Republicans view college education as bad for America, study reveals

The poll also found mostly positive views of churches and religious organizations among both Democrats and Republicans.

Fifty-eight percent of those respondents told Pew that they believed higher education had a negative effect, up from 45 percent a year ago.

You can view the full survey findings here. Only 28 percent of Republicans over 50 say college is good for the country, a drop of 15 points from two years ago.

White evangelical Protestant Christians were most likely (80 percent) to view religious institutions positively, along with majorities across Protestant and Catholic denominations, according to the study.

Breaking that down further, 53 percent of Democrats with a college degree believe the news media has a "positive effect" on the country's direction (a jump from last year when that was 31 percent; as well as two years ago, when it was 30 percent). Comparatively, Americans unaffiliated with a religion were more likely to say religious institutions had a negative (46 percent) impact than positive (34 percent).

The poll also showed wide partisan gaps in views of other institutions. Now, 44 percent believe the media has a positive effect.

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Last year, only 33 percent of Democrats said the national news media had a positive effect on the way things are going in the country.

Younger Republicans still have more positive views of colleges than older Republicans, but the share of those under 50 who view colleges positively has fallen 21 points (from 65 percent to 44 percent) since 2015.

When it comes to higher education, even Republicans with degrees increasingly see it as a negative force.

Those divides become stronger as one's political ideology becomes stronger, particularly among Democrats, according to the data.

Overall, 55% say colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, second to churches and religious organizations (59% positive) for positive impacts on the nation's life among the five institutions tested in the survey.

The design of the survey allowed those responding to define "national news media" as they wished.

  • Megan Austin