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Sunday, February 5, 2006

Meet the moderate undergraduates.

Because I'm not yet bored of demographic, psychological, and sociological studies of political affiliation, I recommend Erin O'Donnell's "Twigs bent left of right: Understanding how liberals and conservatives differ, from conception on" (Harvard Magazine Jan/Feb 2006).

An item for religious politics junkies: 21 percent of college students in a 2005 survey fall midway between traditional liberal and traditional conservative political views. Among the things they have in common: "faith" is important to them. One-third of these students are African American or Hispanic. John Della Volpe, who conducted the study, says about them: "They're very concerned about the moral direction of the country. They believe that religion should play a more important role in government, and they believe in school choice. But they also believe that healthcare is a right if it can't be afforded, and they're very, very strong advocates for the environment." They were equally divided between Bush and Kerry in the last election.

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 5 February 2006 at 9:09 AM

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April 20, 2006 09:03 PM | Permalink for this comment

For more on the religious and political views of college students, see Redefining Political Attitudes and Activism: a Poll by Harvardís Institute of Politics. The study reports:

A wide majority of college students (70%) says that religion plays an important role in their lives. One in four (25%) report that they have become more spiritual since entering college while just seven percent (7%) say they have become less spiritual. In terms of the religious make-up on college campuses, twenty-five percent (25%) of students are Protestant, twenty-four percent (24%) are Catholic, eighteen percent (18%) are Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian, three percent (3%) are Jewish, one percent (1%) are Muslim, thirteen percent (13%) are some other religion and sixteen percent (16%) have no religious preference.

Students who are Republicans overwhelmingly believe religion is "losing its influence on American life" and by a 7 to 1 margin think this is bad; a smaller majority of Democratic students believes religion is gaining in influence, and by a 2 to 1 margin think this is bad.

The study also provides a great deal of information about the growing number of moderate young adults: 25% of college students are identified as "religious centrists"; another 15% are "secular centrists." Because this group of students split down the middle in the 2004 election, the authors of the study say they'll be a crucial factor in 2008.

(Thanks to uuwonk for the tip.)

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