OK, thanks.… Here’s the story of loop quantum gravity in a nutshell, as told by me. There have been two periods in the history of the subject, the canonical period and the spin foam period. During the canonical period, they tried to develop the quantum theory “directly”, but used eccentric quantization methods that fatally broke the connection with classical geometry and with the rest of physics. The spin foam period is more promising because at least there’s a connection to topological field theory, but they keep getting degenerate geometries rather than a robust 4d semiclassical limit.

So it’s not devoid of interest, but it suffers in comparisons with strings, for which there are two major paradigms that work really well (perturbative S-matrix in flat space, AdS/CFT duality in negatively curved space), and demonstrated consistency with “naive” quantum gravity in various ways.

I actually think Ashtekar’s variables (as you know, one of the ingredients that launched loop quantum gravity) are a valid window on gravity, it’s just the eccentric approach to quantization taken in loop quantum gravity’s canonical period that is misguided. I think there’s also a chance that there will be a kind of spin foam representation of M theory (in which higher gauge theory has a role too), via the work of Sati and Schreiber on “Hypothesis H”.

I’m curious—if you repeated this study, but with “the set of all Ivy League graduates” instead of “the EA/rationalist community”, how does it compare?