Students May Swing Either Way Next Election

A national poll of American college students reveals just how fickle young voters are.

The study released by Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP) shows that one out of every five students have changed their minds in the past five months about which presidential candidate they plan to vote for in November.

IOP research director David King says those who have changed their minds overwhelmingly switched to Democrat John Kerry's camp. “President Bush is clearly behind among college students, but it's hard to say what percentage he's behind,” King says. The indication of the study is that Kerry is leading President Bush by 20 points among college students — double the margin the Massachusetts senator had had in March.

Interestingly, according to King, students are not attracted to the liberal candidate, but are simply repulsed by Bush. “The reason they say they have changed in the direction of John Kerry is not that they particularly like the senator, but that they don't like President George Bush. So there is a sense of animosity there — a high degree of animosity — about President Bush.”

However, the researcher says that too is subject to change. “We find that the opinions are very much fluctuating,” he notes, “and stories about only 10 percent or 15 percent of the vote really being up for grabs, I think, are flat out wrong. This race is wide open, and people who today say they like John Kerry tomorrow could say they like George Bush.” But right now, King says Kerry is still an enigma to most college students, and he also notes that no more than 20 percent of the American electorate is currently following the presidential campaign.

Meanwhile another survey, this one conducted by the University of California in Los Angeles' Higher Education Research Institute, finds that college students' political and moral views tend to vary significantly depending on religious factors. According to the Associated Press, a new survey of 3,600 college juniors on 46 college campuses found that about a fifth of the students are “highly religious,” while another fifth ranked very low on religious activities such as reading the Bible or attending worship services.

These college groups were dramatically divergent on moral and political issues, with the highly religious students being far more likely to identify themselves as politically conservative and to oppose homosexual behavior. Meanwhile the least religious students were found to be three times as likely to favor marijuana use and legal abortion, and eleven times as likely to be accepting of casual sex.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

Stands on Moral Issues Greatly Affected by Religiosity Even Among College

LOS ANGELES — Strongly religious college students tend to identify themselves as politically conservative and hold conservative views on issues of sex, abortion, gay rights, and drugs, according to new research released today by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute.

The analysis, part of a national study of 3,680 third-year college students at 46 diverse colleges and universities, also shows that about one-fifth of college students are “highly religious,” while about the same number have low levels of religious engagement. Highly religious was defined as a pattern of behavior that includes such things as attending religious services, reading sacred texts, attending religious/spiritual workshops or retreats, and joining a religious organization on campus.

Students who are highly engaged religiously differ from their less religious classmates in their attitudes about a number of social issues.

The largest gap is in views about casual sex, with only 7% of highly religious students (compared to 80% of the least religious students) agreeing with the proposition that “if two people really like each other, it's all right for them to have sex even if they've known each other for only a very short time.”

The most and least religious students also differ substantially in their rates of agreement with legalized abortion (24% versus 79%) and legalization of marijuana (17% versus 64%). And when it comes to “laws prohibiting homosexual relationships,” highly religious students are much more likely to support such laws (38%) than are the least religious students (17%).

Students who identify themselves as politically “conservative,” compared to those who self-identify as “liberal,” are substantially more likely to show high levels of religious commitment (50% versus 18%) and religious engagement (37% versus 10%), and also more likely to show high levels of equanimity (35% versus 23%) and self-esteem (37% versus 29%).

(This update courtesy of

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