Harvard Survey: Only Seven Percent Of Incoming Students Identify As Conservative

We have been discussing the rising intolerance for conservative, libertarian, and Republican students and faculty on campuses across the country. Faculties rarely hire conservative or libertarian professors; journals rarely publish studies from conservative authors.  As the number of conservative faculty members diminish or disappear on faculties, schools appear to be carrying out the same bias in student admissions. The Harvard Crimson has finished its annual survey of the incoming class of students and found that the already small population of conservative and Republican students has been cut by roughly half.

The Crimson survey covered over 76 percent of the Harvard College Class of 2024 and found that the class contained 72.4 percent who self-identify as either “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal.” Only 7.4 percent self-identify as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative.”  Likewise, 88.9 percent view President Donald Trump as strongly or somewhat unfavorable with 80.7 percent falling in the “strongly unfavorable” category.  Only 4.7 percent view Trump “somewhat” or “strongly” favorably.

Note that over 40 percent of this country view Trump favorably and the vast majority view themselves as holding either conservative or moderate views. Gallup polling shows  37% of Americans identify as conservative, 35% as moderate and 24% as liberal. That is 72% conservative or moderate.  Harvard admitted 7%. It is demonstrably absurd to argue that this virtual absence of conservative students is somehow the result of accident and not design.

For years, faculty members pretended that there was not an ideological bias in faculty selection as the number of conservative and libertarian faculty members dropped to near zero on many faculties. Less than ten percent of faculty in all schools identify as conservative and Democrats outnumber Republicans by over ten times on faculties. In some schools this ratio approaches 30 to 1.

Liberal faculties routinely dismiss candidates who advance opposing views as intellectually unsound or simply not as intellectually “promising” as more liberal candidates. The bias is evident on every level. Faculty members tend to exclude conservatives from presentations, publications, and citations. The result is an echo chamber in academia that feeds upon itself.

Now we are seeing the same downward trend in admissions where conservative or libertarian students are being relegated to lower-ranked schools.  This bias has also become evident, not surprisingly, in classrooms.  A Yale poll found that 70% percent of students said that they experienced political bias and the same poll said that the students believe only one percent of their faculty were conservative. A poll at Pomona found nine out of ten students said that “the campus climate prevents them from saying something others might find offensive.” Nearly two-thirds of faculty members felt the same. Seventy-five percent of conservative and moderate students strongly agree that the school climate hinders their free expression.

The impact of this bias is devastating for higher education. Faculty members are using their majority on faculties to exclude potential colleagues with opposing views, the very type of bias once used against not just liberals but minorities seeking entry to faculties. The result is that we are creating a bifurcated educational system where conservatives can only gain entry to top schools by hiding their political views or espousing liberal positions.  I was shocked when one of my kids (who is a moderate) was invited for an interview by one of the top colleges in the country.  After sitting down, the interviewer proceeded immediately into a diatribe against Trump and to self-identify as a liberal advocate.  He felt that the interviewer wanted him to echo those views.
As shown in the Harvard survey, “diversity” at many schools now runs along a spectrum from extreme to mainstream liberal views with a statistically inconsequential number of conservatives and libertarians.  This has been a uniform trend for many years in both the selection of faculty and of students.  It is a mockery to pretend that this is the result of anything other than systematic bias in academia.

155 thoughts on “Harvard Survey: Only Seven Percent Of Incoming Students Identify As Conservative”

  1. Edmund Burke would refuse to associate with the modern so-called conservatives. I am sure that he would agree with me that many of the latter actually belong in Bedlam.

  2. Why? Because Donald Trump, in the minds of intelligent perceptive Harvard students, has taken conservatism and transformed it with his malignant narcissism, endless lies and miserable character into a pile of used dog food.

    1. “the minds of intelligent perceptive Harvard students”

      There is a wide gap between basic raw intelligence and perceptiveness in the vast majority of 18-22 year old college students.

      As the faculty clearly demonstrate, many of them never close that gap. Our entire education system is horrifically bad as a result.

