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October 23, 2017   Around Academe | Survey: Stark gender gap in political views exists…

Survey: Stark gender gap in political views exists among college freshmen

October 23, 2017

The political divisions that emerged and intensified during the 2016 U.S. presidential election were particularly apparent at colleges and universities: Students protested candidates, registered to vote and debated hot-button issues inside and outside of their classrooms.

According to findings of the Freshman Survey, an annual study of first-year college students administered by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, political polarization on campuses is the most extreme it has been in the study's 51-year history. The 2016 report is based on responses from 137,456 full-time, first-year students at 184 U.S. colleges and universities.

The report reveals the survey's largest-ever gender gap in terms of political leanings. An all-time high 41.1 percent of women identified themselves as "liberal" or "far left," compared to 28.9 percent of men. Women also were more likely than men to favor stricter gun control laws (75.4 percent versus 58.8 percent).

The rising cost of college was a prominent theme of the 2016 election cycle, and the survey found that 55.9 percent of students had concerns about paying for college.

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