Most Republicans Believe Colleges, Universities Are Hurting America

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- News media was least appreciated among five institutions Pew asked about (the others were churches and religious organizations, colleges and universities, labor unions, and banks and other financial institutions). You can't make this stuff up. But more conservative and moderate Democrats said such organizations have a positive effect on the country (58 percent, compared to 29 percent who say it is negative).

In my experience elected officials, Republicans included, complain about coverage they don't like, but they also appreciate the media's role in democracy and usefulness in getting their views out. However, once we stop respecting those who search for truth, we enter some scary times.

Why surprising? Because the media is overwhelmingly liberally biased.

Younger Republicans still have more positive views of colleges than older Republicans, but the share of those under 50 who view colleges positively has fallen 21 points (from 65 percent to 44 percent) since 2015.

As conversation around higher education continues to grow louder amid a tense political cycle, we take solace in knowing the skepticism on the importance of attending university is met with basic truth: That the positives of pursuing higher education, in most cases, far outweigh the negative.

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Overall, slightly more than half of the public, 55 percent, thinks colleges and universities help the USA, according to the survey.

The poll noted that by contrast, the majority of Democrats says colleges and universities have positive impact on the United States. Now, 44 percent believe the media has a positive effect.

Democrats tend to view colleges positively, with the survey finding comparable majorities across age, education and income. This may be why Republicans are increasingly keen to disapprove of colleges, as they see them as bastions of liberal thinking.

"Is the precipitous drop in conservative regard for postsecondary education reflecting a decline in confidence in higher education attainment as a sure path to socioeconomic mobility, or is this more about perceptions of "liberal bias" in higher education among conservatives?" she said via email.