Nearly 28 percent of first-year college students describe themselves as liberal. That’s down slightly from 29 percent in 2009. Nearly 21 percent say they’re conservative.
But on some key issues that are considered to be liberal, support has increased significantly. The portion of students supporting the right of gay couples to marry is about 71 percent, up from 65 percent in 2009. Also up several percentage points: support for legal abortion (60.7 percent), legalized marijuana (49.1 percent), and giving students from disadvantaged backgrounds preferential treatment in college admissions (42.1 percent). The percentage who say access to public universities should be denied to undocumented immigrants is down, from 47.2 percent to 43 percent.