Until the mid 1960s, the most reliable Republican Party or Conservative Party districts were university towns. Today they are the least.
What changed ?
Back in the early sixties, the soon-to-be-retiring elite of Modernity science , both physical and social, still gave forth the definite answers that social conservatives crave and in fact need, in order to remain sane.
So no wonder then that science was one of the preferred occupations for social conservatives.
But, in fact, even as these scientific elites had begun their educational careers, way back around 1900, science's cutting edge was revealing a very uncertain world and universe.
It all began with the discovery of totally unpredictable natural radioactivity - all atoms will self destruct, given enough time, whenever they feel like it.
Effect without apparent cause --- randomness gone wild.
I could here add the new quantum physics, new insights into the inherent blurriness and unpredictability of real world chemical bonding and the new biological discovery of unpredictable HGT-generated genetic mutations across species.
But these scientific elites had all been educated, at the high school and undergraduate level, in the old comforting WASP triad of Newton, Dalton & Darwin.
Kids still are, more than 100 years after these three had all been proven to not offer the best explanations of reality.
But because the three offer the comforting soothing pap that the world is knowable by Man and controllable by Man - and offering up that comfortable big lie is precisely what high school and undergraduate teachers are hired to teach.
Modernity Science can even be seen as a last ditch effort by social conservative scientists to teach against the new evidence emerging from ordinary modern science practises that uncertainty was the norm of reality.
In the conflict between textbook science and scientific practise, all science students began to divide on a social conservative, social liberal fault line.
Those students who found the new science norms of widespread uncertainty of reality too hard on their social conservative mindset bailed out ---- stopped at the BSc or maybe MSc level at non-research universities and went into industry and did production science.
Those more comfortable with uncertainty, (social liberals generally), stuck with the new science, got PhDs and became post docs at the big research universities, all bound for academic careers.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s, they got a toehold on the tenure ladder and began to climb up as the older generation retired and died.
They focussed on process science - auditing the unpredictable and generally unwelcome results of what happened when simple production science hit a complex environment.
(Hint : pollution, health risks.)
And they taught their grad students the same.
We see the results today as 'scientists' debate climate change ---- those with just a BSc and working in industry tend to be deniers while the PhD academics believe in it....