Skip to main content
Fall 2012
Print Bookmark and Share

Around the Quad

The Voting Public


Every four years, the differences between the U.S. political parties are thrown into sharp relief thanks to the presidential elections. Several CALS faculty members are doing work that explores the differences, and at least one similarity, within the voting public.

VOTEJonathon Schuldt, assistant professor of communication, notes that ideological worldview is a more robust predictor of climate change belief than level of education or knowledge about the issue. For Democrats, more education typically predicts increased belief; for Republicans, more education sometimes predicts decreased belief.

VOTESchuldt also found that while 86.9% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans believe ‘global warming’ is real, the opinion gap was dramatically reduced when the concept was presented as ‘climate change’ (86.4% of Democrats and 60.2% of Republicans).

VOTEA recent study by professor of development sociology Tom Hirschl and professor of biological statistics and computational biology James Booth reported that the influence of religion in presidential voting has increased over the last 30 years. The effect was particularly strong among upper-income white voters but not working-class whites or minority voters, as is popularly thought. Biblical literalists now lean even more strongly Republican, while secular individuals have become more strongly Democrat.

VOTEJeff Hancock, associate professor of communication, found that Democrats are more likely to be upset about leaving their cell phone behind than Republicans (25% to 17%), while Republicans are more concerned with leaving their wallet behind than Democrats (83% to 75%).

VOTEHas Hancock found the elusive common ground for liberals and conservatives? In both groups, 20% report checking their phone within five minutes of waking up and about 30% admit to sleeping with their phone in their bed.