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Most Americans Don't Care If Their President Went To An Ivy League College

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CAMBRIDGE, MA - SEPTEMBER 17: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) attended a black alumni luncheon at the Harvard School of Law, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2005. He was also honored with a Harvard Law School Association Award. (Photo by Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) | Boston Globe via Getty Images

Few Americans really care whether a presidential candidate has a prestigious education, according to a recent Pew Research survey.

Just 19 percent of Americans say they'd be more likely to vote for someone who attended a prestigious university like Harvard or Yale, while only 6 percent say they're less inclined to support someone with that background. The vast majority, 74 percent, say it wouldn't matter either way -- making a Harvard degree about as helpful as being female or in one's 40s.

Liberal Democrats are the most impressed by a prestigious degree, with 27 percent calling it an asset. Although no group said it would be a negative, Republicans in the tea party were evenly split on whether or not such schooling would be a good thing.

A requisite grain of salt: Americans are generally not too good at predicting their future attitudes. If the next presidential contest features one candidate with an Ivy League background, and one without, partisans may take a different view of the degree's importance.

But regardless of Americans' preference, a prestigious education doesn't hurt. While many early presidents never graduated from college, every president since 1988 held at least one degree from an Ivy League school. Harvard alone has turned out six U.S. presidents, followed by Yale and the College of William & Mary, which is often considered a "Public Ivy."

The Pew Research poll surveyed 1,501 Americans between April 23 and April 27.

Clarification: Language has been added to the original article to indicate that William & Mary is not an Ivy League school.

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