Majority of Republicans believe colleges have a negative impact

Thirty-six percent of GOP survey participants say colleges are having a positive impact on the U.S.

In contrast, the study found that 72% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they believe college and universities have a positive effect on the United States.

The poll also assessed how Americans view the effect of the media, churches, banks and labor unions on the country. Their survey also found that 85 percent of Republicans believed that the national news media had a negative impact on society, versus 46 percent of Democrats who believed the same.

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.

Younger Republicans tend to be much more positive, with 44 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds saying colleges have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country.

The overall public viewpoint nearly exactly meets the middle of the two opposing political sides, with 55% believing that the colleges help the US.

Donald Trump's war on "fake news" has made a major impact too.

View a graph of the Pew findings below via Twitter. Results among the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Since 2015, positive views of higher education among Republicans have dropped 18 percent.

59 percent overall have a positive outlook on churches/religious orgs.

A majority of all Republicans-75 percent of those who identify as conservative Republicans and Republican-leaning and 68 percent of those who are moderate and liberal Republicans-said religious institutions have a positive impact.

Even Republicans with college degrees or more education are increasingly disapproving of colleges and universities. "Are these attitudes more an expression of backlash against rising cost of college and student debt load, and the accompanying belief that colleges are businesses that care more about their bottom line than students (as we've found in our research), or is this about the rise of an emboldened anti-intellectualism in the wake of the last presidential election?"

  • Joey Payne