Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today's freshmen reflect polarization with increasing acceptance of gay marriage

LA Times:
"Freshmen also appear to be moving away from a moderate position in their political views," said John H. Pryor, director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program.

The percentage of students identifying themselves as "liberal," 28.4%, is at its highest level since 1975, and those identifying as "conservative," 23.9%, at its highest level in the survey's 40-year history.

However, the majority of 2006's freshman students, 43.3%, consider themselves "middle-of-the-road," the lowest percentage since first measured by the research program in 1970.

Hot-button issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, sharply divide liberals and conservatives, the survey found.

While the majority of freshmen overall support same-sex marriage, the issue divides students along ideological lines. Four out of 5 liberals support same-sex marriage, compared with 1 out of every 3 conservatives.
. . .
Acceptance of same-sex marriage grew from 2005 to 2006.

The study found that 61% of incoming freshmen last year agreed that same-sex couples should have the right to marriage, up 3.3 percentage points from 2005.

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