January 26, 2012

"Even though the percentage of incoming freshmen who identify as conservative has stayed relatively stable..."

".... those students and the rest of their peers are shifting away from hard-line conservative stances on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, marijuana legalization and affirmative action...."
Even though on an issue-by-issue basis the opinions of incoming freshmen are becoming less conservative, the number of liberal students per se is not necessarily on the rise.

As students over the past couple of years have become more likely to self-identify politically as “middle of the road” (47.4 percent in 2011, up three percentage points since 2009), the percentage who consider themselves “liberal” has actually declined more than that of those who say they’re “conservative.”

42 comments:

MadisonMan said...

So labels mean less and less.

Kind of like race labels

Stan said...

Are there any "hard line" liberal positions? Probably not. They would be held by people on the 'far left' and since no one is ever described as far left, there must not be an hard line liberal positions.

There are only hard line conservatie positions held by those on the far right.

EMD said...

There are only hard line conservative positions held by those on the far right.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a study of news reportage in which they calculate the number of times "hard" appears next to "right" or "right" appears next to "wing" and the same for the words left, hard, wing, etc.

Also the contexts of "extreme" and "conservative" and "right". I think the results would be interesting.

SGT Ted said...

Considering that some well known conservatives have advocated marijuana legalization and there are scads of liberal Democrats who are just as hardline on the war on Drugs, is there truly a "hardline" conservative only position on it?

Christopher said...

One day the media will discover libertarianism, one day.....

Matthew said...

"is there truly a "hardline" conservative only position on it?"

It's hardline for conservatives because it is bad for conservatives to prosecute the war on drugs.

Obama threatening to raid California pot farms though is peachy keen.

Didn't you get the memo after the two-minute hate?

Dan in Philly said...

Kids are very subject to peer pressure, which libs have utilized to their advantage in colleges for years and years.

Jay said...

Ann,
any thoughts on the new "Hip-Hop" class being taught at UW-Madison?

Geoff Matthews said...

This just in. Lables don't matter.

Sofa King said...

It occurs to me that there may be a problem with selection bias when you're inteviewing incoming freshmen about affirmative action.

Cedarford said...

Within the article, some interesting things. Strong support for sacred Gay Marriage - the Hollywood/liberal media campaign has been quite effective.
Abortion as legal and available is in very high (+60%) student support.

Less than a majority want any drugs legal, though numbers have ticked up, perhaps the greatest surprise to me.

Support for free college for illegals, refugees, and grown up anchor babies is down sharply to 43%, as students become aware that student aid for THEM -US citizens - is drying up, what is left is a smaller share of tuition costs. And free rides for foreigners reduces that "pie" further.

While they have (still less than a majority) support for affirmative action...conservatives have demonstrated that this support is shallow and breaks down when students are confronted with specific examples, quotas on Asians, and racial and ethnic preferences for foreigners and advantaged individuals of the right preferred groups..

DaveW said...

The labels themselves have long annoyed me, or the way they're used nowadays.

Liberal simply doesn't mean what it once did. Reagan made the term a pejorative.

Nowadays people on the left call themselves progressives, and make no mistake that's directly due to the term liberal becoming a curse. But today's progressives have a lot more in common with the Bolsheviks than they do with liberal icons like JFK and FDR. I'M more classically liberal than today's progs.

Replace the word liberal with the word progressive and do another study.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

The truth is that conservatives have been sliding more toward a libertarian view of government power since Obama took office. And that means more skepticism about the war on drugs, the government's role in dictating social policy on marriage, etc. In other words, conservatives tend to be taking a more classically liberal perspective on social issues. It doesn't mean they're less conservative, only that they're more consistently anti-statist. I haven't seen any indication of a change of opinion about affirmative action, though.

Cedarford said...

Sofa King said...
It occurs to me that there may be a problem with selection bias when you're inteviewing incoming freshmen about affirmative action.

------------
Indeed.
The proper polling might be the pool of applicants, rather than the annointed selectees. Especially in scarce seat graduate classes -
And if the pool of accepted or rejected applicants were shown the grades, SATs, LSATs, MCATs of those who were in the pool that were accepted or rejected - before commenting on the approval or disapproval of AA.

Synova said...

"Conservative" isn't a set-in-stone list of opinions or standards or ideas. It's an approach to ideas. One of caution and suspicion and the understanding that you can break something while trying to fix it.

