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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

College Students Are Polarized, Too

In Defying the Odds, we discuss polarization in the 2016 election.

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)