Money Talks: Political Science Department Favored Obama

![Stanford Political Science Department faculty members' donations to Barack Obama's presidential campaign](/content/uploads/PoliSci_Political_Donations3.xls.jpg)
Stanford Political Science Department faculty members' donations to Barack Obama's presidential campaign
Data from the Center for Responsive Politics’ website, opensecrets.org, confirms that the Stanford Political Science Department showed an overwhelming preference for Obama over McCain. According to the data, eleven PoliSci faculty members contributed $18,950 to Obama, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Moveon.org, and a Democratic congressional candidate. Of that sum, $17,950 went directly to Obama. Not a single professor contributed to John McCain or any allied committees.

The research was done by searching through the Political Science website for the names of faculty listed as “Professors,” “Associate Professors,” “Assistant Professors,” and “Courtesy Professors.” Among notable donors were former University President Gerhard Casper and Pulitzer Prize winner Jack Rakove. Casper contributed $3,800 to the Obama campaign, while Rakove chipped in $500.

While the majority of professors did not contribute—or, at least, did not contribute the minimum $200 that makes the donation part of public record—the overwhelming balance in Obama’s favor raises questions about the department’s ability to foster fair and open debate in the classroom. Also, as the Stanford Daily reported earlier, 90% of Stanford students said they voted for Obama in on-campus exit polls. Whether professors’ views influence students’ political preferences is the subject for more study, but, at a minimum, there seems to be a correlation between the two. Meanwhile, it makes one wonder where a conservative political science student is supposed to find a mentor in such an environment.

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