Statistical Correlations of Education and Voting by State

I really enjoy researching statistics.  Statistics don’t lie; while the results can be rhetorically used in many ways, as statistical results stand by themselves they are very simple and honest.

So, I saw this picture, created by

Frankly…it pissed me off.  I don’t like when numbers are used that way, to make some rhetorical point.  The title of their article is Fox News accidentally insults the intelligence of every Mitt Romney voter in the country.  That’s just annoying.  Anything that starts out with finger-pointing mocking of opposition is going to get me into a bit of a tizzy.

First of all, I really didn’t like that it chose a small data grouping!  Why can I only see the Top/Bottom Ten?  What about other elections besides this last one?  As a man who loves information, this was like dangling a piece of bacon in front of a lion while the guy holding it eats a Porterhouse.  I was out for blood.

And blood, I got.  I went and found the entire ranking for each state (plus D.C.), for the people living there with high school degrees, undergraduate degrees, and graduate/doctoral degrees.  Then, I analyzed the results from the last four elections for the US Presidency.  The statistical correlations are so damning, it’s unbelievable.  If I didn’t know it was true, from researching it, I’d think I was making it all up.

But I’m not.

It’s actually even worse than that picture by HappyPlace.

Across the board, the states with the lowest percentages of diploma-holding citizens vote for the Republican Presidential Candidate and the states with the highest percentages of diploma-holding citizens vote for the Democratic Presidential Candidate.

The top states for high school graduates averages around 90% of the population holding degrees – at best, the odds are even, in terms of how they vote.  Once you get into the top states for undergraduate/postgraduate degrees, you see a shift – there is an overwhelming likelihood of those states voting Blue.  And the bottom states, which have an average of 10% fewer degrees for each polled field, almost exclusively vote Red.

Take a look at my raw data.


It gets better.

I believe the words you are looking for are:

“Holy crap!”

And I’m not pulling this out of my butt!

This information is from the US Census and simply looking at which way states voted for POTUS.

Now I am not naive enough to think that the level of education is the sole deciding factor in how people vote…but…from this data, that’s certainly the way it appears!  I’m a pretty smart guy, and I have no idea how to interpret it any different.

2 thoughts on “Statistical Correlations of Education and Voting by State

  1. This certainly very interesting information. There does seem to be a correlation between education and voting. I must say that after many years in business, education does not always correlate to common sense or good decision making. That being said it is interesting to note the trend.

    Unfortunately, we are able to ascertain the education level of the people that voted, we can only surmise that on average the people that voted mirror the education level in the states. That would seem to be a flaw in the use of raw numbers to extrapolate to the conclusion.

    It would also be interesting to understand how people vote based upon economic levels. One would assume, from the “truths” we have been told, that the poor would vote for Democrats. Yet, that would seem to be in conflict with a belief that income is directly related to education.

    While I am not accusing you of this, always remember, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure”.

  2. Pingback: Statistical Correlations of GDP Per Capita, Welfare, and Voting by State « jsphfrtz's weblog

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