      “Do not train children to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

      – Plato

  3. It’s been clear over the last decade that our once esteemed Ivies have denigrated themselves to being social justice warehouses. These colleges have purposely ignored academic prowess in their admissions and instead have based admissions on skin color, family income, and other social issues, etc. working as a kind of de facto reparations. I work with students going to college and the best students now decide not to go to those colleges knowing that once they are there they are disparaged despite being asked to pay $75,000 per year to be there. The Ivies and their fellow colleges now put out mediocre students because they don’t demand excellence at the admissions point but start their admissions by sorting the applicants by race, heritage, etc. But it’s okay. It’s made many other schools and some of the great state institutions so much more robust, intellectual, and superior in the output. In 20 years the Ivies will be recognized as institutions that cried for the downfall of the US and instead they will have fallen down. (PS – from a graduate and family of graduates of 2 of those universities + the West Coast Ivy + the Chicago Ivy)

  4. This post demonstrates that law professors should restrict themselves to commenting on legal matters. As it is, this particular one only demonstrates Turley’s ignorance.

    1. “this particular one only demonstrates Turley’s ignorance”

      You just demonstrated your ignorance by failing to clearly explain exactly what JT wrote that is ignorant, in your opinion.

  5. Jonathan: Since Trump took office an industry of conspiracy theories has been spawned. You know, Trump’s claims that the caronavirus would magically disappear “by April” and that the virus was concocted in a bio-lab in Wuhan, China to destroy America. Even you endorsed the latter theory in one of your columns. Since Trump installed Betsy Devos as Secretary of Education she has been pushing the debunked theory there is a bias against conservative university faculty and students and liberal faculty members are trying to force their views on students. You have repeated this unfounded claim in many of your posts. Now comes the Harvard Crimson survey of incoming students which you say supports your claim that there is a systematic “bias” against conservative students seeking admission to Harvard. The survey doesn’t do anything of the sort! All the survey shows is that the Class of 2024 is overwhelmingly “liberal”. As a university law professor you should know that coincidence is not causation. A number of academic studies have not shown any evidence of systematic bias against conservatives in either the admission process or against conservative students or faculty. The Crimson survey only shows the political leanings of admitted students–nothing more. What is concern to you is that conservatives among students and faculty are a vanishing breed. So you should ask yourself why is this? The research also indicates that students, for the most part, form their political views long before they apply for university admission. So if conservative students are decreasing in numbers at universities maybe the cause should be sought elsewhere. Maybe it’s because “liberal” high school teachers are indoctrinating them? Or maybe it’s because incoming Harvard students have had it with Trump’s lies, racism and authoritarianism. That’s why young people are in the vanguard of the protests supporting racial justice. You also seem to make the bizarre argument that because 37% of Americans self-identify as “conservative” this should be reflected in admissions to Harvard. Everyone knows that admission to Harvard is extremely difficult. It’s reserved for the elite of the elite. Should Harvard open up its admissions to conservative students regardless of their academic qualifications? Now what is your actual evidence of bias against conservatives. Your son came home and complained about his admission interview at some university. That’s hardly evidence that would pass the laugh test.

    For all your complaining I don’t recall you ever being denied publication of one of your articles. Nor have you complained that your colleagues at George Washington University have ostracized or disciplined you for your conservative views. No this is much ado about nothing. When you decide to publish your next book I’m sure a lot of publishers will jump at the chance to publish you–I mean you are one of the leading lights of conservative legal thought in the country. They might even offer to give you at least a $250,00 advance. What’s not to like about your prospects as a conservative legal thinker?

  6. I actually strongly disagree with the analysis provided by this article. It seems to suggest that academia itself is biased towards liberal-leaning students and faculty. However, many institutions of higher education (especially Harvard) pride themselves on having first-class students and faculty who are well educated, worldy, all from different and comprehensive backgrounds. Maybe it isn’t that academia is biased, but that the backgrounds in which these persons are raised and have experienced have led them to becoming left-leaning. This would instead suggest that brighter, more educated people are often more left-leaning because they tend to understand the world in a more comprehensive manner than conservatives and right-leaning people.

