When Scott Walker joins the 2016 race next week, he will in one sense be a rare political bird: a candidate without a college degree. Should it matter to voters that he left Marquette in his junior year to take a job with the Red Cross? Probably not, asserts an analysis in Politico by Duke public policy professor Nick Carnes and University of Wisconsin political scientist Noam Lupu. "When we examined hard data on how politicians with and without college degrees actually perform in office, on average, we didn't find any real differences between leaders who finished college and leaders who didn't." Still, expect to hear more about his lack of a diploma as the campaign wears on, notes the story, along the lines of Howard Dean calling him "unknowledgeable" a few months ago.
It's just that the authors can't find evidence to suggest a degree matters in politics. (As for other walks of life, they cite the example of college dropout Mark Zuckerberg.) Their conclusion: "Should you vote for someone without a college degree for President of the United States? If you think they’re the best candidate, why wouldn’t you?" The New York Times also gets in on the pre-announcement coverage, noting that while Walker has been beefing up his staff, he still hasn't hired a strategist. The reason is that the lifelong politician has mostly served as his own, usually well. “If I know Scott Walker, he probably knows the media markets just as well in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as he does Wisconsin, plus where they spill over into and who has the best ratings,” says one ally.