Increased Political Engagement in College Freshmen

Posted by Higher Education Research Institute on February 15, 2016

College Freshmen Are More Politically Engaged Than They Have Been In Decades

A new survey that captures the attitudes of 2015 college freshmen shows unprecedented levels of interest in both political engagement and student activism, underscoring the youth vote’s potential to reshape the electoral landscape. The survey also finds that more of these students identify as liberals, seek to become community leaders and want to influence the political structure.

The Higher Education Research Institute — a group based at the University of California, Los Angeles — polled 141,189 people who represent the country’s full-time, first-year students starting four-year colleges and universities in the fall of 2015. The demographics of college freshmen have changed considerably since the survey was first administered in 1966, and it provides insight into the attitudes of this constituency, which has long puzzled researchers but stands out as a key demographic group for politicians.


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