    Just food for thought…

    1. Your “food for thought” lacks some nutrients. In today’s “liberal” mindset is the concept that equality is not being met unless the outcome shows the equality. Assuming that elite institutions actually recruit a a politiically diverse student body, then as you mmentioned, something must cause the student body to become less politically diverse. The answer has to be the faculty’s lack of political diversity. Any course, at any school, that is not science or mathematics (excepting maybe psychology and sociology), can be manipulated with new narratives. Actually, the left has already tried to associate mathematics with racism. They claim because men, and especially white men, created the subject it is too hard for “people of color” to understand. A weak claim since many men “of color” contributed to the founding of mathematics! Certainly the college environment, culture, experience etc. is a major contributer to the lack of political diversity in the student body. The question we should be asking is who creates the environment for the students. That would be the faculty, and the faculty is hand picked by the schools.

    2. I disagree with your hypothesis. You are implying that the lack of political diversity at our universities and colleges is simply the natural order of things, that mother nature brought us to this point. The environment at these schools does contribute to the lack of political diversity. So, the question to ask is who creates the environment? The answer of course is the faculty. Our schools are too much of an opportunity to control the narrative for the left to not take advantage. They are cranking out radical leftists by the thousands. This is how you create recruits for antifa.

  7. Universities do not value diversity of opinion, or free speech. They have earned their reputations as bigoted Democrat madrassas whose goal is to turn out SJW activists and voters rather than higher learning.

    The reputation of many universities across the country has taken a nosedive, to the resounding applause of the Left.

      1. Benson, have you not read Turley’s repeated posts about the harassment of conservative students and faculty, the nearly complete erosion of free speech and due process, and the extreme Left leaning bias on university campuses across America?

        You don’t have to go to any other source if you don’t want to. It’s on this very blog. Do you not find your remark ironic in light of this part of Turley’s post:

        “For years, faculty members pretended that there was not an ideological bias in faculty selection as the number of conservative and libertarian faculty members dropped to near zero on many faculties. Less than ten percent of faculty in all schools identify as conservative and Democrats outnumber Republicans by over ten times on faculties. In some schools this ratio approaches 30 to 1.

        Liberal faculties routinely dismiss candidates who advance opposing views as intellectually unsound or simply not as intellectually “promising” as more liberal candidates. The bias is evident on every level. Faculty members tend to exclude conservatives from presentations, publications, and citations. The result is an echo chamber in academia that feeds upon itself.

        Now we are seeing the same downward trend in admissions where conservative or libertarian students are being relegated to lower-ranked schools. This bias has also become evident, not surprisingly, in classrooms. A Yale poll found that 70% percent of students said that they experienced political bias and the same poll said that the students believe only one percent of their faculty were conservative. A poll at Pomona found nine out of ten students said that “the campus climate prevents them from saying something others might find offensive.” Nearly two-thirds of faculty members felt the same. Seventy-five percent of conservative and moderate students strongly agree that the school climate hinders their free expression.”

        As your remark indicates, it is not only faculty in denial.

        1. Karen S, unfortunately ‘conservative’ has changed in meaning since the days of Hobbes et al. Now it just means blind prejudice founded upon ignorance.

          1. Now it just means blind prejudice founded upon ignorance.

            Given the new evidence discovered regarding Steele and the FBI, Hunter Biden and what his Dad knew, it’s clear you are projecting.

  8. (music to tune of Hello Mudda, hello Fadda.)
    Goodbye Harvard. Goodbye Yale!
    Rather have my…kids in jail!
    All that’s stupid..comes together.
    Ivy League is a roost for stupid tedders.

  9. Do note that not everyone will admit they are conservative if they think it can backfire on them as they know how rabid and insane leftists are when it comes to opposing views and those not in their full blown cult which is exactly what leftism or progressivism is. It’s ridiculous to think that only 7% are conservative. Basically a statistical impossibility.

    Trump also has a higher approval rating that Obama did at this point in their first term. I know that may be hard for democrats like you (and Turley, you are a democrat despite how you continually point out how insane that party has become) to accept but it is true.

Leave a Reply