California is a Blue State. The San Francisco Bay Area is Dark Blue. Stanford University, where your friendly proprietor has worked and lived for more than 40 years, is Deep Dark Blue.
By acreage, Stanford is the second largest university in the world. From its founding in 1891, portions of its land have been used to construct housing for faculty and staff. Over 125 years, Stanford faculty and the University have built about 650 single-family homes, 250 condominiums, and 40 duplexes. (More construction is currently underway.)
Stanford currently has 2,153 faculty members and several dozen top administrators who are eligible to purchase a campus residence. Only about a thousand, 40%, live in the “faculty ghetto.” The other 60% are scattered about neighboring towns and suburbs (Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Jose, San Francisco, and others).
It’s possible to tabulate political party registration for on-campus faculty. For those living elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, teams of researchers would have to scour voter registration lists numbering hundreds of thousands of people to match names with Stanford faculty.
California allows voters to register as “no preferred party.” NPPs are able to vote in the party primaries, unless one or more parties specifically exclude them from a given primary election. About 20% of the on-campus faculty and staff are NPPs. In the June 7, 2016, primary, NPPs were eligible to vote in the Democrat, Libertarian, American Independence, and Green party primaries, but were excluded from the Republican primary.
California’s 2016 primary took place on June 7. Four precincts (Santa Clara County Precincts 2542, 2544, 2545, and 2546) circumscribe Stanford University. Precincts 2542 and 2544 consist almost exclusively of graduate and undergraduate student housing, many of whose residents have already left the campus for summer. Precinct 2545 consists solely of faculty/staff housing(F/S housing). Precinct 2546 includes both student and F/S housing. F/S housing is affectionately termed the “faculty ghetto.
On the morning of June 7 I visited the two precincts (2545 and 2546) that include faculty and staff to tabulate party registration. Although these precincts only encompass two-fifths of faculty members, it’s likely that their party registration mirrors that of the overall faculty (based on 40 years of personal observation.)
Here are the raw numbers as accurately as I could count them. F/S registered Republicans numbered 146 and registered Democrats 1,327. This works out to 10% Republican and 90% Democrat. Democrats outnumber Republicans nine to one. My forty years at Stanford indicates that about 80% of the NPPs vote Democrat in the general election.
Santa Clara County publishes election results by precinct. Here are the results:
Precinct 2545 (all F/S): Democrats 227 (94.0%), Republicans 14 (6.0%).
Precinct 2546 (F/S and students): Democrats 481 (93.8%), Republicans 32 (6.2%). Turnout 40.5%.
Precinct 2544 (all students): Democrats 444 (95.3%), Republicans 22 (4.7%). Turnout, 41.8%.
Precinct 2542 (all students): Democrats 325 (92.1%), Republicans 28 (7.9%). Turnout, 52.4%.
A higher proportion of Democrats turned out to vote than Republicans in the two F/S precincts based on party registration. A likely reason is that some campus Republicans are not enamored of Donald Trump, and other Republican candidates had ended their campaigns before California’s primary. Across the entire campus including all student housing, turnout was about 41%, 5 percentage points higher than the 35.83% turnout for all of Santa Clara County. Hillary Clinton won among Democrat voters in all four precincts. Trump likewise among Republican voters.
Stanford’s faculty routinely votes 30% to the left of the nation as a whole. For example, if a Democrat presidential candidate wins 55% of the popular vote, he (or she in November 2016) will receive about 85% of the faculty vote.
Faculty members, supported by statements from deans, the provost, and the president, insist that they do not bring their political views into the classroom. I can tell you from seminars and workshops in the social sciences and humanities I’ve attended that this claim is routinely violated.
The faculty need not worry about Republican faculty bringing their politics into the classroom. They are too few in number to mold student opinion. Moreover, many of them teach in the business school, not the social sciences, humanities, law, or education.
As I’ve written in previous posts, academics are a key element in the Academic Political Media Industrial Complex (APMIC). Stanford, the Ivies, elite liberal arts colleges, and leading state universities set the tone for political discourse throughout higher education in the United states. They instruct the K-12 teachers, the media, and the politicians. They impose and enforce “political correctness.” The antidote is not to be found among the minuscule share of Republican (conservative) professors. Perhaps this situation partly explains Trump’s popularity among Republican voters and the academy’s vigorous opposition to him.