Majority of Republicans say colleges have negative impact on country, poll says
Most Republicans surveyed argue that US universities have a negative effect on the country, a trend generated by people who do not have a college degree, revealing the gap between right and left.
A survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly 60% of conservative Republicans and conservative lean universities have a negative influence on the United States. Meanwhile, about three-quarters of the Democrats and Liberals say independent US institutions of higher education have a positive impact.
Experts say that the disparity is guided by representations of the media of universities, as well as the protests against conservatives like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter.
No wonder Republicans are tired of universities rather than Democrats, says communications professor at the University of Delaware, Danna Young.
The real revelation is the dramatic change that Republican negativity has taken over the past two years. In September 2015, during the infancy of the presidential election, more than half of Republicans (54%) said that our universities have a positive effect.
“Suddenly, the vast majority of them consider it negative,” said Young, “which is surprising when you think about what universities are and what they do.”
Responsibility for the fracture, said Young, lies on both sides of the political spectrum. Most of the faculties of the university, she acknowledged, are liberal, which can create a sounding board of ideas. Although he accused the “machinery” of the GOP, including the conservative media, with liberal tendencies that are perceived in the academic world.
It is an effort, he said, to erode faith in liberal institutions and their research, developing studies on climate change and other issues that can support a liberal agenda.
In fact, the views of both parties on the media differ considerably. The number of Democrats who see the means favorable (44%) is approximately the number that is seen negatively (46%). Last year, a third of Democrats have seen the media positively. Today, approximately 85% of Republicans say that the media has a negative effect on the country. Two years ago, this figure was 76%.
Matthew Woessner, a Republican associate professor at Penn State University-Harrisburg said that because of politicized media, Republicans and Democrats “live in different worlds.” He blames both sides, especially when it comes to protesting coverage.
Woessner said that Democrats are “very satisfied with higher education” because promoting their values and ideas, which they believe contributes to a better country. Republicans are more skeptical, he said, especially those with less education.
The study shows that Republicans without a college degree who believe that universities benefit America sank 20 percentage points in the past two years. Sank 11 percentage points among those who have a degree.
Woessner said that statistics is a proof that “those who were actually in the University are able to better contextualize these sensational stories.”
Aside from media coverage, colleges suffer from a lack of diverse political views, said April Kelly-Woessner, a professor of political science at Elizabethtown University. Kelly-Woessner and Woessner, husband and wife together wrote The Still Split Academy, which explores higher education policy.
She said students today are the first generation in 60 years to be politically less tolerant than their parents. In general, it is the administrators who attempt to suppress freedom of speech, now they are the students.
The study also showed how Republicans and Democrats see other American institutions. Republicans more than Democrats have a favorable view of churches and religious organizations, as well as banks and financial institutions. Democrats on Republicans say unions play a positive role in the United States.