A sizable majority of Republicans consider higher education to be a negative influence on America, according to a new Pew Research Center poll published Monday.
Pew found that fifty-eight percent of Republicans viewed college education negatively, while 36 percent of GOP voters saw these institutions positively.
Democrats, on the other hand, overwhelmingly viewed higher education favorably, with 72 percent of the party’s self-described voters having a positive opinion of it. Only 19 percent of Democrats had a negative view of higher education, according to Pew.
The prestigious research firm said that Republican views on college have dramatically changed over a short period of time. In just two years, the number of Republicans who positively viewed higher education declined from 54 percent to 36 percent, Pew reports.
The study also reported that self-described conservative Republicans were more likely to suspiciously view college education — 65 percent versus 58 percent for all GOP voters.
Pew didn’t offer reasons for why the sudden change in Republican views of higher education, but it is possibly due in part to greater attention toward the left-wing excesses on campus that have shut down conservative speech and pushed progressive views on students.
Pew’s poll attempted to study which major institutions Americans trust and distrust based on party affiliation. Republicans were also found to overwhelmingly view the news media negatively, while Democrats were more evenly split on the institution.
Eight-five percent of Republicans said they had a negative opinion of the press versus only 10 percent with a positive view of this institution. Most Democrats as well were found to negatively view the media, but by a much smaller margin of 46 percent with a negative opinion versus 44 percent with a positive view of the press.
The only institution with the majority of members of both parties positively viewing it were churches/religious organizations. Pew recorded 73 percent of Republicans believing faith-based groups as a good thing for the country, while 50 percent of Democrats shared the same opinion.