Skip to comments.News flash: College students like President Bush
Posted on 10/29/2003 7:49:28 AM PST by flutters
Heres a question: Given the focus of the anti-war movement on college campuses, and given the relentless liberalism of the professoriate, and given the popularity of books such as Al Frankens Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, what do college students think of George W. Bush?
The answer: They like him.
A new poll by Harvards Institute of Politics found that 61 percent of students give the president a positive job approval rating making Bush more popular on campus than in the country at large.
Defying conventional wisdom, a new poll of Americas college students finds they are significantly more supportive of President Bush than the general public, said a slightly surprised-sounding Institute of Politics press release.
The release quoted institute head Dan Glickman, the former secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration: The conventional view that the majority of Americas college students are Democratic and that they care little about politics is clearly disproved by this new poll.
In addition to his fairly high approval rating, Bushs disapproval rating, 38 percent, was lower than in the public at large; an ABC News/Washington Post poll, taken at about the same time found 53 percent approval of Bush versus 42 percent disapproval.
The college pollsters also asked whether students would vote for Bush against a generic Democrat next year. Thirty-nine percent chose Bush, versus 34 percent for the Democrat
In addition, the Harvard team found that more students considered themselves Republicans than Democrats 31 percent to 27 percent. (The largest group, 38 percent, regarded itself as independent.)
Then pollsters asked those students who identified themselves as Democrats which candidate they preferred if a primary election were held today.
A landslide for Howard Dean, right?
Wrong. The winner, with 17 percent of the vote, was Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) the most conservative Democrat in the field.
Dean came in second with 16 percent, followed by retired Gen. Wesley Clark, with 9 percent.
After that and this is true came Al Sharpton, with 8 percent. Reverend Al beat Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who had 6 percent, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who had 5 percent, former ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, who had 4 percent, and Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), who had 3 percent.
If Sharpton had an actual campaign, he might have made some use of this news. As it was, his website, al2004.com, didnt seem to notice.
And needless to say, the congressman from Missouri hasnt been crowing about the poll, which might have been headlined Students Have Near-Zero Interest In Gephardt. Apparently no one told them about the Gephardt surge.
On the issue of Iraq, the Harvard pollsters found mixed feelings. When researchers asked whether students support or oppose the United States having gone to war with Iraq, 59 percent strongly or somewhat supported the war, while 37 percent opposed.
Then pollsters asked whether students thought that members of the Bush administration have been telling the truth, usually telling the truth but hiding some things, or have they been mostly not telling the truth about Iraq.
The vast majority, 66 percent, chose the usually telling the truth but hiding some things category. Twenty-one percent said the administration was mostly not telling the truth, while 12 percent said the administration has been telling the entire truth.
When asked whether their trust in the president had gone up or down in the past year, 32 percent said it had gone down. Eighteen percent said it had gone up, while 49 percent said it had stayed the same a combined total of 67 percent whose faith in the president has been unaffected by the war.
In addition to finding solid support for Bush, the pollsters also found that students, unlike many other Democrats, actually care about national security and terrorism. Eleven percent of students told the pollsters they worried about terrorism, making it the third-most-important concern.
While not terribly high, that number stands in stark contrast to the results of a recent Democracy Corps poll, which found that Democrats in the early-voting and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina worried virtually not at all about terrorism.
On another terrorism-related topic, the poll found that students dont seem to share Democratic concerns that the USA Patriot Act had eroded civil liberties and that Attorney General John Ashcroft is shredding the Constitution. Just 2 percent worried about that.
Finally, the poll strikes one small cautionary note about the wonders of the Internet as a political tool.
Yes, some candidates have raised tons of money on the Net, but the poll suggests that not every Web effort is bearing fruit.
When pollsters asked, Have you ever read or participated in a presidential campaign blog? 96 percent of students said no.
Apparently, theyve learned to like George W. Bush the old-fashioned way.
Byron York is a White House correspondent for National Review. His column appears in The Hill each Wednesday. E-mail: email@example.com
Tom Daschle, "I am saddened. Deeply saddened."
Yup. I disagree with a lot of what W is doing; but I RESPECT the man, and he RESPECTS his office as POTUS. He doesn't LIE like the pathological liar: Mr. Stainman
ask yourself a simple question: "How did this poll randomly sample the population of college students?"
answer: There's no way they randomly surveyed the population of college students.
Apparently they made phone calls (at random? they don't explain) and asked if the person who answered was a college student and would answer the questions.
Students living at home would be vastly over-represented compared to dorm-living students. Students living at home are more in touch with the "real world" and less with "campus culture." I'd expect that they would be more conservative.
In other words don't believe anything this survey says.
you're definitely on the right track - but it still would take some more work. you could get a random list of colleges, get a random page from each, then weight each by the total student population so you'd take, say 5 names from the Michigan State list for every one name from the U-M Dearborn list.
However, there's a few more snags -
College directories list every student regardless if they're full-time or part time or grad student. You may be able to get the grad-or-undergrad info from the directory, but you can't always. And I'm afraid that there's no way the student directory will tell you if the student is just taking one class, two classes, or a full load. And that's important because, presumably you're looking only for full-time students, not someone just enrolled in one class.
Then, of course, there's the problems of unlisted numbers (I'd guess many more females would not list their numbers in the student directory), students who are so busy working or studying they can't be reached by phone, and those who decline to participate in the survey (If I was studying for a test, there's no way I'd take time out for this survey), or those who just hang up.
...Simply put, while I agree with your skepticism and laud you for it, I doubt their method of survey was as you claim. I wish we KNEW, however...
The fact that they don't tell us that they carefully selected their sample to represent the entire student population (and I've looked for the info) screams to me that they didn't carefully select anything. I mean, if they went through all the work to carefully select the sample I'd think they would report that. In other words, my bs-detector is going off.
What I did find from looking through their data does not fill me with confidence -
The IOP conducts these surveys once or twice a year. In each of these they claim to survey the opinion of "college students." So I would expect some of these numbers to be close to the same - not wildly different in each survey:
Age of respondent - for the October/03 survey, 20% of respondents were aged 21-24.
for the April/00 survey, 40% of respondents were aged 21-24. That's twice as much. (the other age-percentages were 18-20 77% in '03, 58% in '00).
In Apr/03 the total pecentage of african-american, hispanic, and asian students surveyed was 27%. Six months later, in the Oct/03 survey, the total percentage of the same minorites was reduced by almost half to 14%. (I'd guess that had something to do with their "more conservative" finding).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.