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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at https://www.planetizen.com/user/63 and http://www.cnu.org/blog/194

There has been a table going around the Internet showing that the states with the fewest college graduates voted disproportionately for Romney.  Some people who should know better treat this table as evidence that Romney voters are mostly uneducated rubes.

This claim is misleading for two reasons.  First of all, as a logical matter it is fallacious.  Just because low-education state X voted for Romney does not mean that Romney voters are predominantly low-education; it might be that the most educated voters in state X voted for Romney, and might (in theory) even be the case that this is more true in state X than in a high-education state. For example, in low-education Mississippi, the most educated people actually voted for Romney in greater numbers than anyone else.

Second, it is partially (but only partially, I admit) contradicted by exit poll data.  The numbers are here, and what they show is: both the least educated and the most educated people voted for Obama.  At the one extreme, high school grads voted 51-48 for Obama.  (There are not enough high school dropouts in the electorate to even be noticed by exit polls).  At the other extreme, people with postgraduate degrees voted 55-42 for Obama.  But the people in the middle (that is, with college but not graduate degrees) voted 51-47 for Romney.

So even if you assume that educational credentials show intelligence (an assumption which is certainly open to debate, to say the least), then the smartest and dumbest people voted for Obama.

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