Too often folks on the right-hand side of the political spectrum are dismissed as ignorant bumpkins. The latest incarnation of this prejudice targets Tea Party Republicans in particular.

A new study from ale Law professor Dan M. Kahan  finds that—contrary to prevailing “wisdom”—Tea Party members are more scientifically literate than non-Tea Party members.

In fact, Tea Party members tend to be more scientifically literate than other self-described conservatives, who have slightly negative scores, overall. These findings should give both liberal and GOP establishment types pause over their caricatures of Tea Party constituents.

To his credit, Kahan says:

I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising.

… I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party.  All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).  

I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.

Such humility is refreshing. So too is the opportunity findings like this one offer for open, civil debate about pressing public policy issues.