Based on recent data gathered by Intelligent, many Republicans support reducing funding for public colleges and universities because they believe they spread liberal propaganda. Additionally, previous surveys have revealed that 50% of college students fear expressing their political opinions in the classroom.
We wanted to determine if students agree that the extremely tense political climate is seeping into the classroom, and if so, how this affects their education and interactions with other students and professors.
Based on a survey of 1,000 current college students, we found that:
- 54% of students say some or many of their professors express their political views in class
- 45% say they believe their professors have political agendas when teaching, and 72% say their professors influence other students’ political leanings
- 59% of students fear expressing their political beliefs in class, while 31% say they have been ridiculed for stating a different political opinion
85% of College Students Say Professors Reveal Political Opinions in Class
When asked if they have professors who talk politics during class, 32% of respondents said that they have a few professors who do, 41% say they have some professors who do, and 13% say they have many professors who express their political opinions in class. Of these 85%, two-thirds say their professors occasionally (52%) or frequently (15%) express these ideas.
53% of Conservative Professors Have Expressed Discriminatory Ideas
When students were asked which type of political opinions they have heard professors talk about during class, 77% say they have heard professors espousing liberal opinions and 42% have heard professors express conservative opinions.
Of the 42% who have had conservative professors, 53% say they have occasionally (40%) or frequently (13%) witnessed or directly experienced these professors expressing racist and/or discriminatory opinions.
Majority of Students Believe Professors Have Influenced Other Students’ Political Views
Close to three in four students (72%) say that they believe their professors have influenced other students’ political viewpoints. Additionally, 45% say they believe their professors have a political agenda when teaching, 26% say a professor has changed their opinion on a political or social issue, and 49% have participated in social activism due to a professor.
52% of Students Uncomfortable with Professors Talking Politics During Class
Of the 85% of students who say their professors have talked about politics during class, the majority would rather that they didn’t. More than half of this group said that professors discussing politics while teaching makes them somewhat (40%) or very (13%) uncomfortable.
77% of Conservative Students Believe College Radicalizes Liberals
The majority of survey respondents identifying as conservative somewhat (53%) or strongly (24%) believe that college radicalizes liberals. Additionally, 79% somewhat (46%) or strongly (33%) believe that schools should have policies in place to prevent professors from expressing political views in class.
68% of conservative students say they occasionally (36%) or frequently (33%) feel fear or anxiety about expressing their own political beliefs in class.
Some Students Believe They Have Gotten a Lower Grade Due to Their Politics
Regardless of political identification, nearly one-third of students say they are occasionally (21%) or frequently (10%) ridiculed by professors or other students for stating different political opinions in class. Professors on either end of the political spectrum appear to have a low tolerance of students expressing different viewpoints, as 22% even believe they have suffered tangible consequences because of their beliefs.
Of this 22%, 48% say they have received a lower grade because of their political viewpoints, and this percentage did not change drastically when comparing Democratic and Republican students.
This survey was commissioned by Intelligent.com and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish from August 19 to August 24, 2022. In total, 1,000 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were between the ages of 18 and 25 and currently a student.
Additionally, respondents were screened to ensure they were in at least their second year of college. 18% of respondents attend a community college, 24% attend a four-year private college, 54% attend a public four-year college, and 4% another type of school.
43% of respondents identified themselves as Democrats, 21% as Republicans, 28% as non-political, and 9% as other. Please note that all percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number for ease of communication.
For full survey results please contact [email protected].