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College students of certain majors more likely to vote than their peers

May 31, 2016 Updated: May 31, 2016 at 1:09 pm
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College students of certain majors more likely to vote than others, according to a Tufts University study of voting patterns released Tuesday.

Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life analyzed voting records of 7.4 million students at 783 higher education institutions across the nation. The information came from the 2012 Presidential election.

Education teaching majors voted at the highest rate in 2012, at 55 percent, surpassing the overall rate of 45 percent among all students.

The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE)  also found that students studying the humanities and health professions voted above the average rate.

Students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects were lagging in voting habits. In fact, voting rates among students in the STEM fields fell behind other disciplines by as much as a 20-point margin. Students in the engineering and mathematics/statistics fields voted at the lowest rate: 35 percent.

Among participating institutions, turnout varied considerably by region, ranging from a low of 39 percent in the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) to a high of 55 percent in the Plains (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).

Overall in 2012, student voting rates at four-year institutions were slightly higher than at two-year institutions, though there was essentially no difference between private and public colleges and universities.

Developing civic engagement in early adulthood often becomes a lifelong habit, according to Nancy Thomas, director of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, which ran the NSLVE study. She said in a news release the fact that education and humanities majors vote at significantly higher rates than their peers in STEM disciplines has both policy and political implications.

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