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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Polarization and Higher Education

Brandon Busteed at Gallup:
Republicans have soured on higher education.
Sixty-seven percent of Republicans in the U.S. have "some" to "very little confidence" in colleges and universities, according to a recent Gallup survey. And a 2017 Pew Research Center survey shows that 58% of Republicans say colleges and universities have a negative effect on the way things are going in the country. The latter represents a dramatic change from Pew's 2015 survey, when 37% said it was negative and 54% positive. In two years the majority of Republicans' attitudes toward higher education went from positive to negative.
The implications of this souring sentiment could be widespread across higher education, and many are left to wonder what the long-term impact of this perspective might be for the country.
Republicans' souring on higher education has happened in just the past two years. These events and trends have triggered a significant amount of news coverage, particularly in -- but hardly limited to -- conservative media: student protests over race relations and inequality, the ways in which campuses handled these protests, debates over free speech, and the blocking of controversial (and primarily conservative) speakers. The events, trends and coverage have heightened the perception that colleges and universities are "too liberal."