The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA reports on college freshmen:
Self-reported political orientation among college students typically grows more polarized during U.S. presidential election years; but the fall 2016 entering cohort of first-time, full-time college students, has the distinction of being the most polarized cohort in the 51-year history of the Freshman Survey (see Figure 1). Fewer students than ever before (42.3%) categorize their political views as “middle of the road,” reflecting a general political polarization within this demographic. Gender appears to play a role in this polarization:
- An all-time high of 41.1% of women self-identify as “liberal” or “far left” with respect to their political views compared to 28.9% of men, yielding the largest gender gap in selfreported liberalism to date (12.2 percentage points).
- Women are more likely than men to “agree somewhat” or “agree strongly” that addressing global climate change should be a federal priority (82.4%, as compared to 77.6% of men).
- Women are also more likely than men to “agree somewhat” or “strongly agree” that the federal government should have stricter gun control laws (75.4%, as compared to 58.8% of men)