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Tue Aug 20, 2019, 05:19 AM

Persistent Partisan Breakdown on Higher Ed

Pew survey finds majority of Republicans continue to hold negative views of impact of higher ed -- a development that began after the election of President Trump.

By Andrew Kreighbaum
August 20, 2019

President Trump has questioned the value of community colleges and suggested universities “restrict free thought.”

Survey results in 2017 suggested typical conservatives have begun to share his dim view of higher ed. In a Pew survey, only 36 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning respondents said higher education had a positive effect on the direction of the country -- a steep drop-off from responses only two years before.

Results from another recent Pew survey indicate that those views have persisted. In July, only 33 percent of Republican survey respondents said higher ed had a positive effect. And 59 percent believed higher ed had a negative effect on the country’s direction, the highest number in the survey’s findings so far.

Rather than a temporary blip, the Pew findings suggest a continuing challenge for college leaders hoping to maintain or repair a bipartisan consensus in support of postsecondary education.


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