There is a three-part series over at FrumForum--beginning here--regarding a demographic trend of the highly educated away from the GoP. Numbers are parsed, and while the series concludes that it's too early to draw conclusions on the direct electoral impact of the shift, the real problem will come from the lack of a highly-educated talent pool from which to draw potential leaders and appointees. "A party needs a well-educated echelon ... to formulate policy to deal with complex challenges."
The third piece closes with the statement: "The better question might be what is wrong with the Republican Party.”
Now I could rant all day about that, but in the knowledge that the GoP will periodically be in charge for the foreseeable future at least, this is me attempting--constructively, mind you--to point out what I regard as the top reasons that they have alienated academia.
1) The GoP endorses, supports, and elects young-earth creationists who deny global warming, and indeed any scientific results which run counter to their folksy intuition/religious beliefs. Ask the medieval Catholics how well this worked for them and Galileo.
2) The GoP endorses, supports, and elects candidates–mostly christianists–who not only wish to deny research that goes against their preconceived truth, but also talk about how they want to curtail other forms of free speech they disagree with.
3) Republicans routinely use the educated as a populist punching bag–people who spent years working to get to the top of their field aren't going to want to join the party who routinely demonizes ‘elites’ to score cheap publicity. This is the party of Rush and the twinkie diet–the party of ’standing up to the experts’–how many actual experts do you think are going to want to have anything to do with them?
4) Gays. In college, everyone has gay friends. The GoP endorses, supports, and elects raving homophobes who call those friends abominations and want to curtail their rights.