Synova said...

So...

We're talking about how to evaluate the degree of particle rounding and my teacher jokes "you're always safe with "moderate"", and then she stops, and then says, "Except in politics. No one should be a moderate in politics. Everyone should be extreme, one way or the other. But only to the left." She laughed.

It was funny. Sort of. She didn't seem to be taking herself too seriously.

But I couldn't help but think... try it this way...

"No one should be moderate about their spiritual beliefs. Everyone should be fervent, one way or another. Whatever you believe. But only if you're a Christian."

Would anyone have a problem understanding that the joke was hostile?

carrie said...

Actually, conservative kids are subject to television's portrayal of what is wrong and right. If conservative parents would just turn off their tvs their kids would not be as soft on issues like abortion, drugs, premarital sex, etc. TV is a huge instrument of social change and it is controlled by people who are just trying to make a buck so they push the envelope with scripts and shows that cross the line of accepted behavior and by doing so they have normalized a lot of behavior in the minds of adolescents (including conservative adolescents) who are too young to recognize that a story line was pushing the envelope.

AJ Lynch said...

EMD said:
"I wonder if anyone has ever done a study of news reportage in which they calculate the number of times "hard" appears next to "right" or "right" appears next to "wing" and the same for the words left, hard, wing, etc."

My favorite example is the use of the word "controversial". It always appears with a conservative proposal like "Arizona's controversial immigration law". Yet it is rarely used to describe librul laws. Hell google "Controversial Obamacare" and you get less than 3,400 hits. But google "controversial voter ID" and you will get 209,000 hits even though polls show way more popular support for Voter ID than for Obamacare.

The MSM is a joke.

Pogo said...

History is littrered with the ashes of civilizations that ignored the democracy of the dead (tradition), and instead believed the rules did not apply to them.

Conservatism isn't an ideology, but an approach that favors individual liberty, made strong by tradition.

Leftism is an ideology favoring state power of the individual, and its traditions are mass obedience, mass poverty, and mass murder.

Bob Ellison said...

Kids that age have no idea what they think, even if they do.

Bob_R said...

Three "hard line" liberal positions.

1. Abortion on demand.

2. Gay marriage should be legal.

3. We should be in charge and everyone else should shut up and follow orders.

The first two are negotiable.

Sue D'Nhym said...

Imagine that. In an era of increased partisan polarization, kids rebel by rejecting the poles and grabbing the middle.

No way anyone could have seen that coming.

Marshal said...

Erik Robert Nelson said...

" I haven't seen any indication of a change of opinion about affirmative action, though."

The key to understanding attitudes on this topic is segregating race preferences from other forms of affirmative action. For generations the left has sold affirmative action as advertising jobs in minority read media and reaching out to schools with majority minority enrollment. Actions that can be annoyances when legally mandated and abused in the hands of apparachiks aren't such a big deal in and of themselves. Then of course the moment it's legal they grant as much weight to being black as for carrying a 4.0 vs 0.0 GPA. Or they claim that a 65% minority governmental department must have a "diversity" hire because in one specific office of three people only one is a minority and the population is 45% minority. Bait and switch.

Conservative media try to make this distinction clear while leftist media intentionally refuse to acknowledge the difference as part of their demonization campaign. So to many on the right AA refers only to actions which would not fall under the category race preferences. I was not able to find any distinction noted in the survey, so it may be we're seeing more and more conservative young people understanding the terms in this way.

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
So labels mean less and less.

Kind of like race labels


I prefer, 'Classical Liberal' as opposed to the current welfare liberals which are really just cowardly proggs.
But hey, that's just me.

Joe said...

One of the hallmarks of conservatism is that individuals should make most the private decisions about their own lives rather than government. When it comes to social issues, true conservatism IS quite libertarian. (It is fiscal and especially foreign policy issues where conservatives part company with libertarians. Conservatives believe there is a larger place for government than libertarians, but agree that it should be limited.)

It's no surprise that many conservatives, such as myself and my kids, have no problem with gay marriage because we don't think it's any of the government's business. I'd go further and say that the social conservative position on marriage and government stinks of social engineering.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

BTW, Rusty is right; true conservatism really is classical liberalism as in the spirit of von Mises, Hayek and Friedman.

