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News flash: In the era of Trump, institutions—and especially those that are perceived as liberal—are unpopular, and opinions divide sharply along party lines, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.
Alright, maybe that isn’t surprising. But there is one startling result in the survey: a sharp decline in conservative impressions of universities.
Most of the results are about what one would expect. Churches and religious organizations are popular, though more popular with Republicans and Republican-leaning voters than their Democratic counterparts. Banks are somewhere in the middle. Neither group likes the national news media, though the Democrats are more favorable. (We get it, you don’t like us.) It used to be that colleges and universities were another one of those institutions that could generate at least theoretical goodwill on both sides of the aisle.
What could possibly account for such a steep drop in trust in universities? Several analysts, including Philip Bump, suggested that this is backlash against the rise of identity politics on college campuses. Bump noted an increase in Google searches for “safe space” over the time period in which the flip happened.