanship (I’m thinking of statements coming out of Capitol Hill), and in light of the poll findings I posted yesterday about American’s distrust of political bias in the university, you might be justified in […]

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