Colleges Viewed Positively, But Conservatives Express Doubts

Mar 01, 2012

Americans generally think that colleges and universities have a positive impact on the country, and an overwhelming majority of college graduates say higher education is worth the investment. However, conservative Republicans are skeptical of colleges’ effects on the country, even though most who have completed college view the experience as personally beneficial.

In the latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 8-12 among 1,501 adults, 60% said that colleges have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country; just 26% said they have a negative effect. Of a list of 12 institutions and industries, only small businesses (75% positive effect) and technology companies (70%) were viewed more positively.

However, just 46% of conservative Republicans said colleges and universities have a positive impact, while nearly as many (39%) said they have a negative effect. By wide margins, Democrats (67% to 20%) and independents (61% to 26%) said colleges and universities have a positive impact.

Read the full report, Colleges Viewed Positively, But Conservatives Express Doubts, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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