According to data compiled in a new study, 9 of the 10 least educated states in America also voted Republican in the last presidential election.
24/7 Wall St used educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau to rank all 50 states in terms of higher education level. The results were not surprising to those who pay attention to our national discourse.
All ten of the most educated states in the United States voted for President Obama in 2012. The ten most educated states were Minnesota, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, Massachusetts. Only one of the ten least educated states (Nevada) voted for President Obama in 2012.
The ten least educated states were:
1). West Virginia
A state being on the least educated list does not mean that all of the people who live there are not smart. Just as residing in a state is one of the most educated does not make an entire population brilliant, being on the least educated list doesn’t make everyone in a state dumb. There are people of different educational levels in every state.
What the data does reveal is that the red and blue state divide is that the political decisions made by voters have real cultural impacts. Republican-governed states have adopted cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations while slashing education budgets as a standard policy. In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal created a budget hole through tax cuts for the wealthy that nearly wrecked the state’s university system. Cuts to public education are usually one of the first orders of business undertaken by newly elected Republican governors.
In a broader context, the Republican Party has transitioned into the party of belief. Republicans have stopped relying on facts to support their policies. There is a definite distrust of the public education system. Republicans run their states based on a belief in conservative ideology, so it isn’t surprising that states that support a political party that has decided to create its own reality, have lower education rates.
There are lots of Democrats in these red states, and partisan affiliation is not a measure of intellect, but the policies that come with electing anti-education politicians have real consequences. Red states have lower percentages of educated people. The fact that these states also support Republicans in presidential elections is not a coincidence.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association