The Wikipedia article explains it well. I especially like this line: "Classical liberalism places a particular emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual, with private property rights being seen as essential to individual liberty."

Far too many social conservatives are mostly pro-life modern liberals (Huckabee being a prime example.)

edutcher said...

Libertarianinsm is the chi-chi thing these days among the college crowd (a lot of Ronulans are kids), so some of this isn't that surprising. It would seem the researchers didn't differentiate between Libertarians and Conservatives and Libertarians side with the Lefties on social and foreign policy issues .

Also note that the report itself says these numbers have fluctuated over the years.

Sounds like another one of those pieces intended to afflict the Right and comfort the Left. Actually, abortion, marijuana use, and promiscuous sex in that age group are down, so this all may be so much hot air.

PS I'm coming to the position a lot of Libertarians are basically Lefties who ant to hang on to their money and don't feel guilty about it.

David said...

Gay marriage is winning the day. The opposition is passionate but not widely based. Mostly, now that homosexuals are routinely "out," millions of people have family and friends that we know are gay. They are still family and friends after they come out, and people don't want to stand against them, even if gay marriage seems somewhat strange and unfamiliar.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

And yet, any time it's put up for a vote, same-sex marriage goes down in flames.

In the end, I think it fails because the people behind it are of the Dan Savage crowd and it's a scam.

Have to disagree with David on a point; a lot of homosexuals may be out to some people, but not to the world, in general, so it may not be all that common. In the ancient world, they were all out, but people still thought there should be limits

And the point about the media pushing this is on the money. Gallup ran a poll that found about half of all Americans think a quarter of the population is homosexual, so there may be a big turnaround when the truth comes out.

Also, homosexuals tend to congregate in some areas more than others, so it may seem.

And Pogo is, as always, dead on.

LarsPorsena said...

David said...
'Gay marriage is winning the day....' In popular culture, the media, academia, Hollywood, etc.
It has been advanced in the courts and some legislatures...BUT it has failed everytime it has been put to a popular vote. People who feign indifference or tolerance in public do some thing quite different in the privacy of the voting booth.

ricpic said...

Hey, the students get it that if they dare standup for "hard line" conservative positions they'll be labeled haters and subjected to internal exile. So they adjust.

Chuck66 said...

Sounds like everyone is becoming libertarian. Kind of self-center lifestyle vs having deep beliefs.

Chuck66 said...

I would ask this question....Do you support gay marriage if that means the Catholic (and other traditional churhes) will become illegal.

Amartel said...

This article so wants the reader to believe that the long march is succeeding, conservatism is receding, liberalism triumphant. As usual, the long marchers are clueless, not having bothered to think about what is "conservative." If the article is to be believed, students are abandoning issues involving state interference in private lives. Which is a more conservative position. And as for identifying as "middle of the road," well who the hell identifies as a winger, left or right? And buried is the fact that the percentage that consider themselves "liberal" has actually declined more tha those who consider themselves "conservative." Because, unexpectedly!

roesch/voltaire said...

I have noticed that while some students may claim to have an overall ideology, they also tend to take one issue at at time and provide facts and reasons for their stance. This is a good trend as the current use of liberal or conservative has little historical connection to their original origins.

ic said...

Were there questions used to objectively identify them as liberals or conservatives? According to MSM, there are only moderates, centrists, and conservatives Justices in the Supreme Court.

The "L" word was a no-no since George HW Bush made fun of it two decades ago.

ricpic said...

Of course we all know that Roeschie isn't a liberal. Oh no, he's nuanced, aren't you, Mr. Smug.

Revenant said...

What is the "hard-line conservative stance" on marijuana legalization? Plenty of genuine conservatives have supported it (William F. Buckley being the best example).

Scott M said...

What is the "hard-line conservative stance" on marijuana legalization?

As was mentioned above, once you separate out the die-hard social issue right wing, conservatives look more and more libertarian. The real catch, though, is that (currently) illicit drug use can be viewed both as a social issue and a personal liberty issue, can it not? Our perspectives on the same thing drive wedges between us.

SteveOrr said...

Always nice to see intellectually honest young people break rank with their fellow partisans. It could be a sign of increased engagement with the issues. But the pessimist in me suspects this is just apathy.

How likely is it that these people will actually vote? How likely are they to actually volunteer their time & get involved in the election process? That’s what I care about, not some stupid “I believe the children are the future” pablum.