Dr. Helen

Do More Liberal People Attend College or Does College Make you More Liberal?

I wondered about this as I saw a recent survey at the Pew Research Center that found “A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults”:

Two years ago, Pew Research Center found that Republicans and Democrats were more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the previous two decades. But growing ideological distance is not confined to partisanship. There are also growing ideological divisions along educational and generational lines.

Highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades.

Taking a roughly equal mix of liberal and conservative positions is far more prevalent among those with less education than those with at least a college degree. For instance, nearly half (48%) of those with a high school degree or less education express a mix of conservative and liberal opinions. That compares with just 22% of those with postgraduate experience.

Over the past decade, ideological differences across generations also have widened. Millennials remain more liberal than older generations – 45% express consistently liberal or mostly liberal views, which is little changed from 2004 (41%). In contrast, growing shares of the oldest cohorts – Boomers and Silents – have conservative political values. About a third of Boomers (36%) and 40% of Silents have at least mostly conservative attitudes, up from 21% and 23%, respectively, in 2004.

The wider gap over the past two years probably has much to do with the Obama administration with the constant flaming of anger between the old and the young, black and white, men and women, etc. Those who attend college are pummeled with propaganda to add fuel to the fire and are rewarded for adhering to the liberal line. If conservative or libertarian ideas were presented in much the same positive manner that liberal ones were, I wonder how much of this division would disappear? Much of it, I expect.