Calvin College CIRP Freshman Survey Title

Social/Political Views

Political Views. Calvin students consider themselves to be more politically conservative than students at peer institutions. However, what may be surprising is that Calvin students today see themselves as more conservative than Calvin students did 5 years ago. Among the 2006 class of incoming students, 55% consider their political views “conservative” compared to 47% of the class of 2001. This compares with 37% of incoming students at Other Religious Four-Year Colleges in 2006 and 26% in 2001. Fewer Calvin students consider themselves to be politically middle-of-the-road (32%) then those entering ten years ago (40%), mirroring a national trend.

Two social/political issues on which Calvin students exhibit their political conservatism most emphatically are abortion and homosexuality. On the items “Abortion should be legal” and “Same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status,” only 14% and 18%, respectively, of Calvin students agreed, compared to 40% and 43% of students at Other Religious Four-Year Colleges.

In addition, following a national trend, there is an increase in political interest of incoming Calvin students. More students indicated that they are discussing politics (40%) then those entering ten years ago (18%). Comparison schools also showed an increase in this time period (from 19% to 32%). Furthermore, during this same time there was a renewed importance placed on “Influencing the political structure,” 11% in 2001 to 19% in 2006, and “Keeping up to date with political affairs,” 27% in 2001 to 31% in 2006.

 

Political Views
Calvin College 2006
Other Religious Four-year Colleges
Calvin College 2001
Far left
1%
2%
1%
Liberal
10%
19%
14%
Middle-of-the-road
32%
40%
35%
Conservative
55%
37%
47%
Far right
2%
2%
2%

 

Student Agrees Strongly or Somewhat
Calvin College
Other Religious Four-year Colleges
Abortion should be legal
14%
40%
The death penalty should be abolished
39%
31%
Marijuana should be legalized
15%
27%
Right to legal marriage for same sex couples
18%
43%
Racial discrimination is no longer a problem
12%
21%