Latter-day Saint College Students Are Very Republican

I think I have mentioned before that I am a huge Ryan Burge fan. Ryan Burge is an Associate Professor of something or another at some college or another, but the point is that he is the preeminent go-to for journalists on data visualizations and insights into the sociology of religion in the United States. He recently posted a graph from the very large FIRE survey of college students showing political partisanship by religion, and it looks like our college students are the most Republican of any other religious group.

Now, a few things. First, he didn’t formally report the significance for every pairwise comparison, so strictly speaking it’s unclear if we can say that we are #1, but still, the sample size is large enough that I think we’re okay assuming that we’re highly Republican.

Second, he groups all “Protestants” together, but it would be interesting to see how we land when compared to, say, self-identified evangelicals or Southern Baptists, etc. However, since the FIRE survey isn’t focused on religion I doubt they got that granular.

Still, overall I’m surprised since I thought that some of our rumored anti-Trumpism (relatively speaking, as a traditionally conservative religion) would hedge our Republican identification somewhat, but I suspect that, for all the problems pushing us away from the Republican Party, it’s not like there aren’t any barriers to Latter-day Saints flocking to the political left either.



10 comments for “Latter-day Saint College Students Are Very Republican

  1. 45% at least lean republican. 39% lean democrat and 16% declared independent. Not even majority are republican. Lower than I would have guessed based on voting in Utah and Idaho. I would interpret this result differently than you do.

  2. That’s fair, I should have modified it: “Latter-day Saint College Students Are Very Republican *Compared to Other College Students.*” College students are typically more left, so within that context that’s “Very Republican,” even though nominally it looks more even.

  3. Or you could title it: “4% more lds college students are Republican than their Protestant peers.”

    Or you could title it “Minority of LDS college students are Republicans.”

    Both are more descriptive of the actual results than “are very Republican”

    Although based on my own experience with Mormon youth I would have thought your original title would have strong support from the data. That hypothesis though is not supported by this one graph.

  4. I presume if “Protestants” weren’t a combination of evangelicals and mainline Protestants we would not have the most Republican college students. I’m also going to guess that outside of Utah and Idaho, at least a plurality of LDS college students lean Democratic.

    The days when you could comfortably assume everyone in the pews votes the way you do are over.

  5. Agreed: the title of the blog post is not at all what the graph shows.

    Yes, your title should have been: “LDS College Students Are A Little More Republican Compared to Other College Students.” (No surprise.)

    Or, “LDS College Students Are Much Less Republican Than Their Parents — But Still A Little More Republican Compared to Other College Students.” (Again, no surprise.)

    Or, “LDS College Students Are About As Republican As Their Protestants and Catholic Peers”

    In other words, you need to change your blog title. It’s very misleading.

  6. I wonder how many in that middle 16% group are independent just because they feel like there are people in their family whose heads would implode if they registered as D, i.e. they really lean left but can’t be forthright about it because it would cause problems with their parents or grandparents, etc.

  7. It’s more likely that they just don’t feel like a good fit with either major political party, which is the largest group of American voters these days.

  8. But not the largest group of college students based on this survey unless you count respondents that lean Republican or lean democrat as independents.

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